Friday, 30 March 2012

Hurry! Hurry! Don't Miss Out!

Tasting Notes: Windsor & Eton Windsor Knot (4% abv)

For a brewery that has only been in existence for a little over 2 years, Windsor & Eton are certainly moving in the right direction and are an example to follow for anyone hoping to run a successful brewery.

This Golden Ale was originally brewed as a special for last year’s Royal Wedding, but has proved so successful that it is now part of their permanent range of core beers.  Clear gold in colour with a small off white lasting head;. This has an aroma reminiscent of freshly cut grass with subtle hints of fruit. On taste there is an immediate, yet subtle, grapefruit flavour (initially this led me to think that Chinook hops had been utilised in this beer, but, I must admit that on this occasion I was incorrect.), giving way to tastes of apple, pine and more than a hint grapey Sauvignon Blanc characteristic of Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand, also used were the seldom seen Sovereign hop.

On the whole, this is a very refreshing beer, and at only 4% you can easily, and quite happily have another one or two. Well, in fact, I must admit that I did.

Highly recommended!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Hoppy Beers Are Here Again!: Tasting Notes – Windsor & Eton Knight Of The Garter (3.8% abv) and Dark Star Revelation (5.7% abv)

Spring at last! Time for the Golden and Pale Ales to make a resurgence, and we have not just one, but, two absolute crackers for your enjoyment.

Windsor & Eton Knight Of The Garter (3.8% abv)

This straw coloured Golden Ale has a distinctive fresh orangey aroma characteristic of American Amarillo hops. The taste is instantly hoppy, exploding into a fresh crisp bitterness leaving only small traces of sweet caramel from the Maris Otter malt behind. As the beer lingers on the palate the citric flavours amplify greatly into a diverse array of sharp citrus bitterness.

It's quite rare (but very pleasing) to find a session beer that is so powerfully and beautifully hopped, the closest comparison would for my money be Dark Star Hophead, but with slightly orange tang as opposed to the elderflower notes of Cascade.

Dark Star Revelation (5.7% abv)

As for Revelation, Dark Star’s newest addition to their range of core beers, I must confess to being blown away.

This clear yellow-gold beer has a white foamy head and has a pleasing biscuit-like aroma with a hint of fruit, The taste is quite pleasant. Nicely hoppy, plenty of citrus fruit flavour. But this isn’t overpowering, not too bitter, which is quite remarkable considering that 4 varieties of hops (Centennial, Liberty, Cascade, and Citra) have been used by the sack full, this should be seen as a reflection of Mark Tranter’s incredible prowess as a master of the art of brewing. Multiple pints are certainly possible, but at 5.7% a little self restraint is recommended

This is an outstanding addition to Dark Star’s already impressive permanent range.

Both of these beers would easily be enjoyed with chicken, seafood or light cheeses.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Czech This Out! – Tasting Notes: Dark Star Black Coffee Pilsener (4.8% abv)

Czech This Out! – Tasting Notes: Dark Star Black Coffee Pilsener (4.8% abv)

This is an unusual beast in these parts; yes, it’s a Lager; yes, it’s on cask; and yes, it’s black; oh and a final yes, it’s very good indeed!

Inspired by a trip to the Czech Republic this beer plays heavily upon the intrinsic coffee flavour of the unfiltered Budweiser Budvar Tmavý Ležák (colloquially known as Budvar Dark, and much easier to pronounce) brewed by Budweiser Budvar Ceske Budejovice (the original Budweiser brewery in Prague).

Dark Star with their trademark zeal for authenticity have brewed this dark lager, with Czech malt, hops, presumably Saaz , from the Zatec region, and a traditional Czech yeast strain. The natural coffee flavour of the malt has been enhanced by the addition of coffee beans after fermentation to give an excellent replica of an imported beer that is seldom seen in the U.K.


Friday, 16 March 2012

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona (Happy St Patrick's Day) - Tasting Notes: Dawkins Emerald Stout (5.2% abv)

Let me begin by wishing everybody a happy St Patrick's Day. To celebrate the occasion we have Dawkins Emerald Stout on the bar.

This hearty full-bodied stout has been brewed to a traditional Irish recipe; Roasted Barley has been blendedwith Pale Ale, Wheat and Chocolate Malts, along with the addition of whole Goldings Hops to produce a robust fruit flavour with coffee and chocolate tones.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Tasting Notes: Adur Brewery Black William Stout (5% abv)

This is a very interesting concoction indeed. On appearance it has a rich black colour with a light tan head (Not surprisingly really, it is a stout, after all!). It has a definite mocha-coffee bouquet, making way, but not giving in, to a distinctly fruity retro nasal...

The flavour perches delicately midway on the bitterness scale, with a long dry finish, with a palette of chocolate, coffee and roasted (falling just pleasantly short of ashy) flavours derived from a very clever use of Chocolate Malt, there is a slight hint of caramel, which indicates that Maris Otter Malt was put into the mix.  There are also blueberry and ripe plum nuances, no doubt coming from one of the under used, but still worthy, English hop varieties, my guess would be Target.

This beer would go down very well accompanied by red meats, game, or even Caribbean spices (such as Jerk Chicken),though could just as easily be enjoyed with cherries or dark chocolate. Though I would suggest that meaty fish or acidic fruits were avoided as with all stouts or porters.

On the whole, a pleasant, very quaffable offering from this West Sussex based cooperative. To my mind this by some way is this brewer’s best contributionto the science of zymurgy to date.