Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Battle of the (India) Pale Ales - Quarter Final 3

Quarter Final 3 - Scotland Vs Germany
Brew Dog Punk IPA 33cl 5.6% abv - €2.69
Crew IPA  33cl 6.4% abv - €2.99

Prior to this round I would have said that Punk was the number 2 seed. We used to go to the Brew Dog pub on the Cowgate in Edinburgh and we drank a lot of their beers and a lot of Punk on draught. The Crew on the other hand, I had never come across before the other day

Brew Dog Punk IPA
Straw coloured and slightly cloudy in the glass, the first thing that's noticeable is the fruit; not as much hops as I would have expected but enough to satisfy. As in QF2 I picked the standard IPA and didn't go for the monster that is Brewdog Hardcore IPA (9.2%).

Crew IPA
Amber, nearly red in the glass, this doesn't look like a pale ale at all. Unfortunately it doesn't taste much like a pale ale either, not enough hops, methinks or maybe the flavour is too subtle for me, it wouldn't be the first time. For the curious, the link to their site is here.

Winner - Brew Dog Punk IPA

By the way, this is my 300th post (go me!) I've been at this since March 2009, for those of you keeping score at home.

Quarter Final 1 is here 
Quarter Final 2 is here
Quarter Final 4 is here

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Battle of the (India) Pale Ales - Quarter Final 2

Quarter Final 2  - All American
Brooklyn East India Pale Ale 35.5cl 6.9% abv - €2.89
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 35cl 5.6% abv - €2.59

Brooklyn East India Pale 
I'll be honest, I didn't know Brooklyn made a Pale Ale, let alone an East India Pale Ale, and at 6.9% its not one for the faint hearted. Amber in the glass with a healthy white head, this is hoppy but not in your face, and reasonably smooth. I like it.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
A similar colour to the Brooklyn, with a touch less head. Plenty of hops but not quite the same smoothness. Nice, but I'd prefer its rival.
Note: I could have chosen the "next one up" from Sierra Nevada, the Torpedo Extra IPA, which come in at a not inconsiderable 7.2% abv, but I decided that if a brewer offers more than one Pale Ale, I'll stick to the standard expression.

Winner - Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

Next Up - Scotland Vs Germany.  The number 2 seed against the dark horse from Munich. 

Quarter Final 1 is here
Quarter Final 3 is here
Quarter Final 4 is here

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Battle of the (India) Pale Ales - Quarter Final 1

So I fell in love when I was working in Scotland, with India Pale Ales, oh and haggis. I've never had them together but it'd probably work.

I decided to buy eight (India) Pal Ales and pair them off in a knockout fashion until we have a winner.

Quarter Final 1 consists of:

Goose Island India Pale Ale 5.9% abv 35cl - €2-69
Porterhouse Hop Head 5.0% abv 33cl - €1-99

Before we start, I must admit that the Goose Island is one of my all time faves and the Hop head is something I have only had on draft in the Porterhouse itself, so I bought both to taste against each other.

First up the reigning champ; The Goose island is a pale golden colour in the glass and looks slightly cloudy with a nice white head. On the palate there's grapefruit, a little sweet maltiness and hops, lots of hops, but the best part is how smooth and integrated all the flavours are. If you have any interest in ales you really need to try this for some epic win.

Next  up, the Hop Head. For starters, the colour is a dark amber, almost red with an off white head. There are lots of bitter hops, not much on the malt side and not as much fruit. It's pretty decent, but it's not as smooth as the gosling - it's a bit more earthy and robust.

Winner -  Goose Island India Pale Ale

The Full Line up is as follows:

Quarter Final 2  - All American
Brooklyn East India Pale Ale 35.5cl 6.9% abv - €2.89
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 35cl 5.6% abv - €2.59

Quarter Final 3 - Scotland Vs Germany
Brew Dog Punk IPA 33cl 5.6% abv - €2.69
Crew IPA  33cl 6.4% abv - €2.99

Quarter Final 4 - Dunnes Big Ones
O'Hara's Irish Pale Ale 50cl 5.2% abv - €2.89
Fuller's India Pale Ale 50cl 5.3% abv - €2.50

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Ginger Beer Challenge

So, a while back, after my failed experiment with a beer-less life and the attendant quantities of cider that that necessitated, I decided to review some ginger beers, alcoholic ones*, that is. Having bought them some months ago they lay dormant in my beer fridge until I realised that they might be going out of date and that I should get my metaphorical skates on.

Note: I tasted all three from the same sized glass, refrigerated, with neither ice nor slice.

First up is Stone's Ginger Joe 4% abv.
I like this. It tastes like ginger ale with a shot added, which I suppose is the point. It's thirst quenching, although it remains to be seen how it fares against the next two candidates.

Next up is Wychwood Brewery Ginger Beard 4.2 % abv
Not sure about this. Tastes like some real root ginger initially but it resolves to a slightly unpleasant aftertaste. Don't think I'd buy this again.

Lastly Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer 4% abv
Wow, very gingery and perhaps slightly sweeter than its rivals, but very drinkable all the same.

To be honest, I'd be quite happy with either the Stone's or the Crabbies's and if I find any more candidates I'll taste them and add them here.

* If you fancy a tasty non-alcoholic ginger beer, try M&S. They do a fantastic one that's replete with lots of lip-smacking root ginger. If you are feeling adventurous , try adding 2 shots of vodka and a squeeze of lime for a delicious Moscow mule, kudos to Nedward for that one...