Berliner Weisee – English: Siren I Need A Vacation

This week’s beer is I Need A Vacation, brewed by Reading based Siren Craft Brew. If I could, I’d be knocking back these in the sun whilst on Holiday as Berliner Weisse’s are perfect for warm weather and make a great Spring and Summer brew.

Let’s start with Siren‘s description of the beer:

A beautifully tart Berliner Weisse infused with the taste of a summer vacation. The sweetness of papaya, mango & lime balance perfectly with the lip-puckering sharpness of our Berliner style beer.

Short but sweet description on this one. I’m not sure why the term Vacation is used instead of Holiday but I think Siren have some American staff, so it makes sense if this is one of their creations. Maybe they were hinting at something… Either way, we’re expecting a nice tart beer with hints of Tropical fruits.

First, the malt and mashing process. The malt is Pilsen 2-Row malt, with White Wheat as a fermentable. Once mashed in, this is cooled and stored for 4 days to sour the mash. The hops, like all Berliner Weiss Beers are hard to determine. I think Hallertau have been used. Fuggles or similar could just as easily be used in the brew, as this beer is not meant to be hop forward. It’s then fermented with a clean yeast and during secondary fermentation papaya, mango and lime juice are added for 10 days.

The beer pours a Yellow colour with no head. Medium carbonation. On the nose there’s sour pineapple and mango, some wheat and a little bit of that funky Lacto smell. When you drink this beer, the first thing on the palate is sour Tropical Fruit, although the sourness isn’t overwhelming and in my opinion very well done for the style. After this there’s some Wheat notes finishing with a nice Sour Citrus finish, although again it’s not extremely sour. It’s quite full bodied for this style with good medium carbonation, which fades over time. The beer finishes dry. This is probably one of the best Berliner Weisse beers I’ve had for a little while, and I really recommend it regardless of the weather!

Once it’s back in stock, you can buy I Need A Vacation at:

Ales By Mail

Beer Gonzo

Eebria

EST. CALORIES: 135   ABV: 4.5%

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IPA – American: Rogue Brutal IPA

I just wanted to start this blog to let you know I’m off on some travels over the next couple of weeks, so whilst there will still be a post every Friday the Wednesday ones will resume once I’m back. I’m over in California and Arizona and I’m hoping to bring back some exciting stuff to write about!

Now, on to the main thing. The beer! This Friday’s beer is Rogue Brutal IPA. Rogue products have been popping up everywhere in the UK recently, so I thought I should go ahead and review one. I’ve had a couple of their beers in the past, but this IPA stood out because of it’s title.

Let’s start with Rogue‘s description of the beer:

A non-traditional India Pale Ale with big citrusy, hop flavor and intense hop aroma. Medium-bodied with a vibrant lingering hop-bitterness that is anything but brutal. Enjoy!

Short but sweet on the description here, but with hints at how it should taste. When you read this, you really do hope that this is a Brutal IPA and they aren’t just stating that fact. We’ll find out about that a little later on! Apart from that, there’s not much to this description really, but as I always write – it’s better to let your drinker decide how the beer tastes!

Now, onto the recipe. The malts in this beer are 2-Row, Carawheat, C15, Rogue Farms Dare and Risk. Quite a lot of malts for an IPA, but I’m not complaining! I like how Rogue have their own farm and try to include ingredients from it as much as possible. As for the Hops, we’ve got Rogue Farms Alluvial Hops, exclusively. Another reason to try this beer. After this, it’s fermented with a yeast called Pacman.

This beer pours a Cloudy Amber with a decent sized White head with good retention. It dissipates leaving rings of lacing around the glass as you drink. Probably one of the best IPA’s I’ve had for a while for looks! On the nose there’s some Apricot, Mango, Pine and Citrus fruits. I’d love to get my hands on the Rogue hops. Now for the palate, loads of Mandarin and Marmalade, Citrus fruits, peach, a little pine and floral notes. The malt backbone rides at the back of your mouth throughout with Caramel and slightly bready notes. Well balanced. Full body for this style, finishing surprisingly sweet for something called Brutal IPA. One I’ll definitely drink again, and one I recommend. Unfortunately there’s an Adnams version in the UK being sold in Wetherspoon pubs, but it’s different compared to this one and a little bit more toned down.

