My Dad and Brother had their birthday’s very recently and as their present, I took them both on a beer tour of Cheltenham through Brewerism (http://www.brewerism.co.uk/). We are all pretty big fans of beer, particularly craft ale, so I thought this would be a pretty interesting day out – we were not disappointed.
The Tour began at the excellent Brewhouse and Kitchen in Cheltenham’s Old Brewery Quarter. It has a small micro-brewery within it that you can see working from within the bar area – they also brew some of their own beers from this that you can only get within their bars.
We met Shandin (our guide) and the rest of the tour group (a not too raucous stag party) and had a little intoduction to the day before the beers started to flow. We were then introduce to three of the beers brewed on site:
- The Crystal Rock Bitter – I’m not usually a fan of a Bitter but this was excellent and was one of my favourite beers of the days
- Montgomery American-style pale ale – bursting with flavour and very pleasant
- Colonel Jack IPA – a fairly standard english-style pale ale
Whilst still trying the beers we went over to the micro-brewery and Shandin gave us an excellent introduction to the brewing process.
Next stop on the tour was Wild Beer at Jessop House; for any previous readers of the blog, you might know that Wild Beer are one of my favourite breweries. Here we were given a beer and food matching tasting session, but with very different beers to anything most of us had ever tried. We had:
- Wild Goose Chase farmhouse ale with gooseberries – a pleasant and easy drink, more akin to a cider than an ale.
- Sourdough barrel-fermented berliner weiss fermented with sourdough yeast – an acquired taste! It is worth a try but don’t expect to be coming back to it regularly.
- Millionaire milk stout with Cornish sea salt, caramel and cocoa nibs – I’ve reviewed this one before and was pretty glowing about it – it was as good as ever this time around
I’ll definitely be going back to Jessop House for a pint and some food. To my shame I can’t remember the canapes we had alongside the beer, but in fairness I’d had a few drinks by that point!
Finally on the Tour we went to the best beer shop I have ever been to – Favourite Beers. We were treated to the Pershore Pale Ale which was very nice, and then one of the on-top beers each. The three of us chilled out in the seating area for quite a while and bought a couple more beers to drink-in. We all bought a few to take home as well, with an incredible selection to choose from. If you live in or anywhere near Cheltenham and like beer, this is a shop you have to go to.
Overall the Brewerism Tour was brilliant and just the kind of thing that the three of us enjoy. I would recommend this for small groups but don’t go expecting a pub crawl – this is a much more refined and civilized experience, and all the better for it.
I’ve been back to a spot of beer drinking in the last couple of weeks after a very fruitful trip to a few specialist beer shops. The three beers below are all excellent beers.
First up is Smokey Horyzon by the Moor Beer Company who are based in Bristol. This beer is described as a Smokey Rye Ale and comes in at 5%. The beer comes in a can with a fairly stylish label. The look of the beer is amber and murkey, with a smokey aroma (including a slight hint of bacon!). The taste is smokey with a bit of fizz and a really nice aftertaste. I’ve never had anything quite like it before but I’d get it again.
Next up is the Wit from Pilot Series from the West Three Brewing Company in Swansea; it is an unfiltered Belgian style wheat beer. The beer doesn’t have a description but I’d describe it as a pale ale and it comes in at 5%. The bottle and label are simple yet distinctive, with the look of the beer when poured being golden and cloudy. The aroma is slightly sour but also fresh (if that is even possible) and there is a hint of grapefruit and other tropical flavours. The taste is as with the aroma, but there is a nice level finish and a good aftertaste. Overall it is an excellent and interesting beer. I’d be keen to try more from this brewery.
Last but by no means least is an amazing beer from the Wild Beer Company who are based in Somerset. The beer was called Rooting Around and it was an ultra pale ale where all the ingredients added for flavour were foraged from nearby the brewery. The foraged ingredients are ‘leaves and buds + beech and linden trees’. It comes in at a low 3% and the bottle is a typical Wild Beer Company style. The look of the beer when poured was cloudy and the aroma was potent, but also fresh and citrusy. The taste was exceptionally fresh, with light citrus elements as well as being a bit herby. Overally it is a fantastic beer and very easy to drink – highly recommended.
Just a short review today and this time it is for the excellent pale ale from Battledown Brewery.
The Battlldown Brewery are from the Cotswolds and fairly local to me – there is no bias from me though because they are local; there a plenty of bad local beers as well!
As for the beer itself, it comes in at 3.8% and has a surprisingly flowery label. When poured it looks clear and golden, with a very pleasant aroma of honey. The taste is excellent, being very refreshing and quite sharp, but in a very good way. Overall it an excellent pale ale that is perfect for summer drinking.
Today’s drinks reviews are for a couple of old favourite beers of mine: Doombar and Treason.
