Beer of the week: Scarborough Fair IPA

Here in the UK, we’re enjoying an unusually hot August Bank Holiday weekend, with barbecue and beach enticing weather. Unfortunately for me, I neither own a barbecue nor live near a beach. I did however stock up on some great beers to see me through the 28C of summer heat. For this week’s brew review, I thought I’d share my thoughts on one of those beers, a tasty IPA from Scarborough in the lovely county of Yorkshire.

I came across Scarborough Fair IPA last week in my local supermarket. As I’ve not tried any beers from Wold Top Brewery before, I was keen to give this one a go. After pouring it and letting it settle for a bit, I got a rich hazy golden colour. The aroma was sweet and floral, with a hint of toffee, but not quite as pronounced as some other IPAs I’ve come across recently.  On first sip, this beer was quite pleasant on the tongue; velvety and moderately carbonated, with a smooth overall texture. The taste was refreshing, distinctly hoppy and citrusy with a faint note of honey in there somewhere. The aftertaste was considerably less bitter than what you may expect for an IPA; for me, this was one of the memorable features of this beer.

All in all, Scarborough Fair is a decent, tasty, refreshing IPA. Perhaps not a session beer, but one I’d certainly have again.

I’m eager to discover some of the other brews that Yorkshire has on offer; suggestions most welcome!

Cheers!

Scarborough IPA (SMALL)

Scarborough Fair IPA

Pistonhead Flat Tire Lager

Swedish flagSkål!

This week’s brew review looks at a Swedish dry-hopped lager called Pistonhead Flat Tire. I picked this up recently in Morrison’s supermarket along with a selection of other beers I’ve not yet tried.

Brewed by Spendrups brewery in Sweden, Flat Tire is a light bodied lager with a cloudy, gold appearance. The mouthfeel is very smooth, crisp and clean and it is moderately carbonated.

This beer is certainly pleasant to the palate. The flavour is unmistakably zesty, grassy and hoppy with notes of tropical fruits such as lemon and lime. It has an aroma to match with a strong floral/tropical whiff. The aftertaste is mildly bitter and spicy. All in all, I found this to be a great summer beer and certainly one I’d have again. I’ve not come across it yet on tap; only in cans. The brewery has a number of other beers which I’m also keen to give a go.

Pictured below next to my Aston DB5……

Flat tire lager (SMALL)

Pistonhead Flat Tire lager

Disclaimer: fintansbrewbook.com does not encourage drink-driving……

Beer of the week: Harbour Antipodean IPA

Cornwall flagFatla genes (how are you)? 

Have you ever come across the Cornish language? Perhaps not. It is part of the Celtic family of languages along with Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Manx and Breton. This week’s brew review looks at a tasty IPA from the Cornwall region on the south-west coast of England. In addition to being known for its picturesque landscapes and its tasty treats like Cornish pasties, Cornish fairings and clotted cream, Cornwall’s reputation for excellent beers is also growing rapidly.

Harbour Antipodean IPA
Brewed by the Harbour Brewing Co which was established in 2012, Antipodean IPA is a solid addition to the ever growing community of IPAs. After pouring it (carefully) into the glass, I allowed my nose to linger for a moment and immediately detected a rich aroma with notes of various tropical fruits. Once it settled, there was a deep, hazy amber/gold colour topped off with a creamy head.

After my first sip, my initial impression was that of a medium bodied, slightly bready, slightly smokey IPA. As I worked my way down the glass, my taste buds began to concur with my nose and I picked up on all those wonderful tropical fruity flavours – mango, lime and lemon to name a few.

Harbour IPA (can on glass)

The aftertaste is mildly bitter, as you’d expect for a good IPA. All in all, this is a solid IPA and well worth a try if you manage to come across it.

This is the first brew I’ve tried from Harbour Brewing Co but I’m eager to sample some of the others they have on offer!

Harbour IPA

Yeghes da! (Cheers)

International Beer Day!

Friday  was International Beer Day.  Being the curious sort that I am, I consulted Google and was intrigued to learn that this auspicious occasion was first celebrated in 2008, almost ten years ago. As of 2017, International Beer Day is now marked annually on the first Friday of August in over 200 cities around the globe.  Never one to miss an important occasion – particularly one which involves beer – I decided to celebrate International Beer Day with a selection of brews from around Europe.

BBNo 14|04 – Tripel
British German flag (small)OK, this one sounds a bit more like a Star Wars droid than a beer. R2-D2’s second cousin maybe?

The cryptic name is apparently down to a very logical numbering system instituted by the brewer (Brews by Numbers), in which the first number denotes the style, whilst the second denotes the recipe. Makes sense I suppose.

I’ve not come across anything from Brews by Numbers (BBN) before now, but I discovered this one last week in an excellent little shop called Royal Mile Whiskies in Bloomsbury St. in central London.

BBNo 14|04 is an abbey style beer brewed in London with a delicate flavour which is, according to the brewer, down to the addition of the German hop Hallertau Blanc. After pouring it carefully into the glass, allow your nose to hover for a moment or two and you’ll detect a strikingly refreshing fruity aroma. In terms of appearance, BBNo 14|04 very much looks the part of an abbey beer with a decent frothy head and a deep, hazy, golden colour.

The flavour is slightly malty and bready, with hints of various different fruits and herbs; there’s plenty going on here to tantalise your taste buds. It has a slightly bitter, citrus aftertaste. All in all, this is a solid take on an abbey ale. I’d certainly have it again and I’m eager to try its sister brews.

