Well those good people at Beer52.com have kindly sent me another case of beers to review. Their most recent selection has seen the company cast its net further a field to encompass countries such as Spain, Sweden and even Iceland, as well as places nearer to home, such as France and Germany. It’s a real mixed case, with some really interesting beers, so without further ado, here are my thoughts on the eight beers.
Oppigårds Bryggeri – Golden Ale 5.2% - an excellent golden ale from Sweden. Pours nice and clear in the glass, with a loose foamy head. Some aroma from the Cascade hops which are added late in the boil, but these are more prevalent in the taste. Overall an excellent, refreshing beer, with a nice dry bitterness offset by the sweet juicy malt. This beer really hits the spot as far as I am concerned, but as I’m thinking of going there next year, I wonder how much a bottle costs in Sweden?
Meduz Blonde 5.0% - a pale, bottle-conditioned beer from the town of Uzès in the south of France. Top-fermented and un-pasteurised, the brewery claim Meduz beers are specially developed by their Brewmaster in the spirit of Belgian beers and those of Northern France.
Pleasant enough, with some notes of citrus and fresh fruit to add interest to the typically northern French style of this beer.
RedWillow Brewery Wreckless Pale Ale 4.8% - nicely presented, light-amber coloured, pale ale, from Macclesfield-based RedWillow. Well-balanced with citrus and other fruit aromas from the Amarillo and Citra hops used in the brew, and these find their way into the taste of the beer in the glass.
An excellent beer; bitter but without being over-powering and with just the right balance between the malt and hops.
Belhaven Brewery Scottish Oat Stout 7.0% - deep, dark and intense, according to the label, and the brewery is right. With intense roasted coffee and dark chocolate notes, this complex beer is ideal for enjoying on a cold autumn evening. The mash includes roasted barley, oats, plus three types of malt, to produce a multi-layered, silky-smooth beer, which is very enjoyable.
A turn-up for the books here. Belhaven are brewing giant, Greene King’s Scottish subsidiary, better known for their range of easy drinking, Scottish-style pale ales, than this complex and intense beer; but full marks for coming up with this one. Definitely a beer worthy of wider distribution.
Freigeist Bierkultur Abraxxxas 6.0% a surprisingly good modern interpretation of an old German beer style, known as “Lichtenhainer Weiße”, a smoked sour, wheat beer.
Cloudy, as one would expect from a wheat beer, with hints of smokiness lurking behind the tartness. Surprisingly refreshing, with nothing to suggest this is a six percent beer. Brewed by an off-shoot of Cologne’s experimental brewery, Braustelle, whose mission is to “break the chains of industrial brewing by reviving and updating Germany’s unique and historical beer styles.” They’ve certainly succeeded with this one!
Einstök Icelandic Toasted Porter 6.0% - a first for me, a beer from Iceland! The Einstök Brewery is situated just 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle and uses what the brewery describe as some of the purest water on earth to brew this beer.
A real winner, as far as I am concerned; jet black in colour, rich, thick and velvety smooth. Roast notes combine with toffee and rich dark chocolate, to make this excellent bottle-conditioned porter dangerously drinkable.
Barcelona Beer Company Cerdos Voladores 6.0% - described as the company’s rowdiest and most likeable craft beer, this amber coloured pale ale, certainly packs in the hops. Bitter, but with plenty of juicy malt to balance, a beer to enjoy with food, or in the company of friends.
It certainly does what it says on the tin; or should that be bottle! I'm off to Barcelona at the end of the month, so I'll be keeping an eye out for this brewery and its beers.
Panda Frog Project Ascendancy 7.4% - brewed by the “experimental arm” of Mordue Brewery, and billed as a Belgian Double IPA – Weizen Hybrid, this beer is probably a touch too experimental for my liking!
Pours with virtually no head, and with surprisingly little condition either. This is all the more puzzling, seeing as it is a bottle-conditioned beer Hops are certainly to the fore; both in the aroma and the taste, and there is an underlying tone of fruity sourness. My thoughts are that someone is trying to be just that little bit too clever, and it hasn’t worked; certainly not for me.
It was good to try the beer, and it’s certainly not bad enough to pour away or anything, but one is definitely enough!
With over 16,000 members, Beer52.com is now the world's largest and fastest-growing craft beer community, offering members, each month, a range of different, carefully-selected, small-batch beers from around the world. If you fancy giving the company a try, click on the link here to their website, then enter code BAILEY10. This will get you £10 off your first box, making it £14 instead of £24 for the 8 beers. You will also receive free delivery, plus a copy of the company's new craft beer magazine, 'Ferment'. This 24-page magazine is packed with interesting and informative articles about craft-beer, as well as containing background information about the beers in your case.
Disclosure: This is the third case of beers I have received from Beer52.com. Like previous reviews I've conducted, this latest one is completely impartial and reflects my true and measured opinions on each of the eight beers sampled.