Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Leffe Radieuse - Watch out for Red Heads

I'm a bit of a fan of Leffe beers. Perhaps it's because I have a soft spot for them as the Blonde was one of the first decent beers I had. I had tried the Blonde, as I say, and the Bruin so when I spotted this I decided to try it out.
This is a nice smooth beer with a mild taste but full of body. Does that make sense? I has a sweet taste that might be a bit cloying after a few. Mind you at 8.2% alcohol you wouldn't drink to many anyway. It's a nice beer, I have to say, but some of the spiciness you get in the others is lost in this or maybe it just wasn't added.
The Verdict
A tasty beer. try it if you like the rest of the Leffe beers.
Leffe Radieuse - 33cl - 8.2% alchohol - Belgium

Monday, 29 September 2008

Chimay Triple (Blanc)

I had already tried the Red and the Blue from Chimay and so far had preferred the blue. I knew I would be in for a treat with the White and i wasn't disappointed. Well, not to much anyway.
The first thing you notice is the smooth, silky texture of the beer. Next thing I noticed was the alcohol. At 8% it is relatively high and to my palate is slightly, just slightly, over powering. the flavours I got were big, strong, citrusy and tasty. This was quite sweet too, which helped to bring all the tastes together. Nice rich colour too.
This is a good beer. No doubt.
But I'm not sure that it's my favourite. The whole effect was a bit too over powering for me. Perhaps it's my beginners palate but I think I prefer the Blue.
Mind you, I guess that's why there's a choice of Chimays. Everyone has their own favourite.
The Verdict.
A great beer. Do i prefer the Blue? I might have to do some more research.......
Chimay Triple (White, Blanc, Blanche) - 33cl - 8% alcohol - Belgium

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Wychwood Fiddler's Elbow

They say that anticipation of anything is almost as good as the real thing and certainly, I had been looking forward to finding another beer from Wychwood.

I had really enjoyed the Hobgoblin from the same brewery so when I spotted this I immediately put it in my shopping basket.

This has a milder flavour than the Hobgoblin and is almost as good. It has a fruity taste, apple & pear maybe, with a good flavour of hops. It also comes across as a little bitter and sweet combined, getting sweeter as you get nearer the end with a tiny hint of something spicy. Although it had a good head it seemed to get a little flat towards the end but that's being a little to critical maybe.

The Verdict.

A nice refreshing beer, a little lighter than Hobgoblin but very good but would probably choose Hobgoblin before it.

Wychwood Fiddler's Elbow - 50cl - 5.2% alcohol - England

Home Brew 9

I finally bottled my beer this week.

My first ever batch!

It seemed to have stopped fermenting even though the SG was a bit high at 1.018. I took some advice from the guys at Irish Craft Brewer and decided to bottle anyway. the colour and smell were much more intense than I thought they would be but it certainly resembled beer. As per the instructions, I added 90 grams of sugar dissolved in a little boiled water, which I let cool.

I had sterilised the bottles and equipment so next I rinsed the bottles well. I used a stash of brown Grolsch flip-top bottles that I had kept from a different life a few years back.

The bottling went well and quickly and I soon had twenty-two 45cl bottles of Brewferm Grand Cru ready for conditioning. I had a little left over so I put it into a green Grolsch to keep it separate. (For some reason green export bottles are 50cl and brown domestic are 45cl) Hopefully I will try this in a week or so to see what it's like. Brewferm recommend letting the brew condition for 6-8 weeks before tasting. I'm not a patient man.....

I will look at the The Homebrew Company website over the weekend and see what I want to try next. Might get two more kits under my belt before I try and extract or similar.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Coopers Best Extra Stout, Something's Burning.....

This is my third Coopers Beer and I've given mixed reviews on them. I discussed Stout vs Porter here and I think this compounds the thoughts I had there.
Best Extra Stout conjures up a strong, full flavoured beer with plenty of body but this fell short of the mark. Its a fine beer I guess but it's nothing special. The taste was burnt, and not in a nice way. It reminded me of something but I can't place it. I could also taste the alcohol and a bitterness, which wasn't balanced with the flavour, which was a bit bland.
I've just figured what the burnt taste is. Burnt bananas!
The Verdict
It's an ok beer but nothing special.
Coopers Best Extra Stout - 37.5cl - 6.3% alcohol - Australia

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Home Brew 8

The saga continues....
I transferred my beer into a fresh container on Saturday. I had checked the SG and it wasn't ready for bottling. It was still fermenting yesterday but seems to be stopped today so will check it AGAIN tomorrow. 
Fingers crossed.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, but a little sweety at heart.