14-04 Tripple (small pic)

BBNo 14|04

R2D2 and beer

R2-D2 approves of this beer

 

To Øl Blossom
Flag-Denmark
Skål (cheers)! In the same shop in Bloomsbury St, I came across a Danish wheat ale called To Øl Blossom. True to its name, this beer has an unmistakably floral taste and aroma.

It is crisp and refreshing with a slightly metallic, bitter aftertaste. It has a hazy amber colour and keeps a frothy white head right to the end of the glass.

To Ol (small)

To Øl Blossom –  if florists did beer…..

 

Cheers!

Beers of the week – Telenn Du & Sant Erwann

Flag_of_BrittanyDemat dit (hello)!

Continuing with the Breton theme of last week’s post, I thought this week I’d share my views on two more brews from the Brittany region – Sant Erwann and Telenn Du.


Telenn Du

Hmm…. dark ale. Not normally my first choice of beers. With such a distinctive name however, I decided to take a chance and try Telenn Du, a dark buckwheat beer brewed by Brasserie Lancelot. Unlike other dark ales which I’ve tried, Telenn Du is actually quite light and easy to drink. In terms of flavour, there’s quite a bit going on, with notes of coffee, chocolate, spices and caramel. Despite my initial hesitancy, I was quite impressed with this beer and would certainly have it again.

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Telenn Du

 

Me with Telenn Du beer

Enjoying my Telenn Du in Concarneau

Sant Erwann blonde
With a deep golden amber colour and a shallow frothy head, Sant Erwann blonde was one of the more memorable beers I encountered during my week in Brittany.  Brewed by Brasserie Artisanale Du Trégor which is situated in the Côtes-d’Armor department, Sant Erwann can be found widely in bars and restaurants in the towns and villages around Brittany. It has a deep, distinctive aroma of yeast and herbs and a flavour to match. Overall, the taste is quite bready and sweet with notes of banana and spices. A good beer to go with a barbecue – as I discovered!

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Sant Erwann blonde

Yec’hed mat! (cheers!)

Brews in Brittany!

I’ve just returned from a week’s holidays in Brittany on the west coast of France where I was staying with my fiancée and her family. It was not my first visit to France’s famous Celtic region, but on this occasion, I thought I’d recount some of my experiences of the marvellous array of beers, food and culture which can be found there.

Alors…….. first lets talk a bit about the beer.

Lancelot Duchesse Anne Triple
I found this beer on sale in many bars and cafes in the towns and villages around Brittany. As you might expect for a triple, Duchesse Anne is quite a full bodied beer with a deep amber colour and a rich flavour, with notes of caramel and honey. Left to linger on the tongue, you’ll also detect hints of various fruits like banana and pear. Duchesse Anne is brewed by Brasserie Lancelot which describes itself, quite modestly, as one of Brittany’s ‘premier breweries’. I only came across Duchesse Anne in bottles, but apparently you’ll also find it on tap.

Me with Duchesse Anne beer

Enjoying a Duchesse Anne triple

 

Lancelot blonde
Produced by the same brewery is Lancelot blonde (pictured below, left). Lancelot blonde is a mild, slightly sweet, slightly hoppy lager with a deep amber colour and a decent frothy head. The taste isn’t quite as pronounced as its sister beer Duchesse Anne, but it is a good quality blonde nonetheless and well worth a try.

 

 

Crêpes
Crepes are to Brittany as fries are to Belgium. You’ll find a abundance of ‘creperies’ wherever you go, each serving a wide selection of both sweet and savory crepes for about 7 or 8 Euro apiece. They are, incidentally as I discovered, a great snack to have alongside a beer. Whilst on a visit to the very picturesque port town of Concarneau, I tried the crêpe saucisse de bretagne, followed by the crêpe chocolat noir maison, both of which were very tasty!

Crepe sausage

Crêpe saucisse de bretagne

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Crêpe chocolat noir maison

 

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A typical creperie in Concarneau, Brittany

 

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Concarneau, Brittany

Yec’hed mat! (cheers!)

Flag_of_Brittany

Craft beer in Cambridge

Cambridge is a charming city, full of impressive architecture, green spaces and of course, the world-famous University of Cambridge. Being only an hour’s train ride from central London, it is the perfect place to escape the big city on a hot day and that’s exactly what my fiancée and I decided to do yesterday.

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Crowds in Cambridge

If the weather is pleasant, it is well worth punting down the River Cam which meanders through the city, including past some of the main university buildings. If you’ve not encountered a punt before, it is a shallow wooden boat driven by someone holding a very large stick (see pics below).

Cambridge’s architecture is both impressive and beautifully preserved. It is perhaps unsurprising therefore that it draws so very many tourists.

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Cambridge architecture

After wading through crowds of camera-clicking, selfie-stick waving tourists, it was a relief to take a pit-stop in what Google reliably informed me was one of Cambridge’s most trendy craft pubs. I wasn’t disappointed.

Cambridge Brew House & Microbrewery
The Cambridge Brew House is centrally located, only a few minutes walk from the main shopping thoroughfare of Sidney Street. The decor is what you’d expect of a microbrewery, with casks for seats and beer paraphernalia adorning the walls.

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Cambridge Brew House

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Watching the world go by

 

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Beer making the old way

Cambridge Sweet Chariot IPA
I tried one of the house brews, the ‘Sweet Chariot‘ IPA and it was just the thirst-quencher I was looking for in 28C of heat! Sweet Chariot is a well rounded IPA, with a hoppy, citrus flavour and a bitter aftertaste as you’d expect for a good IPA. The colour is a golden amber and the aroma has hints of peach and grapefruit. Well worth a try.

P1280509

Cheers!

Cheers!