Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Liberty Ale (Anchor)

First brewed back in 1975 to celebrate a certain colonial revolution, this beer has long been a mainstay of the famous brewery's range.

The nose is grassy, hints of dried herbs, reminiscent of an English style IPA. It pours a light copper with a rather assertive fizz.

The malt is relatively light, gentle biscuit notes mingle with the nearest pinch of orange fruitiness. The 5.9abv is well hidden despite this simple pale ale approach to the malt. The hops arrive in perfect balance with the malt, providing a decent stamp of bitterness but not going overboard despite it's dry hopping.

6/10 A solid English style Pale Ale, delivers but fails to shine above fierce competition.

Black Chocolate Stout (Brooklyn)

The immaculate black and gold label hints at the quality within.

It pours thick and black, with roasted chocolate notes powering above wisps of oak and coffee. The head is a light tan, not that you can see that from my rather over (and under) exposed photo.

This is 10% ABV, serious stuff. The impact of the sup is heady, sweet and of course very chocolatey, but not sickly. The consistency is a proper motor oil stout, and it comes across as an after-dinner delight for the discerning.

The texture is like a satin asp sliding over velvet. A mildly buttery midsection gives way to a rising coffee bittering which never peaks but balances out the drink immaculately.

Utterly luxurious, comprehensively delicious.

9/10 - Remarkable strong after dinner stout, blackly gorgeous.

- The Broadside

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Brodie's Prime (Hawkshead)

Billed as category breaking beer and delivered by hand from the Lake District tap room by bunker co host Paul, but the question is: What is a Premium Dark Ale?

The nose is light, hints of blackberry, a solid pinch of Cascade floralness, but a Black IPA this not.

What hits the tongue to start is a wave of dryness, that only builds in intensity as the malt unravels. A Black chocolate bitterness takes control before leading to the hops. The Bramling Cross give a fruity blackcurrent kick of bitterness at the end which leave a strong lasting impression on the beer.

7/10 A well hopped porter with some strong blackcurrent notes.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Alice Porter (Brewdog)

Brewdog allege that this "renaissance baltic porter" is the result of a 300 year old recipe. The label talks of cobblestones and swirls of mist from the Thames, as if Doctor Watson himself might order this at his local.

The dog-icon cap flips away to reveal a sweet but subdued bouquet of burnt sugar with a ping of vanilla. On the pour it's black and tumultuous in the glass, a broiling inky drink that sheds a light brown lacy head that swiftly fades to nought.

It's 6.5%abv, but the alcohol is well shielded in the sup. It's all dark chocolate and summer fruits through the length, a classic porter mix with a stylish welcoming mouthfeel. Coffee and vanilla peek through then round off with a gentle bittered finish that sports shades of dark cherry.

Brewdog strike the quality threshold yet again with this beer. Would recommend this without hesitation, although as with all of their offerings check the price before you run it through the till.

8/10 - Delicious, extremely drinkable porter with an edge of mystery. Holmes would approve.

- The Broadside

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Very Nutty Black (Thwaites)

This beer is marked "Export Strength" which is a pun for those who look at the label close enough, as the beer itself is 3.9%ABV

It's a version of Thwaites "Nutty Black", a staple in some parts of Lancashire, and this bottled version is designed to be exported to the Far East (Leeds) and even some remote areas of the Southern Hemisphere (Watford).

It's a dark mild (in fact was originally called Dark Mild) and on opening pours very pitchy indeed. The nose is slightly fruity and rather earthy but not prominent.

The sup reveals a very agreeable mild. It's not reinforced with a welt of flavours like many ales on these pages, but if you're looking for the definition of a dark session ale then in this you have found it.

It's roasty and nutty in the taste, a swimming team of malts with a firm hoppy buffer that just twists off the sweetness rather than leave it lingeringly bitter. Drying slightly on the tongue, this one could be drunk all afternoon.

7/10 - Tasty ale for those who want to veer dark but not ring down for the porter.

- The Broadside

Friday, 19 August 2011

Delirium Tremens (Brouwerij Huyghe)

Firstly, do click on the Huyghe website, the intro by MD Alain de Laet is a classic bit of webbery.

A potent and colourful little package in a stone-effect bottle, Delirium Tremens offers much potential. The label shows various trippy animal icons and there's no doubt the message is that this will KO the unwary. It was voted Best Beer in the World at the 1998 World Beer Championships in Chicago.

It's 8.5%ABV, and on cap release the air fills with notes of fruit, ripe bananas and apples. It pours a joyous pale straw colour.

The sip is a little yeasty (it uses 3 types) and a lance-like note of pineapple wanders through, although not overpoweringly so. Huyghe brewery offers quite a few fruit beers, so its easy to see where this affectation came from.

The killer for me is the spices loitering in the undergrowth. Very european and peppery, they scatter through with gay abandon as the sup grows old and warm the tongue as the vaguely bitter aftertaste rears up and dies away. It's bitter just to the point of counteracting the fruit taste and no further.

This is a strong summer party drink for the discerning. The hops themselves taste like no normal hops, and I was amazed at how drinkable such a strong beer can be.

Not best in the world for me, but exacting and classy.

8/10 - Beautifully presented summer Belgian classic.

- The Broadside

Friday, 5 August 2011

Island Oyster (Mersea Island)

And it's a quick Mersesa Island double here at the Bunker Station Two as we crack open their dark special beer, Island Oyster.

Solidly porter in colour, it's as dark as the inside of said gastropod's shell. The head is beige and foamy.

The aroma reinforces the porter credentials, heavily chocolatey with a whiff of dockside back-alley danger.

You get oats and some oysters in this pint, and the combined attack is remarkable. Neither can really be picked out as individual strains (in the case of oysters perhaps its as well), but fused with the dark sweet malts the effect is lushly tasteful. The sup continues through as a bounty of colliding porter notes, with Fuggles hops rearing mildly at the death of the taste.

This is really good BC beer, another gem from this Essex enterprise. The mouthfeel and consistency needs to be tried.

8/10 - Outstanding oyster porter from Essex, well worth trying to track down.

- The Broadside

Monday, 1 August 2011

Shropshire Lad (Wood's)

Wood's is a fine brewery located amongst the scenic hills of Shropshire.

"Lad' is their top seller, and it's a quintessential example of an English bitter, brewed with English Malts, laced with Fuggles and Goldings hops.

It pours a deep bronze with a whiff of flowers, pear and berries on the air and a thin but persistent head loiters around like a crow on a telegraph pole.

It's 5%ABV, and comes across as a textbook stiffer session brown. A rich toffee start to the sup is cajoled by the classical hop mix, swaying and rolling in perfect balance towards the gently bittered finish.

The carbonation is superbly pitched, and the aroma through the taste is a sort of twin hop cuddle which welcomes you to the glass each time.

8/10 - One can easily see why this is their best seller. Enduring quality English bitter.

- The Broadside