Thornbridge – Jaipur X

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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

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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!

Mad Hatter Brewing Company – Imperious

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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.

 

Adnams – Jack Brand Dry Hopped Lager

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Brewery: Adnams – www.adnams.co.uk /@Adnams

Style: Dry Hopped Lager

ABV: 4.2%

Pouring and Look: Pale golden colour, tiny white head, hardly any carbonation.

Smell: An initial burst of fruity, citrus hop that goes quicker than the postman when he knocks with a parcel.

Taste: Slightly metallic, dry bitterness, slight earth malt taste. Surprisingly no real hop taste or the crisp taste you’d expect from a pilsner malt lager.

Thoughts: I normally love Adnams beer but I have to admit this was a disappointment. Initially it smelt amazing but that smell quickly went as did all the carbonation. The taste was okay but nothing fantastic, maybe if there was more carbonation it would liven things up a little.

The Perfect Time to Drink it: Any time you need a really good cry over something that should have been perfect but wasn’t.

Wychwood – Hobgoblin Gold

 

 

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Brewery: Wychwood – www.wychwood.co.uk /@Hobgoblin_beer

Style: Golden Ale

ABV: 4.5%

Pouring and Look: Nice golden amber colour, white frothy head. Exactly what you’d expect.

Smell: Faint citrus fruits from the hops, hint of fresh grass, floral.

Taste: A kiss of citrus hop bitterness with undertone of a malty raisin and licorice taste reminiscent of the original Hobgoblin.

Thoughts: I have have to admit to having a softspot for Wychwood beers as it was bottles of Hobgoblin that got me into ale when I was in my teens. I did enjoy this beer, it didn’t blow my socks off but I didn’t expect it to, it’s refreshing and well balanced and I would happily drink it again. However, it cost £1.89 from Bargain Booze which is in no way expensive but for £1.79 I can buy a bottle of Oakham’s Citra which is exceptional for the price.

The Perfect Time to Drink it: For the past four hours you’ve been battling for your life. Standing shoulder to shoulder with your shield brothers you’ve repelled wave after wave of orcs, goblins and hobgoblin. Stab, hack, slash, it’s all become a blur but now your work is done, you gaze out over the eerily quiet battlefield as the first crows start to land to begin their feast. The silence is broken by the coarse shout of your sergeant;

“You’ve done well today lads! You’ve stood firm and looked fear in the eye. Well done. To show his appreciation Lord Breatherton has opened up his own cellar, so drink deep boys and sleep well!”.

 

That’s one big pile of…

I’m going to start this blog off by ruining the twist in the film the Usual Suspect.  If memory serves me correctly the film ends with Kevin Spacey’s character being revealed as ‘the man behind the curtain’. As he lights his cigarette to have a triumphant smoke Spacey’s voice-over informs us that ‘the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”. This led me to start thinking about the thing which everyone knows about but no one really mentions in the beer world. There is an elephant in the room so colossal that it astounds me that it is only spoken about in hushed whispers. There seems to be a fear that mentioning the thing by name will cause it to strike them down in the middle of the night, as if by naming it you are somehow giving it power. But I believe the opposite, it is only through naming it, by shouting its name into the abyss – shoulder to shoulder, together – that we will illuminate this demon and destroy it!

“Beer Shits” I name thee! Yes, beer shits, they bring even the mightiest of us low, they are the pain to our beery pleasure, the Robin to our Batman, the Gollum to our Samwise, the Yin and the Yang. The Beer Shits are truly indiscriminate, everyone suffers from its foul acidic smelling, tar like grasp, but no one ever mentions it, perhaps from embarrassment. The UK government is currently looking at the possibility of adding health warnings to alcohol but I guarantee that they’ll be no health warning that states “This beverage, if consumed excessively, will give you the shits the likes of which you have never experienced. The toilet bowl will look like the scene of a massacre; the acidic smell will make your eyes water and strip the wallpaper off the wall next door. Your relatives will hate you”.

Now I’ve noticed that since diving into the world of Craft Beer, the affiliation has become worse. No longer do I get struck down after a lot of beers, now, thanks to craft, it can be after only a few bottles. So why is this, why does good beer leave the door unlocked and the welcome light on so readily for the old watery foe? Well I actually, but not surprisingly, have a few theories which I will now reveal.

