American IPA, Bell’s Brewery, Inc., MI, USA, 7.00% ABV
Finally! Finally! I have my hands on the legendary Two Hearted Ale – an ale that always appears on America’s ‘best of’ beer lists. A big shout out to
@Mike_Polizzi for being generous enough to get this brew as a gift for me.
Appearance: medium, hazy amber with a head that disappears to thin lacing.
Aroma: yep – this is an IPA. Lots of floral. Lots of citrus. Some orange peel and a little grapefruit. Smells wonderful.
Taste: smooth. Very smooth. This is not what I was expecting. The pale malts lend to a doughy, biscuity, almost creamy flavour. But the medium hop bite is so smooth and so crisp that you almost forget you’re drinking an IPA. The finish is long, fruity - the orange peel is present – and a little dry. But smooth. Oh so smooth.
This is a remarkable IPA. It ticks every box but, what makes it stand out, is that the hop bite gets so wrapped up in the smoothness that I can barely notice it. It’s as if the bitterness is caressing my mouth before falling into the depths of my belly. Just remarkable.
American Pale Ale, The Schlafly Tap Room, MO, USA, 5.9% ABV
Another from Schlafly – the brewery that gave me the wonderful Pale Ale.
Aroma: wow. Yep – an American beer! Apple aromas, some mint, some pine. A little tropical. Hop resin.
Pours: light Golden haze, decent head that lasts throughout.
Taste: tart apple and pear lends some sweetness immediately with a little earthy / woody notes lingering in the background. Some pine. The finish has an abundance of hop dryness that leads to the ‘puckering’ of the mouth. Borderline IPA this. Very little grain right at the end.
Decent, quite drinkable, but nowhere near as good as the English Pale Ale.
English Pale Ale, Samuel Smith Old Brewery, UK, 5.00% ABV
One from the motherland, and, err, one I’ve never had before:
Pours: hazy amber with a 2 finger head that doesn’t disappear.
Aroma: lemon and biscuit grain. Other, softer fruits also present. Wonderful.
Taste: smooth, very smooth. Lots of malt upfront but it’s not at all powerful or overbearing – just a wonderful biscuit grain that is present throughout. The hops come in with slight bitterness, leaving little floral and herb notes. There is a fruity sweetness that is present throughout but gains strength after the hops subside. The end is grainy and a little dry. A little pepper in the finish?
I can’t believe I’ve never had this before. It’s wonderfully subtle but tasty and smooth with a little bite and very, very drinkable.
English Bitter, Ridgeway Brewing, UK, 4.4% ABV
I’ve never had this beer – I’m looking forward to it.
Appearance: amber, hazy. Very thin head.
Aroma: almost honey sweet, floral/ perfume hops. A little fruit.
Taste: smooth, gentle carbonation. Subtle hops with moderate bitterness; orange peel like. Bready malts with a dash of honey sweetness. Clean semi-dry finish. However, things seem a little off – the sweetness is almost harsh an d things all seems a bit lifeless and stale.
To be honest, I don’t think this is a fresh beer (I can’t find the best before date / created date) which makes it hard to score. Hmmm
Score: As I’m pretty sure this wasn’t a particularly fresh beer I will not score it. For now.
English Pale Ale, The Schlafly Tap Room, MO, USA, 4.4% ABV
Erm… this one is from memory as I cannot find the notes that I took down. Whoops.
The aroma was floral and slightly earthy.
Tasting notes: Floral, fruity, great biscuit malt – almost chewy. A quick, bitter finish.
It’s a real shame I haven’t got anything more written down for this beer as I thought it was an exceptional session beer – easily one of the best I’ve had in America and definitely a hint of English in it. I want some more.
American IPA, The Schlafly Tap Room, MO, USA, 4.5% ABV
Another craft session beer, it seems American brewers are finally filling the niche in the market for decent tasting lower alcohol content beers.
A very simple looking can.
Aroma: grassy, citrusy, some tropical notes. Smells remarkably similar to Bitter American by 21st Amendment Brewery. Some Pine. Fairly sweet.
Taste: hmm, quite a bit more hoppy than I was expecting – quite thick with earthy and floral characteristics mixing with the piney notes that come with an American IPA. Lemon citrus is quite prominent with ample bready malts wrapping the whole beer up. Moderate bitterness at the end – semi-dry.
Not a bad session beer at all but there are better ones on the market. It tastes very 1 dimensional with very little depth. But, as a session beer, it’s very good.
English Bitter, Coniston Brewery Co. Ltd, UK, 4.4% ABV
From the website: “Bluebird XB combines two of the great themes of ale brewing to produce something distinctive and new. The fine tradition of English Pale Ale is about quaffing, refreshment and complexity of flavour without alcoholic strength. Then throw in new wave American hop variety Mount Hood with robust citrus aromas and the result is a smooth ale with floral hints, light malt tones and a hoppy freshness.”
So there we have it – a twist on a classic; some American hops thrown into the mix.
Aroma: very, very odd. This smells like sweets / candy. Haribo like. Very weird.
Appearance: bright golden with a very impressive head.
Taste: Malty, bready , with some slight fruit, then a crisp, slightly dry finish. Very soft. Everything here is very subtle; moderate bitterness, the pale malts linger in the background, fruits present in the form of lemon and pear with a semi-sweet tea finish. Quite tart.
A decent beer but not a patch on its sibling.