Illusion by Moor Beer Company

Monday, 29 August 2016
Illusion by Moor Beer Company
Monday, 29 August 2016

Beer Name: Illusion

Brewer: Moor Beer Company, Bristol, England

Date Sampled: 29th August 2016

ABV: 4.5%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

This beer was recommended last time I popped in to the Leopold Tavern to stock up on interesting beers. I'd not tried anything by Moor before, in fact I hadn't heard of them, but when I discovered that they came from the same corner of England as me, I knew that I had to give them a try.

Based out of Bristol, Moor started life at a Dairy Farm on the Somerset Levels. Their website explains how after some early success and awards (and a period of contracting out their brewing), they relocated to a larger facility in Bristol and haven't looked back since.

They have a huge selection of beers on offer, all with the same distinctive and eye catching branding style. Many of these are available from their online shop if you can't get to them or find a supplier local to you.

Illusion is a Black IPA that Moor describe as sessionable due to the lighter 4.5% ABV compared to other beers of the same style. It pours deep brown, almost black, and produces a lovely cinder toffee style head.

As I have now tried a few Black IPAs I had an idea of what to expect next and I was not disappointed. It hits you in the nose with a smack of citrus hops, although on second sniff there was a definite undercurrent of liquorice bubbling away.

The taste backs up all that nose gives you, with more besides. The grapefruit tang is refreshing with the cool citrus that remains reminding me of my efforts of cold brewing coffee.

Illusion then continues to deliver, with slightly smoky toffee bringing the mouthful to a satisfying conclusion.

I found this beer to be a bit of an enigma; the first half of the taste is all IPA and screams summer time drinking, but as it transforms into something more complex I found myself picturing this being drunk on a crisp Autumnal afternoon. I almost feel I should be drinking this with shorts and flip flops bottom half, woolly jumper and hat on the top half!

It's a cracking beer and at 4.5%, it helps to prove that you don't need to compromise on flavour to produce a session ale.







Lights Out by Southsea Brewing Co.

Monday, 22 August 2016
Lights Out by Southsea Brewing Co.
Monday, 22 August 2016

Beer Name: Lights Out

Brewer: Southsea Brewing Co., Hampshire, England

Date Sampled: 22nd August 2016

ABV: 5.2%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

I popped into Southsea Brewing Co. for my first visit around a week ago (read about that here) and since then I've had four bottles of their beer sat looking at me, begging to be tried! But the combination of a busy working week and too many beers to get through (not really a problem), means that it wasn't until today that I finally got a chance to try one of them.

I know very little about Southsea Brewing Co, only that I started following them on Facebook back in October 2015 when they announced that they would be moving to a new brewery in Southsea Castle. I believe that until that point they were successfully brewing at home but due to increase in popularity they had needed to spread their wings. Since then its been fascinating to follow their journey over the various social media outlets, especially when they started to unveil products and branding. The current range includes Lights Out (Black IPA that I review below), Low Tide (Pale Ale which I will probably be tasting later this week), Casemate IPA (I'll be picking some up soon) and Searchlight (a Smoked Porter that I tasted when I went to their shop and it's a belter). They've also posted on Facebook today about a new brew coming soon, Heavy Artillery, a Double IPA coming in at 7.2%.... someone's bringing out the big guns!

So today's tasting was of Lights Out, a Black IPA which is bottle conditioned and stands at 5.2% ABV. As expected, the beer pours very dark and, with no real head to speak of, it almost resembles a glass of slightly flat cola in the glass.

Having not had a Black IPA before I was not sure what was to come next but it's an experience I'll definitely look to repeat!

The nose is all black treacle, far less delicate than the Pale Ale's that I've been drinking so much of recently. It suggests that the beer to come is going to be a bit of a brute but that is not the case.

It brings a lovely smooth mouth-feel and starts with a lovely floral hoppy flavour. But before you get comfortable with what appears to now be a tasty but simple IPA this takes a turn for the more complex as it moves towards smoked almonds before finishing with a toffee flourish.

Whilst very easy drinking, it's definitely 'beefier' than some of the beers I've been drinking lately and the aftertaste and mouth-feel after drinking was reminiscent of how a Pinot Noir might leave you. It's a great beer that is incredibly well balanced despite the complex flavours and would be a great stepping stone for people wanting to explore the world of beer beyond the currently dominant pale ales.











