Sly Fox – 113

DSC_0449

 

Brewery: Sly Fox / @SlyFoxBeer

Style: IPA

ABV: 7%

Purchased From: Booths

Pouring and Look: This pours out of the can real nicely. The colour is deep and golden and it is clear. The head is frothy and off white with an orange tint.

Smell: It has subtle smell of marmalade, sweet sugars with an earthy, malt loaf base. It doesn’t smell sickly but it does smell sweet.

Taste: Initially, it tastes as it smells, like a subtle mixture of marmalade and malt loaf. It’s not sickly but it is a little sweet. The after taste is a light sprinkling of hops which add a pine and citrus flavour leading to small lingering bitter kiss.

Thoughts: I actually enjoyed this IPA. The marmalade taste in some beers really puts me off as it can make them too sweet and sickly. This isn’t the case with this beer there’s just the right mixture of the marmalade and the hops to balance each other out. It works really well but for a 7% beer I want a little more character, I could have drank this all day as it tasted more like a session beer than a 7% beer. I want my bigger beers to have a more complex, bigger taste and this beer didn’t have that. It was good and if this beer was around 4% and be tearing my shirt off, beating my chest and screaming about how great it was.

 

Brewdog – Tesco Finest American Double IPA

Photo 16-03-2015 20 03 05

Brewery: BrewDog / @BrewDog

Style: Double IPA

ABV: 9.2%

Purchased From: Three guesses maybe two too many.

Pouring and Look: Dark bronzed copper as I imagine David Dickinson’s ball bag to look. The head is slightly tan in colour which again is what I imagine David’s Dickinson to look like.

Smell: As you’d imagine you’re initially presented with the strong bitterness from the hops, I was however, surprised by the lack of the sharp citrus to the smell. Instead you’re given a malty, sweet, sugary, marmalade base. Bringing this all togeather is a soft, almost subtle boozy smell.

Taste: The taste is a nice meeting of the hoppy bitterness meeting a nice caramel malt base. Over the top of malt base you have the burnt sugar, marmalade taste. The hops are more floral than citrus.

Thoughts: It’s been a year or two since I’ve had this and I have to say I was a little disappointed. When I first drank this I really loved it, I thought it was full of flavour and extreme. Drinking it now I thought it was a nice tasting beer but nothing special which is where the feeling of disappointment comes from. Maybe this beer represents, in beer form, why I’m not on Facebook. I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t actively go seeking your past out, you loose touch with people for a reason but Facebook allows you to reconnect with people who should be proverbially/metaphorically or even physically dead to you. Reconnecting with them years after you last saw them is destroying you illusion of the past and in the end you end up realising that Facebook friend #456836 is a complete shit and your memory of them was completely wrong or right.

Tonight I’ve realised that the beer which I thought was the cool guy at all the parties is in fact today a normal guy who’s pleasant enough but you wouldn’t want him coming around to your house unexpectedly or even knowing where your house is.

Thornbridge – Jaipur X

IMG_0613

Brewery: Thornbridge – @Thornbridge

Style: Imperial IPA / Double IPA / Thunderdome IPA

ABV: 10%

Purchased From: Source Deli –  @SourceDeliPaul

Pouring and Look: The body is a crisp amber gold, clear with a frothy white head. It’s how I imagine God’s piss would look. The head dissipates very quickly, I’m not too sure if this is now an analogy for God’s penis but i’d expect more staying power if it was.

Smell: Smell where art thou?! Okay, that was a little unfair but the smell is really subtle, initially, you get the citrus from the hops with a hint of a caramel with a malty base. BEWARE: You may snort some beer accidentally by trying to get your nose close to the smell.

Taste: Firstly, you’re hit with the bitter, sharp, crisp, citrus taste. You’re getting the usual suspects – minus Kevin Spacey – grapefruit with the softer but sugary blood orange. After the initial hit the taste opens up with a malty, caramel base.

Thoughts: The flavours in this IPA are blended really well, the hoppy first hit is balanced against the caramel, malty aftertaste, it works really well. The only issue I have with this beer is that the bottle says Imperial IPA with an ABV of 10%, now that comes with some responsibility. At 10% I want the taste volume turned up to 11 but it isn’t with this beer. Everything is well balanced, the flavours are subtle and varied, if this was a 5% IPA I’d be banging the war drum and raving about it. For a 10% Imperial IPA ,that costs the same as other IPA at that ABV, I expect really BIG flavours, unfortunately, this subtly tasty beer didn’t live up to my expectations given the ABV and price tag.

