Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet

Decent belgian beer.

Crofty's Beer Blog

Day 28, and from the same people who bring you Kwak (you know the beer with the funky glass) comes this Belgian Tripel. The beer is brewed utilising 3 grains, Wheat, Oats and Barley from a 335 year old recipe and is bottle re-fermented (assuming this refers to bottle conditioned).

It pours a beautiful golden colour, high clarity with a reasonable level of carbonation and a large white head which pours over the side of the glass. I detect some banana and citrus aromas on the nose, more aligned with a witbier than other tripels I have tasted.

The flavour is lightly fruity, some alcohol notes, a little lemon on the finish, underlying banana possibly some malt sweetness, but finishing relatively dry. a great slow drinker on a cool evening. 4 points, one of my favourite Tripels for it’s slight differences.


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Triple IPA – American: Knee Deep Simtra Triple IPA

I know last week I said that I’d be doing easy drinking summer beers, but this one is good on a hot evening. Unfortunately it’s not as easy to drink as others! Needless to say, on hot and humit evenings sharing this with some friends Knee Deep Simtra Triple IPA is great.

However, I must stress that this is definitely not an easy drinking brew at 11.25%!

Let’s start with Knee Deep Brewing‘s description of the beer:

Simtra Triple IPA delivers a punch in the face with its very danky hop aroma derived from Simcoe and Citra hops. You wanted more hops you got them.


Although short, I think this is an adequate description. If you like hoppy beers, this one really does punch you in the face with a massive hop kick. Dank means “potent” in the Marijuana world and has recently surfaced in America to mean super hoppy. There’s a theory that Hops and Marijuana are linked, but it’s a sort of yes or no maybe answer.

Double and Triple IPA’s are not like English IPA’s at all, they have 2 or 3 times the hops and usually a massive bitterness. Citra hops are relatively new, and they are very interesting as they have flavours of tropical fruits and a sweetness to them which has made them very popular.

Aside from the shedload of Citra and Simcoe hops in this brew, I’m guessing it’s made like a usual American IPA with 2-Row Pale Malt, Crystal Malt and maybe a bit of German Wheat for head rentention. Judging by this beer after it’s poured, there’s definitely wheat in it! More on that later. After this a usual American Ale Yeast is used and it is then Dry-Hopped whilst it ferments, just to get that extra hop kick we obviously all need in an already insanely hoppy beer.

This beer pours a dark amber, almost red hue with a thick, dense white head (hence the comment on the wheat earlier!) which calms down eventually into a medium head leaving loads of lacing on the side of the glass. This beer smells like a tropical fruit buffett in Hawaii, loads of Tropical Fruit with a touch of Citrus and a Grassy note in the background. When you taste this beer, it’s a lot like the smell; a big kick of sweet tropical fruit, guava and Glacé Cherries. It eventually finishes off with a tide of very bitter Citrus and Pine with a bit of warmth from the alcohol percentage. The alcohol is hidden quite well, and you won’t be able to tell this is 11.25%. It goes down smooth and finishes crisp and not dry. Definitely one to share with friends on a humid summer evening, or even in the winter.

I’d recommend trying this, if IPA and hoppy beers are your thing or if you’re looking for something new. I’d definitely buy again, but not drink an entire bottle to myself!

You can purchase Knee Deep Simtra Triple IPA in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Unfortunately after writing this arcticle, it seems this is quite rare beer to aquire in the UK. If you can get your hands on it I definitely recommend!

EST. CALORIES: 338   ABV: 11.25%

Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest 2013 Wet Hop Ale

Crofty's Beer Blog

Day 21 and after so many recent domestic ales I figured I better change it up and grab an international one. Every year Sierra Nevada produce a Southern and Northern harvest Ale showcasing the fresh hops of the year.

The beers are “Wet” or “Fresh” hopped forgoing the normal drying process which can drive off volatile oils which provide a greener flavour. Naturally they have to rush the hops to the brewery and this Northern brew features hops rushed from Yakima hop fields to the brewery within 24 hours of being plucked from the bine.

The beer pours a gold to coppery colour, generous head threatening to overflow the IPA glass.

