One of the freebies I received for attending the European Beer Bloggers Conference at the end of June was an eight bottle case of “craft beers” from Beer52.com. This is actually the second such case I’ve received; the first one being back in February. Beer52.com were one of the conference sponsors. More about sponsorship at the bottom of the article, together with various disclosures relating to this.
As before, I promised Siobhan at Beer52 that I would post a review of the beers, once I had drunk them all. So, a little later than planned here are my thoughts on the eight beers. By the way, if you fancy giving the company a try, click on the link here to their website. Then enter code BAILEYBEER10, which will get you £10 off your first box, making it £14 instead of £24 for the 8 beers, a new magazine & free delivery.
The Hop Studio Gold 4.5% - described as a “Contemporary Fine Ale”, this full flavoured beer has a base of Maris Otter Pale Malt and Caramalt, and is hopped with a mixture of Challenger hops (for bitterness) and Motueka hops for citrus and tropical fruit flavours.
Brewed at The Hop Studio in York, this contemporary pale ale is both easy drinking and refreshing, and is one of the best new bottled beers I have tasted in a long time.
The Celt Experience Golden Age Crafted Ale 4.2% - A really zesty and citrus-like, highly hopped, golden ale. The high degree of hopping is evidenced by a bitterness level of 46 IBU’s., making this a real thirst-quencher of a beer. This beer would definitely pair well with curries, or other spiced food.
Crafty Dan 13 Guns 5.5% - Daniel Thwaites’ recently launched American IPA, brewed as a salute to the original 13 states of America. Claiming to have an intense hit of hops, the beer certainly uses plenty of hops in its make up; including Centenniel, Citra, Amarillo, Apollo, Chinook and Kohatu. I believe that most, if not all of these are North American varieties.
The hops add tropical fruit aromas and taste along with bitterness, laid over a base of Pale Ale, Munich, and Caramalts, along with a touch of rye. All in all a very interesting and satisfying beer, and one I will look out for in the shops.
Founders All Day IPA – Session Ale 4.7% - I enjoyed this beer on draught, at The Brew Dock whilst in Dublin for the EBBC, and have to say it’s every bit as good in bottled form. Some might say (there’s a song three somewhere!), that 4.7% is on the strong side for a session beer, but given the high gravities of many of the new wave of American IPA’s, 4.7% is probably quite moderate.
Whatever the strength argument, this well-hopped amber ale slips down a treat, and is certainly a beer I would be happy to drink all day. "Brewed by Founders Brewing Co. of Grand Rapids, Michigan."
Brouwerij deMolen Op & Top 4.5% - described on the label as “American Biter-ish”, this is an aggressively bitter beer with a hopping rate of 42 EBU. Bottle-conditioned, with quite a yeasty-kick to add to the bitterness, I have to say this is not a beer I would actively seek out, despite its undoubted reputation.
Not undrinkable, but not especially enjoyable either, so I’m rather relieved that it comes packaged in a 33cl bottle, although the beer did grow on me after a while!
ELB (East London Brewing Company) Pale Ale 4.0% - Attractively packaged with a minimalist label. The beer is described as “A crisp, lighter ale. Hoppy but not over-powering, with a subtle bitterness. It’s a pleasant session beer.”
Unfortunately there was nothing pleasant about my bottle, as the contents were infected, with a sharp, lactic- woody taste. This beer is bottle-conditioned – need I say more!
Anarchy Brew Co. Citra Star 4.1% - A hoppy blonde beer with obvious citrus notes and flavours from the Citra hops used in its production. A nice crisp and refreshing beer, and at 4.1% just the right strength for a good session’s drinking.
Hardnott Continuum 4.0% _ Hardnott’s esoteric take on an American-style pale ale, loaded with West Coast American hops such as Cascade, Centennail, Citra and Willamette. These combine to create citrus and other fruit flavours which balance the juicy sweet malt. Again a beer brewed at the right strength for a decent session.