Saturday, 20 August 2011

XX Bitter by Brouwerij De Ranke

Another purchase of mine from L'Abbaye des Saveurs in Lille, this beer was recommended to me by a good pal of mine Paul Daly. Paul's in Belgium and France quite regularly discovering new beers and we always exchange notes on what we each have discovered, this beer he's been going on about for a long time and I’ve been on the look out for it on each of my trips so when the lads at the shop told me they got some in I popped in and I picked up half a dozen and at €1.45 the price was good too.

Brewery De Ranke is a Belgian Brewery and is situated in the town of Wevelgem that’s in South of the country close to the French border I think its about 20 mins by train from Lille (Lille Flanders), the guys started brewing back in 1994 and I so far i have only known them for the Kriek De Ranke. Currently they have six beers on the market and are shipping to US, India, Japan, UK, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Austria & France. I'd love to find out what the Indian market thinks of the Kriek, I’d reckon it goes down especially in the South (Chennai, Bangalore) they have a very interesting palate those southerners.

Pours a golden orange colour with a large foamy head. Aroma spicy, floral hops with touches of lemon and pine. Flavour slightly sweet and florally which becoming more citric and indeed very hoppy, it’s very sharp with hints of pepper and then biscuit malts. Finish is sour like a lambic you just got to love the sharpness. Defiantly one of the hoppiest Belgian beers I’ve recently had from this part of the world and I love my hops.

My Rating:

XX Bitter - Brouwerij De Ranke (6.2%) 7/10

Do visit the breweries website and when your next in Lille jump on a train and check out the brewery.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Big Swell IPA in a can by Maui Brewing Co Hawaii

Following on from my last post this is another beauty in a can from Maui Brewing in Hawaii that I picked up at Utobeer in South London, like most of us its also the first place for me to go in town to pick up something new and interesting and the stall never disappoints. In London we have now only around half dozen specialist beer shops and I think its about time someone opened one up in East London, I did look at premises myself earlier this year but just been to busy with stuff so if anyone knows of a decent premises let me know.

Going back to Maui five years ago these guys brewed 400 bbls and in 2010 11,000 bbls now that’s impressive, plus Q1 2011 sales are up by 79% for the same period last year with overall expected production for 2011 looking at about 20,000 BBLs. Husband and wife team Garrett and Melanie Marrero have laid down a strong commitment to the local economy with top of the agenda being concern for the local environment, the cans they use are packaged with the most eco-friendly materials which they prefer to use rather than bottles which break and pollute the local beaches. They don't even use plastic rings around the cans but a recyclable plastic carrying device, which is less dangerous to marine life. Local farms, Bio Diesel and Solar panels are all ongoing developments in the breweries sustainability mantra, which you can read more about from this link

Now the important bit: Pours a cloudy golden orange with a large tan head. Aroma is hoppy floral, spicy, citrus tropical fruits. Flavour is a light on hops than you would expect, citrus and tropical fruits make up for that and it's really spicy, i think its cloves maybe but definitely something out of my curry powder blend. Very Enjoyable IPA I would have with a curry any day.

My Rating:

Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co (6.2%) 8/10

That’s two Maui beers I’ve tired so far and both are very enjoyable, time to find another Maui


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Coconut Porter in a can by Maui Brewing Co Hawaii

Now this beer over the last couple of weeks has been the topic of conversation with Twitters beer community especially with one online retailer (you know who you are) who must have sold out 10 times over with his numerous plugs. This interest also got my attention and on my weekly visit to Utobeer in Borough market South London I picked up a couple of cans, the young chap at the till suggested I also take a can of the breweries other beer called Big Swell IPA which I did and will post about another time.

Maui Brewing Company is located on the island of Maui Hawaii; just hearing that sounds so cool a brewery in Hawaii beats Derby any day. These guys started brewing handcrafted ales in 2005 based in Lahaina on Highway #55 they also own a brewpub in the same town at highway #217, the guys here brew 5 canned beers and around a dozen available on tap. It’s currently the only microbrewery on the island and no surprise it’s the islands fastest growing company.

Pours very dark brown you could say black with light fluffy tan head and you get a huge amount of coconut and sugar instantly on the nose. Aroma of malt and chocolate. Flavour smooth with malt, chocolate, yep coconut and some nuttiness the aftertaste is nice and heavy with coconut and vanilla. What I like is how smooth and silky the mouthful is, it’s incredible well balanced plus its low ABV not what you would expect from a beer of this style.

