Monday, 8 May 2017

Advent Beers 2016 - Merry Christmas, indeed!

Once something has been done a couple of years in a row, that makes it a tradition, right? Well, in that case, Him Outdoors and I worked on our 'traditional' Christmas gift to each other - our advent beer calendar. He buys the evens and I buy the odd ones, as it were, and then we wrap them in festive tissue paper and stick gift cards in the guise of number on them. We share each one and take notes on its merit or otherwise. As follows:

In the beginning...

1. Sail and Anchor IPA (5.5%) Rich and malty American IPA – enhancing the strong hop bitterness 4/5

2. Prickly Moses Bluberry Hefeweizen (4.6%) –Blueberries are front and centre in this fruit beer with a touch of wheat beer’s trademark banana bubblegum on the finish 4.5/5

3. Bitburger (4.8%) – Crisp, dry German Pilsner – not my favourite style but a good example 3.5/5

4. Robe Town Sour Fest (4%) – Love the sour leathery notes of this one 4.5/5

5. Hook Norton 12 Days of Christmas (5.5%) – Dark brown spiced English strong ale with burnt caramel notes and nutty overtones 4.25/5


6. Exit Saison (6.2%) - Refreshing, clean, yeasty flavour with a crisp bitter finish - funky, and very tasty. 4.25/5

7.  Gavroche (8.5%) – Fruity with toffee caramel malt; very pleasant version of a Biere de Garde. Like a saison with a strong malt profile 4.25/5

8.  Schlenkerla Eiche Dopplebock (8%) – Smokin’! 4.25/5

9. Durham White Stout (7.2%) – A really tasty strong beer recreated from the days when ‘stout’ meant strong rather than dark – delicious spicy hop aromas and flavours 4/5

10. Samuel Smith India Ale (5%) – Earthy nutty hops work so well in this fantastic English-style IPA with a touch of caramel coming through the malt – superbly subtle 4.5/5

11. Mad River Jamaica Red Ale (6.5%) – Crisp malts and spicy hops; really tasty 4.25/5

12. Innis & Gunn Original (6.6%) – Rich, warm and golden wooded goodness 4.25/5

13. Liberty Brewing Co Uprising (5.7%) – Decent beer – pretty hoppy for a pale ale – have we just shifted the hop posts? 3.75/5

14. Temple Rye Hard (6.3%) – A little bit of a tang but not too much – also slightly grainy as I’ve come to expect from rye, but still very passable. Yippee Kye Ay Mofos 3.25/5

15. Stone Dog Braggot 1+1+1 (12%) - Smells like a fruit beer - strong honey flavour with a hint of blackberry, and a bitter hop finish. Good elements; not sure they work together though. 3.5/5

16. Pikes Sparkling Ale (5.2%) – Malty and orangey – quite tasty actually 3.25/5

17. Renaissance The Woodsman Belgian Milk Stout (6.6%) – creamy milk texture with coffee bitterness. Intense, full flavour. I’m not really getting the Belgian yeast though. 3.75/5

18. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin (7%) – Delicious grapefruit characteristics; sharp and zesty with a mellow malt profile to give substance, depth and balance 4.5/5

19. Nøgne Ø/Bridge Road India Saison (7.5%) – A bit too bitter, which detracts from the fruity zest of the saison – the yeast doesn’t feel well integrated 2.75/5

20. Birra Del Borgo ReAle (6.4%) – Tasty and malty with distinct earthy bitter hops 4/5

21.  Sierra Nevada Narwhal (10.2%) – Smooth, rich, slight roast bitterness and strong alcohol warmth 4.5/5

22. Chimay White (8%) – Golden caramel goodness – full mouthfeel with nicely balanced flavours. Those Belgians certainly know how to make triples! 4.5/5

23. 8 Wired Rendition (7.5%) – Barnyard, leathery, damp straw funk. Fantastically clean and a little bit tart but not sour. Barrel-aging brilliance. 4.75/5

24. Brewdog Hoppy Christmas (7.2%) – American IPA – orangey citrus hop with grassy, grainy taste – not altogether pleasant 3.25/5

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