Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Treason West Coast IPA 5.8% (Uprising Brewery)

The first beer from the Uprising brewery, part of the Windsor and Eton family it seems, standing on it's own feet but guided by their experience.

The aroma to this beer is truly outstanding, like a can of Lilt it's huge on tropical fruity notes, and fresh as a daisy.

The open malt is sutble and understated, like the support act ahead of it's famous paymaster. The gentle sweetness quickly gives way to the hops, but not with the expected stamp of IPA bitterness, instead it unleashes a tropical fruit utopia.  Mango and lycées give huge flavours of soft ripe fruit, lingering on the palette. An amazingly mellow and balanced IPA, it's managed to capture huge tropical hop flavours without any of the rougher edges of bitterness.

9/10 Smooth, balanced and full of huge tropical fruit. 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Great British Beer Festival

We are LIVE today from the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia. Head to Twitter and #BeerBunkerPaul or #BeerBunkerEd for updates.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, 7 June 2014

DNA New World IPA (Wells / Dogfish) 4.5%

Dogfish brewing on our shores?! Is this the most exciting thing in years? When I saw the super cool looking bottle I declared it was, cool craft had hit the mainstream, and most amazingly, our supermarkets. The excitement of reading the words "Dogfish" and "IPA" on my supermarket shelf was too much to resist. 

This is my favorite bottle design in years, it's cool, has mass appeal and heritage....hang on, does that say 4.5%?!! But it's a 330ml bottle?! It says IPA?!? I feared for the worse....I opened with an open mind, here goes.

It pours a deeper amber than I expected, the nose far from hoppy, hints of fresh grass which easily drift from memory. No tropical excitement or dry hop power.

The first sip arrives with dreadful silence, no rich caramel, simply drifting like watered down best bitter before providing a very dry almost coffee backbone ( I'm guessing this is the famous Thomas Fawcett Amber malt Dogfish love so dear). After the malt leaves with all the fanfare of a rainy village fete opening, the finish at least gives a stamp of bitterness, but no woven hop flavours or tongue coating sap. One of the thinnest tasting beers I've ever drunk, only really the dry coffee flavours of the Amber malt are noticeable. 

I've been lucky enough to drink many beers good and bad, including Dogfish beers regularly in their home state. However this tastes like 1/3 90min IPA, 2/3s Thames water.

Without doubt the most excepting beer of 2014. However I really hope I taste few worse, this year. The disappointment was bad but the cold reality of the end product should haunt those involved for a long while. IPA? 4.5% in a 330ml bottle? It seems the accountants torpedoed a truly exciting product, this could have been wonderful, instead it's embarrassing.

3/10 Thin, empty, misleading, embarrassing. A great beer destroyed by accountants.

Old Hoppy Hen 4.2% (Greene King)

When even Greene King are following the trend of hoppy pale ales you know it's gone mainstream. 

Any hope of a big hop explosion is quickly destroyed, the nose is lightly floral at best, the merest whisper of grapefruit all I could detect along with a slight buttery toffee whiff.

The opening taste is very agreeable, light malt, hints of caramel, not too dry. It's quickly followed by a very balanced bitterness with no big hop punch but a very slight fruity tingle on the tongue. The final finish hangs with a slight hop cloyiness to the tongue.

They say once Punk went mainstream it's soul was already dead, it was nothing more than a faded replica of it's former glory.

6/10 Hoppy Pale Ale for the novice, inoffensive, but unable to leave a mark for even the least demanding hophead.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Revisionist Californian Common 4.7%( Tescos Marstons)

New in Tescos, brewed for them by the brewing giant Marstons comes a remarkably exciting sounding beer! The Californian common, a style born in San Fransico by Anchor, made famous for its full flavoured but bitter Vienna lager "style". If my twitter contacts a correct this was actually brewed at the Ringwood brewery.

The nose is definitely bursting with hops, herbal to the point of smelling like grannies dried miracle cold cure. It actually smells like a fine pilsner. 

The malt colour is deceptive, anyone with hopes of caramel will quickly be set straight as the dry crisp backbone arrives and departs like a passing freight train. The malt isn't thin, it's just lacking stand out features, part of the style one might add. There is a tingling yeasty taste, I can't work out if it's the higher fermentation temperatures or the Marstons house yeast one recognises from a pint of Pedigree.

The finish is resoundingly bitter, the most abrupt stand out feature of this beer. Drinking blind I'm sure you would think this is a good quality lager.

I'm no expert on the Californian Common style having only drunk it a few times, but I feel happy this is a pretty decent stab at doing it justice on these shores.

7/10 One to try with notes on this famous style.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Dark Side (Bath Ales)

This is an outstanding 4% ABV stout, increasingly cropping up on pub taps as a default dark, most recently so by the Loungers group.