My last try of Scottish Beer seemed a bit like unfinished business so when I saw this I thought it might be worth exploring our Caledonian friends' beers again.
And boy, am I glad I did!
Let's face it the bottle is appealing anyway with a cross wee mouse staring out at you and words such as 'Craft Brewed', 'Spicy', 'Aromatic' and 'Zesty' jumping off the bottle. I had been caught out by clever marketing before so I opened it with a bit of trepidation.
One sniff told me I would like it.
It poured out with a lovely fine head and a paler colour than I thought it would have, but then again it says it's a blond beer on the label. I had also read that it uses less CO2 than normal bottle production but I wasn't prepared for the fantastic smooth, almost cask beer,texture it had. Not that I've had loads of cask beer yet mind!
Then the taste. Well it's hard to do it justice but I'll try. There's a spiciness there of maybe cinnamon or clove as well as a full flavoured, seriously hoppy taste. I got a citrus taste too, perhaps not lemon more like lime? The taste is both bitter and sweet if that makes ANY sense, kind of bitter to start and a sweetness after. This beer has a lot going on and is certainly one of the best I have had. More correctly, I suppose, it's one that really suits my palate. I can't get over how smooth it is for a bottle......
The Verdict
Wow, this is the business. I will have to talk nice to the guys in The Wine Centre in Kilkenny and see if they can get in some of the others in the range. I checked the brewery website and they all sound good.
Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted - 50cl - 4.2% alcohol - Scotland

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Sierra Nevada Porter, a 'flimsy' stout?

My Word thesauras defines 'stout' as being (in the sturdy meaning) strong, solid, substantial, tough, robust and heavy-duty.The opposite, of course, being flimsy.

The reason I looked it up was to get my head around stout and porter. I read somewhere that stout came from 'extra stout porter' so I presume that the discriptive of stout on a beer means it will be a stronger, more solid, more substantial, tougher, more robust and heavier-duty version of porter. Consequientialy, if you've grown up on stout then porter is a flimsy stout. QED.


Ok it's not that simple but if my theory is right then that's a good way of getting your head around it.

Sierra Nevada Porter jumped off the shelf with it's retro label, Celtic knot effect and bright blue label. I presume it's a case of 'If it ain't broke don't fix it!' Clearly these are people who don't spend masses on marketing therefore the beer must be good.

And by golly it wasn't bad. It tasted like, well light stout? I got a nice roast coffee bitterness, not espresso coffee maybe more like a french roast. This was a tasty beer, light as I say but not watery at all just full of falvour. I thought of all those people who say that they can't drink stout when the weather is too warm (which smacks of lack of perseverance in my opinion) and thought, hey, they could drink this. It's a warm weather stout.

The Verdict.

Good stuff alright. Won't blow your mind but it won't disappoint.

Sierra Nevada Porter - 12fl. oz.! - 5.6% alcohol.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Chimay Red

Having tried the Blue a couple of weeks ago I felt it only fair I give the others a shot.

This was good too but not as good as the Blue. It was a touch smoother but lacked that nice bite the other had.

But, hey, it's a good beer and worth drinking. It has a full flavour, a bit of spiciness and bitterness too. It's just if I had the choice it would be the Blue......for now.

The Verdict.

A very good beer but superseded by it's colleague. Roll on the White!

Chimay Red - 33cl - 7% alcohol

Samuel Adams Summer Ale

I was rooting through my stash of bottles to see if I had something that might cure my cold when I spotted this one lurking in the back of the fridge. I had come across it in the local about a week ago. I know summer is long gone, in fact I don't think it ever came, but I had good success with the other Sam Adams beer here and here so I thought I'd purchase.

This is a wheat beer with added lemon zest and Grains of Paradise, or so the blurb says. It didn't seem to be a true wheat beer to my cold-affected, novice palate. More like a blend with something else, I'm not sure. A nice amount of alcohol too mind.