The aroma is fantastic a testament to the quality of SNs production as this beer is coming up to 9 or 10 months old. Pine mixed with some grassy notes, the malt backbone coming though on the nose the…

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Fruit Beer – American: Founders Rübæus

  As the weather is getting warmer, I’m going to start my warm weather beers over the first month and a bit until the typical dreary Engish weather returns. The beer today is a Fruit Beer made by Founders Brewing Company. I chose this beer because it’s a great example of the style and it actually uses fresh raspberries instead of extract or concentrate to flavour the beer. It is also a good way of introducing yourself to Fruit Beers, as they are quite often sour. This one still retains the sweetness of the fruit. Let’s start with Founders Brewing Company‘s description of the beer:

Not another boring summer wheat beer or lemonade shandy—Rübæus is Founders’ way to celebrate the season’s warmest months. Optimizing the flavor of fresh raspberries added at multiple stages during fermentation, this stunning berry red masterpiece is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. No question about it, with a hefty malt bill and 5.7% ABV, this beer is 100% Founders.  

Quite a short and sweet description, but informative none the less! This is definitely a beer to drink in the Garden or when camping on a hot day. It is seriously refreshing and at 5.7% ABV it certainly does the job if you’re on a session too.

The recipe for Rübæus is kept quiet and under wraps. My guess for this beer is Pale Malt, Wheat Malt, Either Crystal or German Magnum hops and, of course the fresh raspberries added at various times during fermentation. This makes the recipe quite expensive, as you need a lot of raspberries to do this and Founders even stopped producing it for 5 years. Luckily, it’s back now and it’s better than ever.

This beer pours with an impressive Deep Ruby colour with a thick, dense Pink head. Yes, that’s right, the head is pink! Once the head settles down it leaves a foam on the sides of the glass, almost covering it entirely. The smell of this beer is almost like it’s a Raspberry Pie, lots of Raspberry Jam, Wheat, Sweet Malt and a little bit of Cranberry and Red Grape. You can definitely tell this is a Fruit beer! When tasting this, it’s much the same, a big sweet raspberry hit to start off with some wheat beer influence finishing off with a slight floral hop bitterness and some tarty sourness. This beer is so smooth and refreshing I can’t even stress, it’s very light, it’s not extremely carbonated but it’s still got a medium carbonation which aids the tart finish. I’d say this is one of those perfect summer beers.

As always, something I would buy again and of course something I would recommend.

You can purchase Founder’s Rübæus in the UK at:

Beers Of Europe

Ales By Mail

As always, a google search is good too!

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, Founders products are distributed by James Clay in the UK and come in Cans and Bottles. Rübæus only comes in Bottles at the time of writing.


EST. CALORIES: 171   ABV: 5.7%

Black Imperial IPA – English: Buxton Imperial Black IPA


This week comes with a newer style on the block, an Imperial Black IPA. I’d say this one can be enjoyed year round, although best enjoyed in the evening as they are usually around 7.5%.

Let’s start with Buxton Brewery‘s description of the beer:

Full bodied jet-black ale with a pale-tan head. Abundant fresh hop aromas suggesting zesty citrus pulp and forest fruits.

Quite a brief description, but Buxton has been known to be more modest with their blubs and leave a lot to the imagination which I think is a good idea for such a complex style.

Let’s start with a bit on the style, as I think a great new style such as this needs more recognition. An Imperial Black IPA/Black IPA or American Black Ale. It’s often mistaken for a hoppy Porter or Stout but this is not the case. Whilst this beer has the roasty flavour (hints of coffee and dark chocolate) this usually takes more of a back seat then it does in a Porter or Stout. Don’t get me wrong, the malty roasty coffee/chocolate tones are there and they are still a big part of the flavour. The main showcase however, is the nice fresh citrus/pine hop kick from the hops which is a lot different to a hoppy Porter or Stout as they tend to use Dark Roasted Malts like a Black IPA, but they use English hops sparingly to give it the true character of a stout or porter (usually). Black IPA’s use as many hops as an IPA and sometimes even more in order to get the flavour to cut through.

I contacted Buxton Brewery about the recipe of their beer, but unfortunately they didn’t reply so I have to take an educated guess. Usually with a Black IPA, you start with the base for a normal American Hopped IPA and add Carafa III Special Malt. I’m guessing the recipe is something similar to this: Pale Ale Malt, Crystal Malt and the Carafa III Special Malt. This beer also has some Wheat in, so I think that is most probably a German Strain as the head has very good retention like a bock. The hops are definitely American and going from the fresh Citrus and Pine flavours I think Chinook, Simcoe and Amarillo have been used.