In the bottle it pours cleanly and with a fine standard head. The notes on the nose are beautiful roasted barley, literally vacuuming the senses towards taking a sip.

The sup is smooth and light. This is probably as near as you can get to a wholly session stout, familiar cloying flavours of a darker beer blended up into a dance of pitchy delicacy. Even those who don't normally drink darker beer should find they can sail through this one without too much fuss, and it could easily act as a gateway to a dark beer prevalence.

8/10 - Wonderfully crafted session stout, skilfully executed.

The Broadside

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

St Stefanus Blonde 7%

It pops open and pours with one of those delightful little Ibiza foam party heads, conjuring delicate notes of caramel and cloves.

The opening taste is unique but unnervingly familiar, it's like looking through someone else's photo albums of places you have been to. The similarities between this beer and Duvel seem obvious to start, the bottle, the aroma, but on tasting the drift away. It has a more prominent malt backbone to it, a creamy caramel, almost fudge like opening. As the sweetness subsides the spicy clove notes come through before leaving a delightful dry bitterness.

Duvel is a wonderful beer, this offers something slightly different, more mellow in aroma and strength with added caramel tones which any Belgian novice could appreciate.

8/10 One to try, not a Belgian Classic, but a thoroughly enjoyable nod to the style.

Ps it says serve at 8c. Hopefully the below gives you comfort around the lengths we go to at the bunker to give every beer it's chance

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Einstök Icelandic White Ale (Einstök Ölgerð)

Here's a fresh little wonder. Brewed in (to me) an unintelligible location in Iceland using "the purest water on earth", this sharp and snappy anaemic wonder is brewed in the Belgian 'witbier' (white beer) style.

Paler than a recently frightened vampire, I can only think of Sadler's refreshing Thin Ice and Skinner's River Cottage EPA as being equally light in colour.

Slightly chilled, it pours unfussily with no lasting head. The nose is stiffly orange, with some background spicing.

Carbonation is tiny and piquant, needly little spikes that encourage rather than detract from flavour. The flavour is fuller than the colour might suggest, orange and coriander tones with an agreeable mineral backdrop. The aftertaste is slightly chalky with a mild swing of grapefruit, but the bittering fades without much fuss and another sup is invited.

It's a pleasing 5.2% ABV beer for those after something refreshing and slightly leftfield. I can't imagine it'll be widely available but worth sniffing out if you get the chance.

8/10 - Icelandic pearl, white and tasty with sophisticated slew of successful flavours.

- The Broadside

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Bunker Rebooted

We've freshened things up with a bit of a sci-fi redesign of the Bunker, hope y'all like it.

More reviewing fun soon as we tackle the world of beer in AD2014.

Paul & Ed

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Greenwich Black IPA M&S (Meantime)

There was a time when the idea of a Black IPA in M&S would have caused grandads to choke on their shortbread, but M&S are becoming more bold with their beer range by the day.

It claims to be an Anglo-American beer, made with "7 black malts" (really are there 7 types of black malt?!) and with a 5.7% abv the anticipation of a bold beer builds.

The nose sadly is as faint as a distant heartbeat, a whisper of American pine but no resounding hoppy backlash.

The first sip is undoubtably thin, almost watery, the disappointment is tangible, no mingled "7 black malts" or "rich caramel" as proclaimed by the bottle. However, there is a recovery, what follows is confident developing of the flavour, no big chocolate or roast flavours, but a multilayered green hop taste that sticks to the tongue. The finish is not overly dry or bitter, leaving the fresh hop taste hanging as the black liquor washes away.

I'd love to love this beer, but sadly it promises far more than it delivers. It feels thin, one dimensional and mass produced. If it's your first black IPA you will enjoy it, but it's undoubtably at the basic entry end of the style.

6/10 Thin, shy and lacking the boldness required to impress. 

Monday, 19 August 2013

+++ Bunker Raid on Purbeck Folk Festival +++

The Bunker hits the road again this coming weekend, as we check out the highly rated Purbeck Folk Festival down at Wilkswood Farm in beautiful Dorset near Swanage.

I'm partial to a bit of folk, but the main attraction will be a selection of 40 real ales and (whisper it) 20 ciders. It'll be mostly local stuff from Hop Back, Purbeck, Corfe, Piddle and exciting new Hawaiian-themed brewery Sunny Republic, but we also hope to spot the odd exotic gem.

Bulletin to follow!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Viru (Tartu)

Here's an odd little beer.

Viru is an Estonian pale lager. On the pour it generates a thin fleeting head with wisps of corn on the nose.

The mouthfeel is equally thin,  and the sup veers to overly sweet malt. Negligible bitterness and an overly watery length.

Really cool octahedral bottle though, I believe based on ancient Estonian architecture. It's really the only standout feature of a rather unmemorable 5% abv beer.

4/10 - Anonymous body underneath glamourous clothing.

- The Broadside