It was good though, nicely zesty as you would expect and maybe the added Vitamin C will help my cold. It had a slight spicy taste in their too but not over powering. This is a nice well made beer with appeal all year round, not just for summer so keep your eyes peeled.

The Verdict.

I easy drink beer for the summer with a feel good factor. Good stuff.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale - 35.5cl - 5.6% alcohol

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Guinness Foreign Extra

Ok, I can hear the groaning from here. 'Why is talking about Guinness, sure that's shockin' stuff.' But fair is fair, I'm willing to give most things a shot. Anyway, this isn't Guinness it's Guinness Foreign Extra!
I have to say I liked it. I didn't put it in the fridge, which probably helped and the fact that I drink/drank Guinness in the pub(and Miller at home. Not any more!) so I could appreciate the difference.
This was smooth, really smooth with a nice big bite. Not too smokey and just a bit bitter. Maybe it's because I thought it might be a bit crap as I had become disillusioned with keg Guinness in pubs, I'm not sure. 
The Verdict
Surprisingly good?!
Guinness Foreign Extra - 33cl - 7.5% alcohol

Beer Cure for a Cold?

I've Googled this but got nothing decent. Does anyone know any cures for a cold that involve beer?
If you can have hot whiskey, port, brandy, etc. then can you do the same with beer?
If so, then what beer would be best?
I don't want to waste beer by experimenting.
I need a cure.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Whitstable Bay

I usually run a mile from organic products. In general, in my experience, organic products can be expensive, overrated and disappointing. This offering from Sheperd Neame jumped out of the cooler at me. Well not literally, but you know what I mean. Orange label and orangish contents can't be missed.
But this was ok really. Nice citrusy taste, good colour and a slightly bitter aftertaste that helped not hindered it's drinkability. It's a good light summer drink and i have nothing bad to say about it.
I might change my mind about organics!
The Verdict:
Nice, fruity summer drink. If you have to drink organic then give it a shot.
Whitstable Bay Organic Ale - 50cl - 4.5% alcohol

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Maredsous Blonde 6

Ok, so this looked interesting. A Belgian abbey beer I had not heard of (that would not be hard!) that seemed strangely familiar.
I'm to sure what to say about this one as it was ok but didn't blow me away. Sure it was easy to drink but it seemed to lack a bit of bite. Oh well, just a mild flavoured wishy-washy beer. I popped the bottle up on a shelf and spotted why it looked familiar. It's the same bottle as Duvel.
Closer inspection revealed Duvel being mentioned on the label.
Note to self: Must Google connection.............some time.
It's ok but nothing special. I guess if you have no other options I'd have it. Will check out the others in the range.
Maredsous Blonde 6 - 33cl - 6% alcohol