When you pour this beer, the first thing you will notice is the smell of roasted coffee and citrus. Then you’ll notice that the head is spilling out the glass due to the wheat in the beer and possibly to do with the Bottle Conditioning. Once poured it looks very impressive, extremely dark with a crazy Tan coloured Head. The smell is still quite overwhelming and very inviting. Once the head reduces it stays on top of the beer as a medium cap the whole time, which really is quite impressive. Once you taste this beer it initially hits with hints of Fresh Roasted Coffee, Caramel and Brown Sugar. After this the hops kick in with a great punch of fresh citrus and hints of pine. It’s a bit like eating a Key Lime pie with a cup of coffee without it being so sweet. Although it is 7.5% there is no sign of the alcohol in the flavour and instead you get this sweet and sour aftertaste from the malted barley and wheat. It really is quite a complex brew but very enjoyable. Unlike the standard IPA it doesn’t have a dry finish and instead finishes sweet with medium carbonation.

This is definitely a beer to enjoy slowly after a long hard day at work.

I’d purchase this beer again and I’m glad Buxton Brewery have made this a year-round beer instead of a special release.

You can purchase Buxton Imperial Black IPA in the UK at:

Buxton Brewery’s Online Shop
Beer Ritz
Deliciously Different

At the time of posting, you can also grab a bottle from The Pint Shop, Cambridge in person For any bars, shops etc that are interested, I would contact the Brewery directly. Black Imperial IPA comes in Bottles, Kegs and Cask.

EST. CALORIES: 225   ABV: 7.5%

American Independence Day! Beer: Anchor California Lager

Anchor Beer

I thought I’d start with this Anchor California Lager, seeing as it’s independence day, it’s made by an American company and the sun is shining. This one is definitely a summer brew!

A lot of people don’t like lagers, but I think there’s nothing better than a well crafted lager on a hot day.

Let’s start with Anchor Brewing‘s description of the beer:

“Anchor Steam’s roots go back to the Gold Rush, long before icehouses and modern refrigeration made traditional lagers a viable California option. In 1876, thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State, a little brewery named Boca created California’s first genuine lager. Anchor California Lager® is our re-creation of this historic American beer.

Made in San Francisco with two-row California barley, Cluster hops (the premier hop in 19th-century California), and our own lager yeast, this all-malt brew is kräusened and lagered in our cellars. Its golden color, distinctive aroma, creamy head, balanced depth of flavor, and smooth finish make Anchor California Lager® a delicious celebration of California’s unique craft brewing heritage.

The California grizzly bear on our Anchor California Lager label is from a woodcut by Durbin Van Vleck (1833–1898), courtesy of The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. First published in 1856 in San Francisco, it is a superbly crafted rendering of an original illustration by Charles Christian Nahl (1818–1878), who had painted both eastbound and westbound versions of this bear. Nearly a century later, Nahl’s bear served as inspiration for the design of the bear on California’s modern state flag. Although that bear is heading west, our bear—like the bear on Boca Brewing’s historic lager label—is heading east.”

Quite a long description, but Anchor always like to almost over describe their beer, a bit like Stone Brewing. However, Stone always are quite sarcastic in their blurbs and it makes it funny. More on them another time.

The recipe of Two-Row Barley, Cluster Hops and Lager Yeast is definitely a great attempt at a Pre-Prohibition Lager. The story behind it also has some truth in it which is always nice. It’s much better than MillerCoor’s attempt when they made Batch 19, which was meant to be Coors before Prohibition, or Miller, or something. It ended up tasting the same, but looked like food colouring had been added to it. Anyway, this blog is meant to be about good beer so I’ll continue with the California Lager.

This beer pours slightly different to a lot of lagers, with a head that is quite thick and dense which tends to stay on top of the beer the whole time with an impressive thin cap. It has a lovely strawberry blonde/yellow colour and looks a lot more inviting than most lagers. It smells very biscuity but instead of the often metallic smell of a lot of lagers you get a nice clean grassy note from the hops in the beer. That’s right! This lager actually has a hop profile! It’s a really simple clean smell, but the hardest part of a lager isn’t usually the recipe! The first thing you notice when you taste this beer, is the fact it’s not heavy at all. It’s really light and clean, refreshing. The taste of the lager yeast is still there, as it is with all lagers but on top of that you get a really nice clean grassy note and a tasty biscuity flavour. It’s quite carbonated, which is expected but it’s ultra-smooth at the same time and one of the cleanest and light craft beers I’ve had. You really could imagine drinking this all day whilst working hard in the sun, or you could actually do it (if your job allows that sort of thing).

Definitely something I would buy again, and definitely something I would recommend

You can purchase Anchor California Lager in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Noble Green Wines

Amazon (No I’m not winding you up!)

And probably some other places too, google it!

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, Anchor products are distributed by James Clay in the UK and comes in Cans and Bottles.

EST. CALORIES: 147   ABV: 4.9%