Devine Retribution – Because really good beer is by its definition really good and enjoyable it must be therefore bad for a spiritual soul. If it’s enjoyable to the body then it will be bad for the soul. So perhaps beer shits are divine punishment?

Conspiracy – Perhaps the mass producing beer breweries are using a form of physic osmosis to affect our very stomachs to cause a mass purge of all the crafty goodness.

Science – Now this is the most likely solution. Craft beer is generally stronger than your average run of the mill mass produced swill. So could it be that the increased alcohol level has an adverse effect on the gut? Well alcohol is a poison so it would make sense that the body would want to get rid of any it couldn’t purge itself. However, other higher alcoholic drinks don’t have the explosive effect as beer, so I theories that it can’t be purely down to alcohol content.  So what else could cause this super-volcano reaction? I personally believe that the reason we buy and drink craft, for the taste, is the reason behind the beer shits. To get the beer tasting fantastic the beer magicians generally known as brewers use a hell of a lot fresh ingredients, barley, malts, yeast and hops.  Fibre, if I remember correctly helps with digestion so getting too much of that in several liquid hits through the barley and the malts in the beer can only act to supercharge your stomach. Your stomach also contains bacteria which breaks down your food into useful bits and the waste. I’m no expert but surely adding several different types of live yeast from different beer would send your native stomach bacteria – coupled with all the fibre – into a confused overdrive with the end product being a blow-out of biblical proportions! KA BOOM!

Now I might be totally wrong, as it was a long time since I completed my GCSE Science, and even if I am right this knowledge will give you no comfort the next time you’re glued to your toilet, weeping, as your innards are pushed, forcibly, noisily, and stinkly, out  your bottom. I’ve made the first step to expose this unspoken evil… so will you continue the good fight and join me in fighting this common enema?!

Stringers – Delta V

 

 

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Brewery: Stringers – www.stringersbeer.co.uk  / @Stringersbeer

Style: Pale Ale

ABV: 6.5%

Pouring and Look: Light, clear copper, small white head, very little carbonation.

Smell: Light tang of citrus hops, oranges, malt base and sweetness.

Taste: Bitter grapefruit taste with a marmalade sweetness, the after-taste reminds me of the of malt-loaf.

Thoughts: A perfect BBQ beer, full of flavour and very tasty, it packs a punch at 6.5%. It could do with being a little more lively. There was a nice head at the start but as you can see that went totally in the time it took me to take the picture. Still a fantastic beer though.

The perfect time to drink it:

Once upon a time in a land far away there lived a very grumpy dragon. Everybody annoyed the dragon; the local knights harassed him as they tried to steal his treasure, his neighbour – the unicorn – was continually too happy and the way he pranced around wound the dragon up even further. One Sunday afternoon was particularly bad for the dragon, he’d met an overly chatty mermaid and magician who wanted to capture the dragon and ride him. He’d had enough, he was going to move! Looking out of his cave, at the foot of the valley, he spied a very large and tall mountain in the distance. “That’s it” he thought “I’m going to move up there away from all these cretins that live around me“. So in the space of two days the dragon had moved all his possessions – mainly treasure and a spare pair of underpants – from his valley cave to his new cave high up in the mountains. Now I think it’s safe to say that the dragon loved his new home high up in the mountains, he had a fantastic view and wasn’t interrupted by crazed magicians, prancing unicorns, thieving knights or overly chatty mermaids. Life was good – in the first week alone he’d already gone through the backlog of his books and his daily high altitude flights made him fitter than ever.

But as the weeks went by and the dragon had nothing left to be grumpy about he began to feel a little empty inside. You see the dragon kind of liked being angry at everyone as it gave him a little fire in his belly, of course it was nice being relaxed some of the time but he was made to blow fire and gobble cattle, not read books and lounge around. The dragon realised he needed the annoying cretins for him to be a dragon. With a set heart the dragon flew down from his mountain cave to the valley below. On the way he picked up – and roasted – a few sheep as he’d decided to host a BBQ. He invited the magician, wizard, mermaid and even the unicorn. Their idiocy annoyed the hell out of him and made him grumpier than ever. At the end of the BBQ once everybody had gone home the dragon felt grumpier than ever, to celebrate this he opened up a hidden bottle of Stringers Delta V and thought it’s good to be a dragon again.