Monday, 15 September 2008

Septemberfest 2008

This was my first beer festival of any kind, don’t forget I’m a beginner, so we arrived quite early. Well, at 11 am actually! I had encouraged two mates along, let’s call them Beer Goggles and Beer Mat. Beer Goggles would join us later so Beer Mat and I forged ahead. The weather was great and after chatting to the donkeys on the way up we headed towards the marquee. Brewers were still setting up so we went for a wander over to the house and came back after a half hour or so. There were a few more people around and we watched carefully so as not to get the procedure or etiquette wrong and show ourselves up as newbies. We got our glasses and took the plunge.
First went to Whitewater brewery. I had cask Clotworthy Dobbin, a red ale style of beer, after seeing it recommended somewhere while Beer Mat had the Belfast Lager. I took a big gulp and wow! It was fine, fresh and fruity with a hint of something else. Maybe butterscotch? The other difference of course was the gassiness, because it was from a cask you get fine, light bubbles that tickle the palate and don’t scrape your throat. One word, superb.
Beer Mat’s lager was good too with a sharp clean taste. It tasted really hoppy to me and not too bitter. As a lager drinker he enjoyed it
Next we moved on to Beál Bán from Beoir Corca Dhuibhne. It’s a cask conditioned pale ale from two pubs in Kerry who wanted to offer their customers something different. Now it was probably unfair to have this after the Clotworthy Dobbin but something had to come next. It looked pretty good with a cloudy, orange colour accentuated by the midday sun. First taste was refreshing and easy to drink. Beer Mat commented that it reminded him of a Weisse beer and I know what he meant. Mine seemed quite carbonated for a cask beer while Beer Mats seemed less gassy. It had a slightly watery quality which did not appeal to me and a strange chemically after taste. I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed but both Beer Mat and I both came to the conclusion it would be better with food.
We decided to take a break while we waited for Beer Goggles, the other beer beginner in our group, to arrive. We checked out the food on offer from the stands located conveniently close by. As well as two coffee stands there were people selling, sweet and savoury crepes, hotdogs, burgers and steak sandwiches among other things. We grabbed a couple of posh hotdogs and wandered back towards the picnic benches in front of the beer marquee commenting on what we thought a beer expert (anorak?) would look like as we scanned the ever growing crowds. I came up with the following list.
Beard, Glasses, Long shorts, Receding hairline, Scruffy appearance, Slightly chubby, Note book, Camera.
I thought this an amusing list until Beer Mat pointed out the fact that I ticked all of these boxes. I quickly shut up after that.
Beer Goggles arrived as we were finishing or food and we quickly headed back into the marquee as he was keen to catch up on lost time.
I had a hankering to try a stout and seeing as I was very familiar with O’Hara’s from my home town I went to Messrs Maguire stand and immediately spotted Imperial Stout on cask so it seemed the natural choice. I could get the smokey smell before I even got my nose near the glass. Sooty, thick, full of flavour with little bitterness. This is how a stout should be. ‘It’s like smokey bacon’ said Beer Mat and I could see where he was coming from. I even got a slight sweet after taste. Superb. If only I could get it at home……
Beer Goggles tried the plain from the same brewers and it was equally good. Just smoother and creamier with less smokiness.
Beer Mat had gone to the other end of the marquee and returned with a Temple Brau from The Porterhouse. He gave me a sip and I put it on my list to try later. It was refreshing with maybe a fudgy taste? Maybe that was just after the Imperial.
Hilden Brewey was next up to the plate and I liked the look and sound of the Headless dog . It was also a headless beer but maybe that’s the joke? I hope it was anyway. I have to say that this was very disappointing. As Beer Goggles said, it tasted of nothing much but after taste of……..well we weren’t sure. It had a watered down taste and just seemed pointless when there was so much nicer around. Maybe it was just lost on our undereducated palates.
Next up was Galway Hooker and make no mistake this was good. The words well crafted seem to spring to mind as it was balanced, mild and tasty. A bit like a good English bitter thought Beer Goggles. A fresh tasting beer like this is something you could deal with all night. I placed it in the back of my mind for further recall when I go to Galway in October.
We decided we needed a break again so we went for another bite. After grabbing a Steak burger and a crepe for vegetarian Beer Goggles, we wandered through the food market and I tried a chili jam among other things. I picked up a few ingredients for another love in my life, eating.
I hit The Fransican Well Brewery next and seeing how I am partial to blondes I tried their Blarney one. It was ok but nothing special a bit watery and lacking bite, taste and depth. Beer Mat had the Rebel Red but fared no better. It was tastier but again just ok. I began to wonder had the Chili affected by taste buds severely.
The Kinsale Lager stand seemed busy enough so I decided it should be the next port of call. This I liked. It had a delicate flavour and was slightly sour but this seemed to suit it. Nothing special I guess but again if it’s a choice of this or some of the other offerings here today well….
I guess I hadn’t noticed the crowd but Beer Goggles pointed out that there seemed to be more women here than men. He was right of course, and lots of kids too. I occurred to me that this wasn’t the day I thought it was going to be. I didn’t spot too many beer geeks apart from us. It seemed to be a family or even a girly thing. It was better, smarter with more of a buzz than I had hoped. I suddenly realised I was enjoying it.
I went back to Messers Maguire to try the Pils and I wasn’t disappointed. I had thought it might be a bit watery but no, it was soild with a nice full flavoured taste. Lovely fine bubbles and a great colour. Nice one. Messers Maguire didn’t let me down all day.
Beer Goggles went to Whitewater for the red ale and declared it very good. It was fruity and tasty but lacked length. Beer Goggles is a wine buff so perhaps has better language than me.
Time was pushing on and so was my stamina and internal alcohol meter so I knew I would only manage one more glass. I remembered the Temple Brau that Beer Mat had earlier. I thought this would be a perfect end to the day. I was right. It had a cleansing quality, a pureness of taste I hadn’t had before. It had that fudgy, hoppy taste I got earlier. It had been a good choice.
I went to Whitewater to pick up a couple of bottles of each of their beers but all they had left was the lager. Disaster. The only saving grace was that they say their beer will be available down south by the middle of the month. I picked up an Irish Ale from Hilden to give them another chance. Messrs had nothing for sale but they did give me a bottle of Bock free of charge! Although he did warn be the gas might not be right in it. More about those when I taste them.
I guess that’s it really. We had an eye opening day and even flirted with the idea of coming back up on the Sunday. A late bus and missing our train by 2 minutes put that idea out of our heads.
Roll on the next one. Galway?

