Halloween Special Part One

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Following on from my review of Pumpkin Ales, the other fashion at this time of year is for beers featuring 'spooky' labels. The choice is huge, with no real rules in evidence in terms of what sort of beers can be placed into monstrous packaging.

Featuring in this two part roundup are a selection of beers purchased from Beer Gonzo as well as some grabbed from local supermarkets.

Beer Name: Nightmare on Bold Street

Brewer: Mad Hatter Brewing Company, Liverpool, England

Date Sampled:  30th October 2016

ABV: 5.3%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

This Milk Stout from Mad Hatter is very very good. It's pour is everything you'd expect from such a beer; jet black, thick and with a mocha coloured head.

It has a wonderful nose with coffee being the dominant feature, supported by notes of vanilla and hints of nut; it's like smelling a warm slice of coffee walnut cake with a scoop of ice cream!

It has a beautifully smooth mouthful which you'd be forgiven for describing as luxurious.

On tasting this beer is an absolute belter. The coffee from the nose carries through strongly, although this time with a roasted depth to it. Then the sweetness comes through, which along with the chocolate pushing in has you feeling like you're drinking a posh mocha topped with marsh mallow. Then just as the sweetness threatens to be too much, a cacao bitterness finishes everything off.

There will be some who find this too sweet but I personally loved it and thought it was beautifully balanced and that it delivered on a lot of levels. It's another great stout.

Beer Name: Lil Devil

Brewer: Alesmith Brewing Company, California, USA

Date Sampled: 30th October 2016

ABV: 5.75%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

Lil Devil is a Belgian Style Pale Ale from San Diego brewer Alesmith. In the glass it's a slightly cloudy amber colour with very little head; it almost looks like a glass of wine!

It's nose is hoppy, yeasty with a hint of coriander and the mouth feel, despite being thin bodied, is pleasing with a nice level of carbonation.

From the nose I wasn't super excited about this beer but it's actually pretty easy drinking. The coriander from the nose is still present but is far from overpowering. Instead the combination of citrus zest and banana bread offer an interesting and appealing flavour profile.

This style of beer will never be my favourite but Lil Devil is actually very easy drinking and if I saw this out and wanted a break from my usual choices I'd definitely give it another go.

Beer Name: Green Daemon

Brewer: Hopdaemom Brewery, Newnham, Kent, UK

Date Sampled:  30th October 2016

ABV: 5%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

As expected from a Kentish brewery, this Helles beer from Hopdeamon is clearly jam packed with hops.

It has a very traditional look, clear golden amber with a small white head. The nose is floral hops, tropical fruits and grassy sweetness and the mouth feel is medium bodied with a nice level of carbonation.

I will stress that this is not the most exciting beer that I've tried (some of the stuff on the market place right now is phenomenal) but what it does represent is a traditional English style ale done very well. The floral hoppiness from the nose is the dominant flavour, with subtle hints of tropical fruits followed by a satisfying bitter finish.

It's not the sort of beer I'm going to rush out to buy again but it is definitely sessionable, even at 5%, and has got me interested in what else Hopdaemon offers.

More Halloween beers to follow soon....

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