You can buy Brutal IPA in the UK Online at:

Beers of Europe (in Stock at time of writing)

Beautiful Beers

EST. CALORIES: 180   ABV: 6%

Berliner Weisse – English: Buxton Red Raspberry Rye

This Friday’s beer is another Sour, this time made in England by one of my favourite brewers – Buxton. Whilst Wednesday’s beer was a Lambic, this one’s a Berliner Weisse which is one of my favourite styles. It’s also brewed with Rye as one of the fermentables. I originally had this beer on my trip to Buxton, but I enjoyed it so much I purchased a few bottles the next day.

Let’s start with Buxton‘s Description of the beer:

Red Raspberry Rye is a tart Berliner weisse style beer brewed with whole raspberries. This sour fruit beer contains barley, wheat, rye, hops, yeast and raspberries. It contains 100g raspberries per liter. It is soured naturally in the copper for 4 days before boiling.

A very matter of fact description from Buxton, which they are known for. The first time I saw the description it made me really want to try the beer, but it didn’t tell me how it should taste and it didn’t try to “stick it to the man” in big beer. That’s why although clearly from Videos, the Buxton Staff are lively it’s clear when it comes to beer they always concentrate 100% on it.

Let’s start with the malt and mashing process first, the malt in this beer is Pilsen 2-Row malt, with Rye and White Wheat as fermentables. Once mashed in, this is cooled and stored for 4 days to sour the mash. The hops in this beer are hard to determine, but I think Hallertau have been used. Fuggles or similar could just as easily be used in this brew, as this beer is not meant to be hop forward. After this, it’s fermented with quite a clean yeast and during secondary fermentation raspberries are added for 10 days.

This beer pours a deep Red, almost Ruby colour with a quickly dissipating fizzy head leaving no lacing. Usually wheat is great for Head Retention, but in this beer, probably due to the Sugar from the Raspberries. On the nose there’s lots of Sour, almost Fruit Pastille like Raspberry, some Lacto and an underlying Rye Toastyness. This couldn’t smell any different to a Lambic with the same fruit! The taste lived up to the great nose, lots of Sour, Jam like Tart Raspberry, ending with some delicious toasty Rye notes lingering on the Palate. The beer is medium to high carbonated, quite full bodied and finishes medium sweet. I thought that was a beer that was incredibly balanced and I really do recommend it. Make these warmer Spring days that are bound to be few and far between good.

You can buy Red Raspberry Rye in the UK at:

All in stock at time of writing.

Beer Ritz

Mother Kelly’s

Beer Gonzo

EST. CALORIES: 147   ABV: 4.9%

Lambic Fruit Beer – Belgian: Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus

This mid-week beer is from the Highly Rated Belgian Brewery Cantillon. Given the little bit of warmer Spring weather we’ve been having, this beer has been perfect! I’ve always enjoyed Sour beers and IPA’s in hot weather, and as Cantillon know how to make a good sour I chose this particular one.

Let’s start with Cantillon‘s description of the beer:

Kriek certainly already existed in the beginning of the 19th century. It is, however, more difficult to determine when the Framboise-Lambic appeared in the Brussels pubs.
Rosé de Gambrinus

Anyway, the beer certainly was available in the beginning of the 20th century. Paul Cantillon mentions a higher number of bottles of Framboise than of Kriek in his inventory for 1909-1910. During the First World War, the fruit beers disappear from the inventory. From 1922 on, the Kriek will be produced again on a regular basis. As for the Framboise, it was produced for a short time in the thirties and disappeared from the inventory afterwards.