It's just occurred to me that because I didn't try O'Hara's from my home town you might think I don't rate it. I do. I will do the others soon too.

Friday, 12 September 2008

O'Hara's Celebration Stout

After trying beers from many far flung places I decided I better try something closer to home. Up the road in fact. This is brewed in my home town...or at least I hope it is. I think they farmed out some of their brewing elsewhere.
It would be nice to say that a great brew was born in my home town....and I can!
In my somewhat biased opinion this is great stuff. It has a wonderful bitterness and sooty flavour that reminds me of the back draft down a chimney on a winter night. A strange analogy perhaps but the best I can come up with. I know I have criticised bitterness before but with this it just seems right. Balanced, measured, perfect.
I think I got the temperature right too. this is one of the problems with Guinness in pubs, that Extra Cold lark killed it.
Would I buy it again?
O'Hara's Celebration Stout - 75cl - 6% alcohol

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Coopers Original Pale Ale

I got this even though I wasn't to impressed with the Sparkling Ale from Coopers. 
I was glad I did, this was a tasty beer. It was a nice, smooth ale. Maybe nothing about it blew me away but it's certainly high on my list of beers tried so far.
Would I buy it again?
Yes, probably.
Coopers Original Pale Ale - 37.5cl - 4.5% alcohol
Available from Superquinn and O'Brien's I think.

Affligem Blond

I was attracted to this by my liking of Leffe Blonde. Again it was in my local Superquinn that had it and I liked the look and the description on the bottle. This would be good.
I poured it carefully as suggested on the bottle and toke a gulp. It was ok, but only ok. I tried again and really all I got was a watery Belgian beer. Maybe watery is the wrong word but it certainly lacked a bit of taste and bite. Most disappointing. Maybe I should have shook it......
Would I buy it again?
No. Unless some can tell me that I just got a dud one.
Affligem Blond - 33cl - 6.8% alcohol
Available from Superquinn

Sapporo Premium Lager

After my experience with Schofferhofer I thought I'd check out what Aldi had to offer. Most of their beer was in six-packs or cans but they had a couple in bottles.
I picked up a bottle of Sapporo and another one or two. I wasn't expecting much from this as I spotted on the bottle when I got home 'Brewed in the EU'. It didn't say where exactly. Should I assume Germany or close by because Aldi have it?
Anyway, it turned out to be ok if nothing special. It was certainly better than a lot of the major beers out there, good thirst quencher with a slightly sweet taste.
Would I buy it again?
Yes. If I was stuck.
Sapporo - 33cl - 4.7% alcohol
Available from Aldi

Kronenbourg Blanc

Spotted this in the supermarket and fancied the look of it. Nice bottle, nice style and even though I have had mediocre experience of French beer I said I'd give it try.
This looked good and smelled good from the start. A nice warm, hazy colour and sweet, fruity smell. The taste was quite good too. Nice sweet, citrus flavour with no bitter after taste. I checked the bottle and found it was a mix of wheat and barley. Is that the norm for a wheat beer? Anyway, it certainly hit the spot. At last a French beer I liked. Then I read the bottle again..
It's brewed by Scottish & Newcastle. It's strictly speaking a British beer so I'm still looking for a good French one. I wonder is the French one better? If it is then it would be fantastic.
Would I buy it again?
Yes and I'd like to try the French one too!
Kronenbourg Blanc - 50cl - 5% alcohol
Available from Superquinn and O'Brien's I think.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Home Brew 7

As a virgin home brewer I didn't really know what was going to happen with my brew. I certainly didn't think it would stop fermenting and then start again as appears to be the case. Looks like the bottling might have to wait until the weekend. At this rate I won't be drinking it 'til Christmas.

