Friday, 1 May 2015

Bunker Summit no. 8

The riders and runners

Ah, summer waved her comely tresses and shook gentle sunshine on Dorset this week. Time for a summit!

The usual format applied, three participants (Ed, Glenn, me) bringing four mystery ales apiece, which are divided into thirds and consumed with much pondering, not a little musing and occasionally some note taking.

The first round was held in Bunker Station One's fortified garden, a fine stretch of establish grass and flora, which houses the radar station and long-neglected anti aircraft battery, before the descending temperature and waning light drove the party to amble indoors.

Here's how the candidates went down:

1. Deuchars IPA (Caledonian) 4.4%
Fairly solid starting gambit for the night. We 'can't fault the malt', and there's a little whoosh of hops but it's more a standard bitter than an IPA. Sticky mouthfeel, with a slight electrolysis carbonation tingle. 6/10 

2. Marks & Spencer Single Variety Hop Citra IPA (Oakham) 4.9% 
Absolutely delicious, a single hopped high-class wonder from M&S. Classic grapefruit Citra nose, a slightly oily mouthfeel but a drink purpose-built for summer evenings. The usually uncannily accurate Ed had this as a Galaxy hopped Partizan Saison, but he's banked so many exact tasting identifications he's still in credit. Easily an 8/10 

3. Twin Lakes Greenville Pale Ale (Twin Lakes Brewing Company) 5.2% 
 Wow! Heart-stoppingly lovely. A grand orange hop character, fresh and zingy. This is as good as a standard pale ale can be. Delivered in a can, recieved in adulation. The evening's gold medal winner by a trot. 9/10

4. Avalanche (Fyne Ales) 4.5%
A soapy and rarely seen little golden number. Offers a little bit of malt, hops and bitterness. A biscuity backdrop gives this one a gentle landscape of taste without being overly exciting. Ed described it as the "opening batsman" of the ale world, you'd sink one easily before moving onto other big-hitting event beers. 7/10 

5. Black Rocks (Buxton) 6.0% 
And so the inevitable evening ABV increase. This is a fine black IPA, blackcurrant aroma, softly carbonated with a slightly oily mouthfeel. Smooth with a big hop signature, it's stiff alcohol content is delivered gently and across the length. 7/10 

6. Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser Aventinus (Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn) 8.2% 
Ed dangerously raises stakes in the ABV hot war by unleashing this +8% Weizen Bock (dark wheat beer). Appreciated by other drinkers, it wasn't for us - wheaty and idiosyncratic but a little meh in profile, without any particularly exciting dimensions. 6/10  

7. Blacksmiths Ale (Coniston) 5.0%
Glenn reintroduces some sanity to proceedings with a fine wintery 5% ale. A textbook bold bitter, not very sessiony but as English as Bullseye repeats or wondering about the weather at the weekend. 7/10

 Food! Homebrew boiled ham, cheeses, chutneys and homemade bread

8. Scarlet Fever (Wild Beer Co.) 4.8% 
A new wave beer by the inventive Wild Beer chaps. I'm looking forward to trying the Put it in Your Pipe porter, but this effort didn't really impress us. Blunt in taste, a mulchy malt blink is followed by a watery length and gripey bitter finish, sour berries and grubby jam.  4/10 

9. Leffe 9° (InBev Belgium) 9.0% 
Ed continues to try and smash our heads in with a 9% top-fermented monster from Belgium. A fleetingly agreeable sweet big Belgian yeast hit is followed by a tailpipe of unfettered alcohol aggression, seemingly without any covering flavours to rein it in. A small-sipping ale, it's too primal to engage the drinker and unenjoyable in this company. For some reason it reminded Ed of 'having the norovirus', the reason for which we never got to the bottom of. 3/10  

10. Organic Porter (Black Isle) 4.8% 
Glenn whips out his final offering of the night, a tidy sweet and malty porter. Standard porter coffee notes on the exit, its rather agreeable and you'd certainly not turn it down over a game of chess in a high backed leather chair of a night. 7/10

11. Redwillow Smokeless (Redwillow) 5.7% 
My final gambit of the night, and a black beauty of a smoked porter. Velvety and gentle despite a moderately high ABV, this porter is furnished with chipotle chillis to add an agreeable and risque suggestion of heat. Chocolate and dark fruit weavings draw this ale together very nicely.  8/10 

12. XXXX Porter (Ringwood) 4.7% 
The final ale is inevitably a porter again, and its the Bunker local brewery Ringwood's XXXX. Who knows what the four Xs stand for, perhaps the head brewer was particularly sweary the day he created it. Stable berry notes jive along with the standard roast and coffee porter threads, a quality product despite this bottle being noted as three years past best before date on the reveal. 7/10 

- Twin Lakes Greenville Pale Ale (Twin Lakes Brewing Company)

Silver Medal - two way tie! 
- Redwillow Smokeless (Redwillow)
- Marks & Spencer Single Variety Hop Citra IPA (Oakham)

Bronze Medal - three way tie!
- Black Rocks (Buxton) 
- XXXX Porter (Ringwood)
- Blacksmiths Ale (Coniston)

- The Broadside


  1. Well, I do like your Summits, they are most illuminating!

    Also, I respect your ability to get so much information about the beers in such a short space. Your brevity is to be lauded most highly (not that I don't enjoy your longer reviews).

    I must now seek out some Redwillow Smoked...

  2. Thankyou Consensus, praise indeed! The Smokeless is a fine and tasty beer, you won't regret the hunt.

  3. Ps must figure out where my avatar went.