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.

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.