In 1973, a friend of mine, Willy Gigounon, deliverded 150 kgs of raspberries at the brewery. The production of raspberry beers started again 40 years later.

I was preparing a barrel of raspberry beer. The beer coming out of the small hole in the middle of the stave was marvelous.
Rosé de Gambrinus

“It has the colour of onion skin”, said a voice behind me.
It was Raymond Coumans.
He was admiring the colour of the raspberry lambic reflecting in the red copper of the buckets used to empty the barrels. At that time (1986), “Raspberry-Lambic” already was synonymous with a sweet, artificially flavoured beer. This is why we decided to distinguish our beer from the other raspberry beers. Raymond proposed to call it a rosé, dedicated not to Bacchus but to Gambrinus.

The process to make this beer is identical to the one to make Kriek. When young, the Rosé de Gambrinus will still present its full fruity taste. Later on, the lambic taste will become dominant at the expense of the fruit taste.

A very long description from Cantillon, but I like how it gives you the History of the Beer as well as a little bit about the Brewery. Cantillon always seem to leave you to taste and experience the beer yourself, as Lambic doesn’t really taste the same as a lot of other styles, but there’s the hint at Raspberry flavours in the description. I think the same information could come across in a shorter description for lazy readers, but this isn’t a beer I’d recommend for first time beer drinkers.

The recipe for this one is quite simple, but it’s the method that makes this beer taste how it does. The Malts in this beer are 2-Row and Malted Wheat. After this, Three year old dried Styrian Golding hops are used. It is then sent to a room in the brewery to ferment in the open air in a Coolship, meaning it gets infected with natural yeasts and bacteria in the Brussels air. After this, it’s aged in Barrels for two years, and then Raspberries are added for a further year. This means all of the sugar is fermented out of the beer, making it Sour and Tart.

When you pour this beer, it’s a deep red colour with a large pink head which dissipates quickly until a thin ring around the edges of the glass is left. On the nose, a huge wave of Raspberries, a little bit of wheat and barley and some sour Belgian Funk notes. When you taste this beer, you need to bear in mind all of the sugar has been fermented out. Just like the initial taste, a big hit of Sour Raspberries, followed by some sour and tart Brett (Belgian Funk) notes finishing with some Wheat and Malted Barley and Bready Notes. The beer is Medium Bodied and quite Highly Carbonated. It finishes like a dry white wine. I really do recommend this beer, especially if Sours are your thing! In good weather they’re most definitely a treat.

You can buy Rosé De Gambrinus in the UK Online at (all in stock at time of writing):

Beer Merchants

Beer Hawk

Beer Here

EST. CALORIES: 150   ABV: 5%

Smoked Beer – Danish/American: Evil Twin Ashtray Heart

Evil Twin Ashtray Heart

This Friday’s beer is a Smoked Stout by Evil Twin, called Ashtray Heart. We’ve had a Smoked Porter before, and this one is confused. On the front it states Smoked Porter, further on the back it says Smoked Stout. Who knows? All I know is Evil Twin make some great beers.

Evil Twin is run by the famous Mikkeller’s brother Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø from New York. I still feel as though he tries to keep his Danish identity, which is why I’ve declared this as a Danish beer!

Let’s start with Evil Twin‘s Description of the brew:

Amazingly rich, seductively dark and smoking good. Yes a real heartbreaker. We recommend only the truly skillful, heavyweight beer champions to battle this awfully irresistible and potent smoked Stout. Careful this satisfactory product might give you a Placebo effect.

I enjoyed this description, it’s true. It is Seductively Dark… but more on that later! Bit sensationalist in the second section, but I suppose this isn’t a great introductory beer so it makes sense! I love the reference to the Placebo song, and that’s the first thing I thought of when this beer arrived.