First up is Doombar from Sharp’s Brewery in Cornwall. Being from the South-West and having visited Cornwall a lot, I came across Doombar a long time ago. Now you can find it pretty much anywhere in the country and for a good reason – it is a really good beer. The label is pretty classic and the look of the beer when poured is dark amber. The aromas are lightly fragrant with hints of citrus and then the taste is lightly bitter, refreshing and again the hints of citrus. Overall it is a really solid beer that fills a number of roles: a drink at home, a pint at the pub or I think it also goes really well with a BBQ.
Next is Treason; a West Coast IPA coming in at 6% from the Uprising Craft Brewing Range from the Windsor and Eton Brewery. I first tried a few beers from this brewery about six years ago and they weren’t anything special at the time, but now they have really upped their game. Treason has a very striking label and a nice clear look to the beer when poured. The aroma is very citrusy and pleasantly hoppy, with that repeated in the tasting. Overall it is a very flavourful beer and worth trying. I would say though that you would only drink one in a sitting, another would make too citrusy.
Brakspear beers are always a solid bet and you can easily pick them in most supermarkets. The most recent one I’ve been drinking is Oxford Gold a golden ale that in the bottle comes in at 4.6%.
The label isn’t the most exciting in the world but it is distinctly Brakspear. Unsurprisingly the look of the beer is golden and the aroma is lightly fragrant and citrusy.
The taste is very nicely balanced, refreshing and easy to drink, as well as a distinct note of honey. Overall it is a very solid beer and I have a few of these stored away for any occasion.
First of all I have to say that Poacher’s choice is hands down one of my favourite beers. It comes in a reassuring bottle from Badger Brewery and comes in at 5.7%. The beer is classed as a ruby ale but to my mind it is a much richer and darker beer than that. When it is poured it looks quite dark and malty, with aromas of fruit and liquorice on the nose.
The taste is fruity with a lovely liquorice aftertaste and it is a great drinker on its own. It is perfect for an autumn or early spring day. I have to give it a very high recommendation and it is well worth trying, even if ruby beers aren’t necessarily your thing.
I think I’m going to get a lot of stick for this review as other reviews for it seem to be quite poor but I’m going ahead with it anyway.
The beer in questions is Fire Catcher by Wychwood; a brewery I’ve enjoyed many fine beers from before. The beer is described as a dazzling golden beer and comes in at 3.5%.
Strangely for a Wychwood beer the label has no character on it! The look of the beer when poured is golden and the smell is hoppy and citrusy. The taste is very fizzy, refreshing and has light citrus tones.
Overall I found the beer very pleasant and nicely balanced. I could imagine this beer going down very well on a hot summers day.
Bath Ales is a good local favourite of mine and I have a bit of a soft spot for their beers. They recently got taken over by the St Austell Brewery, though they also make excellent beers so that should hopefully work out well.
The most recognisable and widely distributed of the Bath Ales is Gem, an amber ale at 4.8%. The label is as with all Bath Ales, distinctive and stylish. When poured it looks like a standard bitter and the smell is subtle citrusy notes with a hint of malt.
The taste is quite bitter initially but it has a nice sweetness on the after taste. It is a refreshing and easy drink; good with a BBQ or maybe as your first pint at a pub. It isn’t the best beer in the world but Gem is one that you can’t really go wrong with.
The Wild Beer Company from Somerset are an exiting young brewery with some excellent beers. They are also not afraid to do things a little bit differently, as evidenced by their use of crowdfunding – as evidenced here.
I picked up one of their beers last month – Millionaire, a slated caramel, chocolate and vanilla stout. Now I like the odd stout but they can be too heavy; also the edition of the interesting flavours both intrigued and slightly scared me!
First of all the bottle – all of their bottles have the wild/angry deer on them and are nicely colour coded for each beer. It is quite a simple look but I think very stylish. When I poured the beer it unsurprisingly looked like a stout but the smell was more caramel than chocolate, though that was still in evidence. As for the taste…it was fantastic! It was initially quite fizzy but then was very rich and smooth; I could definitely taste the slated caramel.
Overall the Millionaire by the Wild Beer Company is one of the best stouts I’ve ever had I will definitely buy again, as well as trying out the rest of their range.
My favourite type of beer is a pale ale and I’ve drunk a lot of them – Why Kick A Moo Cow by Arbor ales is right up there with some of the best of them.
Firstly from a style point of view, the label is very appealing with the silver fern of New Zealand on it, marking the beer as a New Zealand Pale Ale. You shouldn’t really pick a beer by a label but sometimes when you are faced with so much choice you have to!
The look of the beer when poured is your fairly typical pale ale look and the smell is very citrusy. The taste is also citrusy and very refreshing. Initially the taste for me made it possibly my favourite pale ale, but if you keep drinking it too quickly then it was a bit too citrusy for me.
I would buy the beer again and I would definitely have it on a hot summers day but if too much citrus doesn’t work for you, don’t go for this beer.