Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bottled beer tasting: Twickenham

As before, three of us tasted a variety of bottled real ales, made notes and gave an overall score out of 5. (Where 5 was, "this is a great beer I would actively seek out, recommend to others, and could drink all night"; 4 is "this is a good beer I'd enjoy drinking more of right now"; 3 is "this beer is fine, I'd happily drink it in a pub"; 2 is, "fine, but wouldn't seek it out, or choose it in a pub unless it was all they had on" (Guinness and London Pride are here); 1 is "not very nice at all, would never choose to drink this"; 0 (rare) is "I couldn't even swallow the first mouthful, vile vile vile.") I'll give my score out of five (as an icon), and the aggregate score out of 15.

Twickenham Ales, Naked Ladies: we got a four-pint bottle of this one from  the cask in, and it lasted well even 24 hours later. A bright, clear golden colour, hoppy nose, taste like a West Coast microbrew with hints of grapefruit. A bit hoppy for my taste, and kind of mainstream, but a big hit overall. (Shame about the laddish name.) Aggregate 11/15. My score: 4/5.

Hogs Back BSA: (We'd forgotten we had this last year too.) Very clear coppery coloured; smooth drinking, slightly fizzy. Aggregate: 9. My score: 3.

Laverstoke Organic Ale: tacky cartoonish label; a fruity nose and slightly insipid colour; almost like wine; very bitter, a little woody and buttery on the finish. Aggregate: 10.

Cropton Yorkshire Ale: malty and peaty, with an odour like broken thistles; deceptively light; like a German bock; some green sappy sweetness. Not bad, but not great by Yorkshire standards. Aggregate: 9.

Black Swan Mild: dark ruby coloured, very sweet aroma, a smoky first taste but slightly harsh roasted flavour; hint of flame-dried raisins. Aggregate: 11.

Box Steam Brewery, Funnel Blower: billed as a porter, but almost stout in stature. Honey, treacle, chocolate and butter in the flavours, but not without bitterness. Bit of a bite. The group's joint favourite of the night. Aggregate: 14.

Tewdric's Tipple: fruity aroma with a very hoppy taste, but smooth and not too much hops on the swallow; tastes include moss, ocean, and flower. Aggregate: 13.

Meantime Wheat Beer: tart and fruitier than expected, too sweet, cooked for too long, lots of banana and bubblegum. Perhaps unfair because we weren't in the mood for wheat beer, but not a great example of the style. Aggregate: 7.

Meantime London Stout: nice and smoky, very good stout; coarse, rough and authentic. Would drink more. Aggregate: 12.

Moorlands Old Crafty Hen: a rich, fruity and strong ale; great with cheese; majestic; cognac-coloured, smooth, mature and even a little decadent. Not a session ale, perhaps, but the other joint favourite of the night. Aggregate: 14.

Otley, O-Garden: a wheat beer; fruity, spicy, herby; with coriander, grass and holy fuck but nutmeg! Trying too hard to be clever, overall. Not bad beer if you drink it without smelling (but then you can drink vomit if you don't smell it). Aggregate: 5.

Suma, Long Wall Mouse: clean fruity aroma; hoppy and spicy; bitter with touch of tannin; "lively little wench". Aggregate: 10.

Vale, Wychert: a robust-smelling ale, with a sharp first bite. A timber-framed beer with early malts but rounded hops; well-crafted and solid. Aggregate (extrapolated): 12.

Black Isle Scotch Ale: a malty and fruity organic ale, very quaffable. Aggregate (extrapolated): 13.5.

Brakspear Organic Ale: floral, strong tasting, very drinkable ale. Aggregate (extrapolated): 11.

1 comment:

  1. A follow up to the great success at our tasting of the Funnel Blower.

    Tonight in a central London pub I noticed that the guest ale they were offering was Box Steam's "Derail". I tried a pint, and was far from disappointed.

    A dark amber ale, with hints of fruit and wild flowers on the nose (thanks Andreia for pointing out that this smells like a flowering bush); hoppy and sweet on the first taste, and then tangy, sour and almost green, with a smooth but satisfying swallow. Certainly a session ale, but a subtle and original brew as well. I'm going to hunt down more from this West Country brewery, as it's been a hit every time so far.