It was really hard to find any hints at the recipe with this one, so I had to do a lot of tasting and research. Here’s what I think is used in the beer. As this is a Porter, Stout… lets say Dark beer we’ll start with the all important Malts. Peat Smoked, Black Malt, Pale Malt, Malted Wheat, Rye Malt, Roasted Barley and Carafa Type 2. As far as Hops go, I think Mt. Hood and Centennial have been used. As you can see, a lot of Malt goes into this one, and I think that’s why it leans toward the Stout side of things!

When you pour this beer, it’s very Dark and Black with an impressive Off White head which seems to carry on forever! In fact, pouring this one normally I couldn’t fit it in my Duvel Tulip. It dissipates slowly leaving a little bit of lacing which eventually disappears completely. It’s got great retention and eventually fades to a ring around the glass whilst you’re enjoying this. On the nose, tonnes of peat smoke aromas, a little bit of Rye, Chocolate, Caramel and Toffee with a touch of Alcohol. I love Smoked Beers, so this made we want to put it straight down the hatch! On the palate, lots of Smoke to begin with, Rich Dark Chocolate, Toffee, Burnt Sugar and a little bit of a Citrusy finish. What an amazing, complex flavour. The Carbonation is pretty high for the style, but it was to be expected with this style and actually brings out the complexity in this brew. It’s smooth and finishes Medium Dry. What a beer for Spring weather, although it’s seriously smokey the other flavours in there are ridiculously balanced.

You can buy Ashtray Heart in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Out of stock currently, but this one is worth trying so keep checking!

EST. CALORIES: 267   ABV: 8.9%

Stout – American: Oskar Blue’s Ten FIDY

Ah Spring! It’s coming and it’s that time of year where you don’t know wether the heavens will open, it will snow, or the sun will be shining with a warm breeze. The same goes for Beer. I always have Stouts, Porters, Lambics, Fruit Beers and IPA’s sitting around to deal with the Schizophrenic weather.

That being said, this midweek beer is one of my favourite Imperial Stouts – Oskar Blue’s Ten FIDY. It’s brewed in Colorado. It’s nice to see Oskar Blue‘s cans popping up around the UK, as they make some really good beer and the fact that it’s becoming more easily available is never a bad thing!

Let’s start with Oskar Blue‘s Description of the beer:

This titanic, immensely viscous stout is loaded with inimitable flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee and hides a hefty 98 IBUs underneath the smooth blanket of malt.  Ten FIDY (10.5% ABV) is made with enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Ten FIDY is the ultimate celebration of dark malts and boundary-stretching beer.

Although this description really “bigs up” the beer, I think it deserves the reputation they are trying to portray. The fact it’s a big, imperial, oatmeal stout… what else could you write about it?! By reading that description, it makes it sound like an absolutely amazing beer, and we’ll find out if it is a little bit later on.

Let’s start with the Malts in this brew, Two-Row, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Munich Light, Crystal 77, Cara. Also Flaked Oats are added as a fermentable. Next up, the Hops! Ten FIDY is Hopped exclusively with Columbus. A pretty simple recipe, like a lot of Oskar Blue‘s beers… but so effective!

When you pour this beer, it’s a deep, thick Black with a Tobacco coloured head with absolutely great Head retention for this style. It even leaves sticky lacing on the sides of the glass! I don’t think I’ve had an Imperial stout, apart from this one that had such great retention and actually left lacing on the glass! On the nose there’s lots of Roasty Malt notes, Coffee, Chocolate and a light bit of Alcohol in the background. How does this beer taste? Where do I start?! Smokey flavours, Raisins, Roasty Coffee and Chocolate notes, Light toffee and a touch of sarsaparilla and molasses on the finish. The beer is quite thick and viscous, lightly carbonated and finishes Medium dry. This is a fantastic beer for colder weather, and definitely one of my favourites!

You can buy Ten FIDY in the UK at:

Brewdog Store

Bottledog, Kings Cross

I’m sure this beer is going to pop up in a lot more places soon, as the Oskar Blue’s Beers are being more widely distributed in the UK. If not this batch, the next in Autumn.

EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%