Salty Kiss by Magic Rock Brewing

Thursday, 18 August 2016
Salty Kiss by Magic Rock Brewing
Thursday, 18 August 2016
 
Beer Name: Salty Kiss Gooseberry Gose

Brewer: Magic Rock Brewing, Huddersfield, England

Date Sampled: 16th August 2016

ABV: 4.1%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

Well this is definitely taking my taste buds out of their comfort zone! I’ve sampled a few sour beers in my time and it’s probably telling that I haven’t gone back to any of them. But, I can’t just drink and review pale ales week in and week out (as much as I’d like to), so when I saw this bright pink offering shining in the fridge at The Leopold Tavern I thought I’d take a gamble.

Magic Rock are a brewery that seem to be riding right near the crest of the craft beer wave; whilst I haven’t seen many of their drinks in supermarkets, most of the genuine ale pubs that I’ve been in recently will have something of theirs either on the bar or in the can fridge. Their style is very distinctive and consistent amongst their entire range which makes their cans very easy to spot when peering over a bar into a crowded fridge; someone in Magic Rock’s art and marketing department is earning their hops!

So onto the Salty Kiss Gooseberry Gose, which Magic Rock describe as “A traditional German style Gose, flavoured with Fruit, Sea Buckthorn and Sea Salt.”

On cracking the tin and pouring the beer it created an impressive head, which stayed longer than expected. The initial nose did have a fruity punch to it, although the sourness was clearly present. It reminded me of sour raspberry jelly belts, the sort that makes your face pinch if you bite off too much.

When the first sip hits your tongue the impact is less dramatic, the sourness more reminiscent of a rhubarb crumble, and if I’m honest, I was then almost hoping for a custard type sweetness to develop. Sadly this wasn’t too come but, whilst the flavour did dissipate quickly, it did leave a very refreshed palate behind with no discernible after taste.

Compared to other sour beers that I have experienced I’d describe Salty Kiss as well-mannered however be warned, if disrespected and guzzled down like a session ale it will bite back, grabbing the back of your jaw the way a vintage cheddar might.

Overall I did enjoy it; not as complex as some of ales I have tasted recently but it does have a place. It would sit particularly well at a barbecue, at the point when you’ve eaten too much meat and drunk too much beer, when a cheeky cold can of Salty Kiss would act as a welcoming and refreshing palate cleanser. Maybe sour beers are back on my menu!

 















Finally a visit to Southsea Brewing Co...

Sunday, 14 August 2016
Finally a visit to Southsea Brewing Co...
Sunday, 14 August 2016
 


I finally managed to get over to Southsea Brewing Co. today and so far, I'm very impressed. Based in Southsea Castle, they are a recent addition to the Portsmouth Brewing Scene and so far seem to be doing most things right.

There branding is simplistic but very effective and they are doing well to utilise social media to get their name out there.

Whilst in the brewery today, as well as taking plenty of snaps, I was able to sample a few sips of Searchlight. This is Southsea Co.'s smoked porter, which is a style of beer that I wouldn't normally seek out. However this beer was a revelation; its a got a lovely coffee rich nose, a surprisingly light and refreshing mouth feel and a warm smokiness that is distinctive yet far from overpowering. I'll definitely be getting some bottles of that in before too long.

I did pick up a couple of bottles of Low Tide (Pale Ale) and Lights Out (Black IPA); I'll be reviewing these soon but if they're as impressive as Searchlight then Southsea Brewing Co need not be worried about establishing themselves as a brewery to be cherished.



















What a weekend...

What a weekend...


Well I'm just about recovered! I had the pleasure on Friday of being an usher and a very good friend's wedding. It was a cracking day; the sun was shining, both the ceremony and reception were in lovely venues, I was surrounded by close mates, they had an awesome live band and the beer was flowing! It was perfect.

But it wasn't just a one day affair. As is tradition (or at least as far as I'm concerned it's a tradition... and if it isn't, it should be) the best man and usher got together with the groom the night before the wedding. It was a lovely summer's evening so we fired up the barbecue and ate and drank long into the night.

I took along the selection above and other contributions included Brew Dog's Punk IPA, some Brooklyn lager and a couple of bottles of Bulleit Bourbon. I'm not going to try and review the various drinks; it wasn't that type of night. But I can confirm that every single drop tasted amazing and it served as a perfect send off.













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