Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Pleasant Surprises

Well, it's been a year of pleasant surprises from the beer world so far, and I'm aware I haven't blogged about all of them, so I thought I'd create a whole entry from little mini ones!

  1. Brewer's Reserve - Finally, after 507 days, Fuller's whisky-aged beer has been launched; lovely soft vanilla & spirit nose and then fabulous sticky fruit flavours (quince jelly & orange marmalade for my money) in the mouth, with a spicy bitter finish that reminds me of Green & Black's Maya Gold chocolate. Be warned, there are going to be different wood ages every year so make sure you lay your hands on some of the first one quickly!
  2. Zywiec - the lager's very quaffable but the porter (pretty much only available at Utobeer on Borough Market as far as I'm aware) is absolutely awesome; at 9.5%ABV it's rich, dark, coffee & liquorice-dry and delightful.
  3. Moravka & Cotswold lagers - both very, very nice and very, very drinkable; more pubs should be stocking these products, if you live in the vicinity of either brewery start pressuring your local licensees now!
  4. Morrisey Fox Blonde Ale - went to the launch of this; Neil Morrisey is a very nice bloke (already knew Richard Fox was a sound chap) who is genuinely, almost intensely, passionate about his ale and the cask beer was jolly drinkable indeed - in fact I was pleasantly surprised that it was as bitter as it is, was expected a much more dumbed down product, good work lads.
  5. Harviestoun Ola Dubh - get a bottle of this ramped up version of Old Engine Oil that's been aged in 30-year-old Highland Park casks, pour it into a brandy balloon, sit in front of an open fire if possible and... relax!
  6. The launch of the Sainsbury's & Asda Beer Competitions - the winners of the Sainsbury's beer competition are two big favourites of mine; Dr Okell's IPA & Bath Ales Barnstormer, good work the rest of the judges for a good shortlist and the beer-buying public who had the final say. Asda's got big shoes to fill here and I shall report back in November on what went on at the judging.
  7. Young's new bottle conditioned beers - back to Wandsworth standards, if not (dare I say it) better in my eyes. The Bitter in particular is extremely drinkable, haven't had the chance to try the cask recently but would be interested to hear what you guys think.

That's all for now folks! More to follow soon.

10 comments:

Charles said...

Intrigued by the Zwyiec Porter - gonna head down to Uto at lunch and grab a couple

Laurent Mousson said...

Hmmm, Zywiec Porter... first time I encontered it, at the Kaliska pub in Lodz, back in 2000, I downed two half-litres of the stuff, before wondering why I couldn't really write tasting notes half-way through the third. At 9% plus, that little monster tasted 6%-ish at most...

At the time, Zywiec Porter did have a rather assertive roasted character, along with a resiny hoppy edge. Heineken have moved the production since then, and it's gone smoother, more in line with other polish porters, that is similar to a very dark doppelbock, malty, smooth, warming, with notes of cocoa, plenty of nutty malt, and touches of vanilla if not maple syrup. But it still hides beautifully its strength, slipping down a treat, until the alcohol catches up with your neurons, that is.

No doubt a classic, alongside the likes of Okocim Porter or Lodzkie Porter.

Charles said...

oh no! I went down to Borough to find the Porter but they said they didn't have any and it was pretty hard to come by - will keep my eye open though

Good Burp said...

Looks like I am off on a scavenger hunt tomorrow. I am a huge fan of the Ales from London. I am Uber excited for the Fuller's and Young's. Thanks for the heads up.

couchand said...

The Ola Dubh is great beer, but I think the 30 is too intense. The whiskey just overpowers everything else. The same is true of the one aged in 16-year barrels.

The 12-year achieves a wonderful balance. You can still taste the sherry from the Highland Park barrels, and the biscuity and bready and wonderful malt flavors from the beer still come through.

I just think the 30-year tastes so much like whiskey that you may as well be drinking whiskey!

Melissa Cole said...

Oh no! I'm sorry they didn't have any, I shall post when I see availability; hope you got something else yummy whilst you were there though?

If the Zywiec isn't available and you're after a beast of a dark beer then I'd recommend Sam Smith's Imperial Stout or the Gonzo Russian Imperial Porter from Flying Dog, you won't be disappointed!

Charles said...

yeah I grabbed some Meantime Winter Time and some of that Brooklyn / Schneider Weisse - both really awesome.

Flaming Nora said...

Any suggestions for girls beers for Chrimbo? Either as drinking for ourselves or for gifts for other girls?

Melissa Cole said...

Hey Flamin'!
It depends what you're after - I always think you can't go far wrong with a Deus gift set complete with flute glasses and ice bucket!

Email me if you want some more ideas or visit utobeer on borough or www.beermerchants.com for inspiration - email is on the homepage of the blog.

Cheers,

Melissa

Flaming Nora said...

Having recently discovered KorenWolf with its lovely lickle picture of a hamster on the front, I suspect at least one of my sisters in law will get a couple of bottles for Chrimbo. It's a wonderful beer, very creamy texture and delightful taste.