On the plus side, I'm getting a wonderful aroma each time it burps. Hmmmmm, I wonder has anyone come up with a way of sending smell over the net?

On seconds thoughts that might be a bad idea.

Hahn Premium Lager

This is one I had a while back but all my notes say are:

'Poor, tasteless and sour'

Maybe that's enough to say.....
Would I buy it again?
No way.
Hahn Premium Lager - 33cl - 5% alcohol
Available from Superquinn.

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

After the Boston Ale from the same brewery I was hoping that their Lager would be equally as good. Pouring it into the glass it all looked promising as the colour was nice and dark, for a lager.

Then came the tasting and, ye, it's good. In a strange way it didn't seem like a lager at all, maybe more like a mild, sour ale. Mind you this could be my novice mind and taste buds talking. Still, even the bubbles seemed fine and more ale like. Does that make sense?

Anyway, it's a good one. Nice smooth taste with just a bit of bitterness to let you know that your drinking it.

Would I buy it again?

Yes, definitely. Would be good for encouraging Bud and Miller, etc. drinkers to try something new.

Samuel Adams Boston Lager - 35.5cl - 4.8% alcohol

Available from supermarkets and others.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Fuller's ESB

I was a bit wary about this one after my run in with London Pride. I had bought it at the same time and I wasn't holding out much hope.

Well guess what? I was wrong, it's really very good.

It's got a fantastic full, slightly sweet taste that's really, really moreish. Mind you at 5.9% so you'd better be careful. It's not to gassy either.
Just perfect for Sunday afternoon.

Would I buy it again?

Yes and it as restored my faith in Fuller.

Fuller's ESB - 50cl - 5.9% alcohol

Available from Superquinn among others.

Home Brew 6

My brew had stopped bubbling, or so I thought so I decided to see if it was ready for bottling. I checked the gravity which read 1.02. It's meant to be 1.01 so it looks like I'll have to wait a little longer. Nearly there.

Leffe Blonde

This is another beer that I sampled first when I knew I was going to Belgium. At the moment it seems to be everywhere. No doubt thanks to the good people at InBev, god bless them one and all.
As I mentioned when I reviewed Leffe Bruin, there seems to be a bit of snobbery about Leffe in some circles but it's still one of my favourites. It's like a lighter version of the Bruin so I think that the herby-spicy-fruity taste comes out better. It's a tasty beer that I think would be a good starter beer for a novice. It was for me anyway.
Would I buy it again?
Yes, I always have a stock of it to help convert the pagans.
Leffe Blonde - 33cl - 6.6% alcohol
Available everywhere!

Kriek Boon 2006

This is another one I tried in Brussels. We had it on tap at the start of a good night so when I spotted it in Kilkenny in a bottle I thought I'd get it for Mrs Beer Novice. Not that it's a lady's drink mind, I just thought she might like it. I was right.
This is a blend of Lambic beers with cherries added during the brewing process. I visited a brewery where they make a similar beer while in Belgium, about which I'll blog another time. It's certainly an unusual process.
I managed to get a taste by prying it from the hands of Mrs BN and I must admit, it was really good. It wasn't to sweet and cloying just a nice tasty drink, Ideal as a summer drink or for an aperitif. Not to bubbly, more like a Prosecco than a Champagne. I wonder would it replace Alcopops in the bars? Mind you I think that after three or four it could become a bit sickly. Still, might be worth it....
Would I buy it again?
Yes. One (or two) for me and one for herself
Lambic Boon 2006 - 37.5cl - 4% alcohol
Available from The Wine Centre, Kilkenny

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Schofferhofer hefeweizen

I have to thank Mrs Bn for this as she picked it up in Aldi for me. I have not gone there yet in my travels.