To get over the disappointment I had to listen to Tina Turner’s “We don’t need another hero”. I have a message for Tina and it this “you may not need another hero but the rest of the world certainly does”.

Mad Hatter Brewing Company – Cold Dead Eyes

Photo 24-02-2015 19 18 02

Brewery: Mad Hatter – www.madhatterbrewing.co.uk / @MadHatBrew

Style: Saison / Farmhouse

ABV: 7.2%

Purchased From: Source Deli –  @SourceDeliPaul

Pouring and Look: A really frothy tanned head with a dense black body. You can actually see the the light being sucked into the darkness, it’s that thick.

Smell: Sour and funky, there’s yeast in there as well and a sickly sweet smell.

Taste: The first mouthful is everything you’d expect from a sasion, tart, sour and funky like grandad’s dirty underpants left on the radiator. The second taste however, is heaven, roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, red berries and underneath all that is the now mellow sourness. Wow, I never new grandad’s underpants tasted like heaven.

Thoughts: The only way I can make you experience the range of emotions I felt with this beer is by comparing it to dancing with David Bowie. There’s a masquerade ball scene in The Labyrinth and this is exactly what this beer did to me.

I pick up Cold Dead Eyes and think I’m buying an imperial stout

*Jareth the Goblin King (Bowie) takes my hand and we start to dance*

I open and pour Cold Dead Eyes…. ohh yeah baby this is an imperial stout

*Jareth is spinning me around the ballroom and staring into my eyes…intensely

I smell the beer I think is an imperial stout but it’s not! …. holy shit monkey what sour work of Lucifer is this?! My world breaks apart and I fall into the abyss. Reality has literally been broken.

*The clock at the ball strikes 12, the Jareth buggers off and leaves me, I fall into the local tip which is inhabited by a nutty horsey-women who looks like the old women who used to serve me beer at the student bar.

….but then I taste this bad boy and wow! It’s an impossible thing, these flavors shouldn’t work, it’s part saison part imperial stout. If there’s a centaur of the beer world then this beer is it. Two normal everyday things mashed together to create something unique and utterly mind blowing. This is what craft wanking is all about!

Guinness – West Indies Porter

Photo 22-02-2015 18 45 59 (1)

Brewery: Guinness – www.guinness.com / @GuinnessGB

Style: Porter Stout

ABV: 6%

Pouring and Look: This is made by Guinness so you know that it’s going to be peat black with an off white-head, don’t you? It pours really smoothly with a nice frothy head.

Smell: I’m going to be honest, I really didn’t expect to smell anything of note but I was pleasantly surprised. Firstly, you get a really rich peat, earth smell with a nice foundation of malt and the hint of chocolate with a little licorice holding it together.

Taste: Like the smell you have the earthy, peat roasted malt that provides the bedrock for the rest of the flavours. Initially, bitter but this opens up into a dark treacle, sugary flavour with a bitter sweet aftertaste. It all blends togeather well but it’s a little too mellow.

Thoughts: I was really surprised by this Porter. It’s stuck in the middle ground of being more than a normal Guinness but being less than the Foreign Extra. For the market that Guinness are aiming for it will be a hit. If I was in a supermarket and picking up some beers than this would be one i’d be picking up…. if they didn’t stock the Foreign Extra. With that in mind I don’t know why Guinness don’t re-brand their Foreign Extra with an oldy worldy label and sell it next to this porter but then again the Foreign Extra would probably blow the cock off supermarket only beer buyers.

Ideal Time to Drink it: You’re a norse-warrior (hard to imagine I know). You’ve hear a rumour that Grendel has been spotted in the swamp near your mead-hall. Gathering your fellow warriors you begin a search of the swamp. Trudging deeper into the swamp you find no sign of the beast. The darkness of your search is broken by a glowing light that is coming from behind you, you turn to face the light and then you hear the screams. You lead your band of warriors back to your mead-hall but it is too late. By the time you get there the fire is out of control and Grendel has vanished into the night. The next day you take stock of the damage, your mead-hall and all the ale is destroyed and all your malt is burnt.

With a heavy heart you use your burnt malt to brew a new beer and vow vengeance upon the beast.

 

 

 

 

Mad Hatter Brewing Company – Imperious

DSC_0061

Brewery: Mad Hatter – www.madhatterbrewing.co.uk / @MadHatBrew

Style: Double IPA

ABV: 11.7%

Purchased From: Source Deli –  @SourceDeliPaul

Pouring and Look: Cloudy copper like a dwarf’s codpiece with a frothy off-white head.