My Rating:
Coconut Porter - Maui Brewing Co (5.7%) 8/10

I'm told 1 can, Calories: 180, Fat: 0g, Carbs: 24g, Protein: 1g if that helps anyone, cracking website and yep these guys are on Twitter @MauiBrewingCo

I found this video on the brewery canning this brew check it out:

Before i forget you can buy these beers in the UK via @AlesbyMail ..............You owe me a beer now Paul :)


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Dale’s Pale Ale in a can by Oskar Blues Brewery

This can is another beauty I picked up on my last trip to Stockholm, courtesy of The Oliver Twist Craft Beer pub. I was hoping to find more of this stuff on the BSF stand at the GBBF but not a sausage, shame don't see it with any of the specialist Online or high st beer retailers either!...I suggest they tell their wholesalers to pull your finger out and go get some in.

Oskar Blues kicked off back in 2002 and was the 1st US craft brewery to 'just' do cans (draft at their pub) situated aprox 1,5 hr drive north of Denver at one of the gateways into the Rocky Mountains in small town Lyons, can you imagine what a beautiful place to own a brewery it must be. Dales Pale Ale is their core brand but they also brew some superb Imperial/Double IPA´s and Stouts. When these guys launched cans people laughed at them, Craft beer in a can, yeah right, today there are 130+ US craft breweries now doing cans and a couple now in the UK.

Poured a mostly clear copper colour with a medium off-white head, instant Citrus hop aroma then grapefruit even vanilla. Taste you first get the bitter hops then grapefruit, biscuit and Tangerines, the mouthful is silky and smooth and the after taste has notes of hops but not too much yep its incredibly well balanced.

If this were available in the UK I’d drink this everyday.

My Rating

Dale’s Pale Ale by Oskar Blues Brewery (6.5%) 8/10

Like always I recommend you check out the company website plus these guys are on Twitter too. @oskarblues


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Another Great British Beer Festival (GBBF)

Well its an event most of us look forward to every year and this years pre GBBF run up has not been short of a few interesting happenings, yep the Brew Dog situation. Each of us we have our own theories about what happened and I feel Brew Dog have acted very admirably and took it on the chin, instead of kicking up a big fuss. I was hoping to see around 100 dwarfs outside Earls Court with banners screaming but hey Camra rule the roast and we can't do noting about it.

This years show opened up on a glorious hot summers day with mercury levels hitting 30 degrees (yep we get hot weather in the UK too) and yes old lady Earl Court is not a venue you want to be in, so luckily I’d put on my shorts and tee well prepared for battle. As expected a very enthusiastic crowd of beer drinkers were present all enjoying the delights of beers from around the country, the usual breweries showing off their latest brews.

This years  'Best Beer' in Britain is Mighty Oak brewery's Oscar Wilde, ok please don't all jump up in joy at the same time. I feel Camra's decision was based on drinkers aged 55+ I'm really beginning to feel there is a big divide coming up, most beer drinkers I know aged 20/45 all talk and show a great interest about the great new hops and the artisan creative new beer the up coming breweries are making which is well away from the norm.

Camra is protecting the good old pint, which so rightly is their job, but they do need to change with the time and accept modern techniques and innovations in brewing. However I was surprised to see a very a selection of Mikkeller beers on sale, so maybe they are trying and look at this years logo don't that remind you of the 80's Britannia music awards logo!

BSF the foreign beer stand I thought had a really bad selection of Belgian bottled beers on offer this year, could have been so much better. Ok the Lambics and Fruits we all love but come on! The Blondes I’d never heard of few of them and I travel frequently to Belgium. Even the US beers most on offer you can get in the supermarket (what’s the point) and missing were the SKA, Avery and North Coast beers we all want to get and enjoy.

I bought a couple of beers to take home two breweries beers I’d never tried before, a bottle of Bootlegger by Swiss brewery Bad Attitude and a Bastarda Rossa by Italian Brewery Birra Amiata, both I’ll do reviews when get time. I tasted quite a few while I was their incl some interesting Czech beers which also helped me from getting dehydrated and I thoroughly enjoyed my favourite pub snack pork scratching mmmmmmm

GBBF is now on for a few more days and please do check it out, the beer and pub industry needs our support at the moment and with our support we all reap the benefit.

For tickets check out the Website plus GBBF/Camra are also on Twitter @GBBF @CAMRA_Official