This is my first taste of a wheat beer I think apart from a Hoegaarden that I picked up somewhere before my trip to Belgium. I was a bit unsure what to expect.

My initial reaction to a fruity almost shandy tasting beer was good. Easy to drink, tasty not bitter, it tasted clean if that makes sense. It tasted better than what I remembered the Hoegaarden tasted but I need to revisit that as part of the blog anyway so I won't comment to much yet. I feel this would be great summer beer for having when the weather is hotter and you're really thirsty. I was really impressed with it by the time I had it finished. I think I might have to visit Aldi sooner than I thought.

Would I buy it again?

Yes and I'll see what other offerings Schofferhofer have.

Schofferhofer hefeweizen - 50cl - 5% alcohol

Available from Aldi

Wychwood Hobgoblin

The picture on the bottle should have told me that this would be a sneaky beer. A dodgy looking cray-chur with a glint in his eye, I should have been wary.

My previous attempts at finding a good English beer had not gone well (admittedly I've only tried a few in my short beer career) so I was beginning to wonder what the fuss was about. My first taste of this one made me thing 'here we go again', but then something magical happened....

Taste after the taste, it got better and better until I got to the end and I thought 'wow!' that was excellent, I need more. Unfortunately the beer fairy didn't hear my wish and no magic bottles appeared.

This is a great beer. Tasty, full flavoured and lots going for it. I got all kinds of carmely-coffee things going on and then a hint of something spicy right at the end. Maybe it was the fairy dust......

Would I buy it again?


Hobgoblin - 50cl - 5.2% alcohol

Available from Superquinn

Friday, 5 September 2008

Fuller's London Pride

Another one that was a bit disappointing, again probably because I heard some positives about it and thought it would be good.
It was ok but nothing special and certainly would not live up to the hype on the bottle.
Oh well, the search continues.
Would I buy it again?
No thanks! Not for me.
Fuller's London Pride -50cl - 4.7% alcohol
Available in supermarkets

Leffe Bruin

Leffe was the first 'real' Belgian beer I tried although it was the Blond and not the Brunette I had then. Leffe seem to get some bad press because it's part of InBev and perhaps because it is now available in all the supermarkets so it doesn't have the elite status of Fenwicks Old Hairy Knob or whatever.

Well this Bruin is very tasty I have to say and perhaps a good introduction to Belgian beers without putting someone off by giving them something stronger. It had an enormous head when I poured it but that could be because it wasn't cold. Great colour too. What more do you need?

Would I buy it again?


Leffe Bruin - 33cl - 6.5% alcohol

Available from The Wine Centre, Kilkenny.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008


I have to say that this was my most disappointing beer to date. I guess it was because I heard so much about it that I thought it was going to be fantastic. Maybe that was the problem, that I had built it up too much in my head.

As beers go it was ok I guess but I didn't get anything fantastic from it in taste. If anything, I got a slightly sour after taste.

Compared to the Chimay Blue it was not at the races. I think I might have fallen foul of good marketing.

Would I buy it again?

I think I might have to just to see did I miss something first time.

Duvel - 33cl- 8.5% alcohol

Available lots of places.

Home Brew 5

Fermentation seems to have stepped up a gear as I am getting bubbles and fumes every few minutes now. That nice bready smell I was getting is gone and it's more of a sweet, beery smell.
Looks like I will be bottling at the weekend.......


Mrs Beer Novice said she fancied a Bud with her dinner tonight (I know, I know) and I told her I'd find something better. I had seen this beer many times but never bought it until I started on this Blog. I was in Superquinn yesterday evening and decided to stock up on a few beers I hadn't tried before. They still have a buy 4 get a 5th free deal on some of the less common beers so it seemed a good idea and I hadn't really tried any Cech beers yet.

Anyway, we shared this one and I have to say I'm very impressed. As an everyday beer and thirst quencher it was very good. Smooth, full flavoured (for a lager) and very easy to drink, perhaps to easy. I fancy another, I wonder if Mrs BN is finishing hers.........

Would buy it again?

Yep. Good alternative to 'normal' lagers if trying to convert someone.

Staropramen - 50cl - 5% alcohol

Available loads of places.