Smell: The initial smell is a really rich and freshly baked malt-loaf, not the cheap crap you get for 40p but the homemade stuff that fills your house with a rich, deep, sugary marmalade smell. You can loose yourself in this smell, it’s really deep with a hint of booze.

Taste: Burnt sugary marmalade, malty and earthy with a bitter sweet kick. Boozey but not overpowering it gets better with each mouthful as your taste buds get acclimatised you can start to pick out the more subtle flavours, cinnamon, floral, the hop kick is there in the band but it’s the rhythm guitarist and not the pretty boy at the front. As your taste buds and sense of smell become one with the force you just loose yourself in this beer.

Thoughts: I really love this beer, wow. At 11.7% it’s a beast but so drinkable. It’s sublime. Beers like this are what “craft” beers should be, full of flavour that overwhelm your senses. It’s perfect and my ears are tingling.

As I’m writing this, Elvis Presley’s Suspicious Minds has just started playing and that’s a classic as is this beer. It’s serendipity.

 

The Jester’s Craft Predictions: 2015

2014 was a busy year in the hop shaped world of Craft Beer, empire’s rose and fell and the oceans were finally Burtonised, but those things are now behind us and we stand staring into the abyss of 2015. What horrors will 2015 unleash, will any heroes rise to fight them, are we ready for the shocks, the trails, the tribulations and the glory to come? To ensure that we are all prepared for the 2015 hopocalypse I will stare into my crystal ball and share my divinations with you all.

crystal_ball

 

Dog of the Brew

2015 will be a busy year for Brewdog. In the spring of 2015 they will create their very own professional wrestling promotion Extreme BrewDog Wrestling (EBDW). The promotion will concentrate exclusively on shouty video interviews by men wearing only their underpants and beards telling us about how they’ll “bring the pain”, “lead us all to hoptopia”, “slay the giants with nothing but the power they gain from all the little Brewdogsters out there” and other such statements. Most of the interviews will be nonsensical ramblings but when they actually get round to putting on a wrestling match it will be spectacular, sometimes.

The slaying of giants will play a major role in 2015 for Brewdog. In an effort to push the “brewing envelope”  coupled with drunken night of watching Guardians of the Galaxy and reading Jack and the Bean Stalk the BrewDog boys will go on a mighty quest armed only with a handful of magic hops. Around summer 2015 the magic hops will be planted and, with the support of a massive trellis, a hop vine will grow to the clouds. Upon climbing the vine and slaying the clueless giant they find there the Bewdog boys will hollow out the giant’s skull, ferment the gooey interior and bottle it up. “Brewdog Giant Killer – Brewed in a giant, using a giant” will push the envelope so far into the crafttosphere that people will be talking about how innovative it is for all time. The taste, however, will not be great.

jack_and_the_beanstalk_by_hextupleyoodot-d4rjgri

Craft-Speak

By the end of 2015 anybody sporting a beard will only be able to communicate in “craft-speak”, it will take a little while longer for those who are deemed “uncraft” to fully adopt “craft-speak” but eventually it will be the only form of acceptable communication.

The purpose of Craft-Speak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the craft-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Craft but to also make all other modes of thought impossible.

Craft-Speak Diary 2nd Ed.

To ensure that you are prepared for the rise of craft-speak I will give you a heads up on the basics. For any descriptive word just add ey or y to the ending as it cuts down on the amount of actual words you need to use (and you don’t need to be specific).

Non Craft-Speak example:

“You can really taste the cascade hops, it has a floral flavour with the hint of grapefruit”.

Craft-Speak example:

“It tastes flowery, hoppy and citrusy” or “Hoppy goody”.

 

New suit, who suit, I suit, law-suit

The craft based trend of taking legal action against any company that bears any resemblance to your own will carry on throughout 2015. The top 10 reasons for lawsuits in 2015 will be, in no particular order;

  1. Having the same customers.
  2. Using the words beer or ale.
  3. Using colours on your label.
  4. Not using colours on your label.
  5. Using similar ingredients.
  6. Using letters from the alphabet to describe your ale.
  7. Being sold on the opposite pump.
  8. Being sold in the same pub.
  9. Contained in the same size can, bottle, cask or keg.
  10. Being of a wet consistency.

 

The Next BIG Taste

Pina Colada beer

 

Final Thoughts

It will be an interesting 2015 full of ups and downs with the biggest selling Christmas craft beer being Carling. This may come as a surprise but in Autumn 2015 there will be a repulsion against fresh ingredients and beer that tastes of something. All hail Carling our future craft overlords.