Ale to the King.

Edinburgh's quality beer and ale review and culture site.

Archive for the tag “ipa”

Aledvent Calendbeer selection 2

If you haven’t been keeping up, Ale to the King has been counting down to Christmas in the best way it can think of.  While many go for the common or garden advent calendar with chocolate and others prefer the more traditional advent candle, Ale to the King has created the Aledvent Calendbeer. A carefully chosen beer that reflects Christmas in one way or another (no matter how tenuous the link!) will be decapitated, drunk and deliberated over until the big day itself.

Selection 1 consisted of Christmas Ale by Goose Island, Paradox Isle of Arran by Brewdog, Black Lager by Zeitgeist, Finch by Natural Selection Brewing, Samuel Smith’s India Ale by Samuel Smith Old Brewery and There is No Santa by Brewdog.

But that was just Selection 1 and as 007 once said, you’ve had your six.

So, without further ado Ale to the King presents you with Aledvent Calendbeer Selection 2:

If you want to drink along with Ale to the King and compare notes, then you will need:

  • Hefeweizen by Stewart Brewing
  • Winter Ale by The Brooklyn Brewery
  • India Pale Ale by Knops Beer Company
  • Hop Trials – Nelson Sauvin by Tryst
  • St. Mungo by West Brewery

If you’ve not been able to keep up with the Aledvent Calendbeer  then now’s a great time to get on board and even make up for lost time by having a second beer a day from Selection 1!

So charge your glasses and raise it in honour of the ever approaching jolly Saint Nick. Because Christmas is a time for treating yourself as well!

What did you think of the Aledvent Calendbeer Selection 1? Disagree with Ale to the King‘s verdict on There’s No Santa or the praise heaped upon Goose Island’s Christmas Ale? Please, do sound off in the comments below!

Review: Samuel Smith’s India Ale – Aledvent Calendbeer 5

Beer: Samuel Smith’s India Ale
Brewery: Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery
Type:  Indian Pale Ale
Served: Bottled
Alc: 5% Vol
Aledvent Calendbeer Number: 5

Christmas, for many, is about home and home for me is Yorkshire. Flat caps, whippets and moors spring to mind. But what Yorkshire is also associated with is some truly great beer.

Most of the spotlight is shone on beers like Pale Rider from Kelham Island Brewery or Landlord from Timothy Taylor but another great brewery is Tadcaster’s Samuel Smith’s, or Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery to give it it’s full name.

This reviewer has never had this particular beer from a bottle before, but right from popping the cap I knew from smell alone it would be worthy of “God’s own county”.

Its a really hearty aroma, with an initial hit of roast parsnips rolled in parmesan cheese. You can smell it a mile off, it just seems to shoot right out of the bottle when opening and straight up your nostrils. Pouring it into a dimple jug the smell mellows a little and turns sweeter, toffee apple billowing from a lovely frothy head. The colour is nutty, fairly transparent oak, maybe a little more so than most IPAs.

The taste, funnily enough, is a lot less powerful than the nose, but no less enjoyable. A perfect session beer, there’s a mild bitterness on the back of the teeth and its got a little chewiness to it. Like the aroma its also very fresh tasting. There’s an overlying flavour that washes all the way through from beginning to end of dew on a young tree’s bark, especially so on the foretaste, mixed with fresh water from a babbling brook.

From the mid-taste on and then fully developing on the tail and diminishing on the after-taste, hints of quality tobacco. Not muck from a cigarette bathed in chemicals but proper, tasty tobacco from a cigar; like when you’ve had it in your mouth a little too long, the end disintegrates and you get those fragments floating around your mouth.

So its not a punchiest beer, but appropriately for a brew from Yorkshire, it is very smooth, bursting with unique character, comforting and deceptively tasty.

Review: Deuchars IPA

Beer: Deuchars IPA
Brewery: Caledonian (Edinburgh)
Type: Indian Pale Ale
Served: Bottled
Alc: 4.4% Vol
Album listened to while reviewing: Hypothetical by Threshold (2001)

This is the first review for this Edinburgh based website so it was with very deliberate decision the Edinburgh synonymous Deuchars IPA by Caledonian was selected.

Originally hailing from Sheffield, one of the early beers I relished when my tastes matured (and I realised craft brewed alcohol’s absolute superiority) Deuchers IPA was one of the beers I relished the most. When I first knew I was moving to Edinburgh, being in the home of one of my favourite beers was a real boon. It was an added bonus that one of my favourite’s brewery, known locally as The Caley, is the only one to still be operating out of the 40+ breweries that began in the 19th century.

That was only available served from pump. From a bottle, however, its a somewhat different experience.

What first hits you from the bottled version, if you’ve only ever been used to draft, is how fizzy it is. It hits right on the tip of your tongue in a way that’s positively surprising. This isn’t to say its a bad thing, surprises are good, I like surprises. But its certainly different.  Deuchers IPA draft is a very laid back, cosy, fleecy experience whereas from the bottle, its categorically excitable.

Its also got a noticeable hoppiness that seems to hit the top of the mouth at a 45% degree angle before melting onto the tongue and down the throat.

Its also leans rather heavily towards the more watery end of the spectrum, even for a bottled beer. These qualities combine to make it refreshing yet definitely bitter, somewhat like drinking ready salted crisps or peanuts.

But that’s not the whole story. The other side of the story concerns old fruit. An immediate touch on tongue is one of old lemon flesh; the kind that’s been left in the fridge too long half cut open after a house party and you lick it just to see if it’ll stretch to one more gin and Irn Bru.

In the middle of the taste this transforms into the scent of a wrinkly old apple with the skin still on.

On the nose is a wet but resolute bonfire party, one where the fire singes the sprinkling rain which in turn patters on your friend’s floral anorak, determined not to let the precipitation stop her from writing her name with a sparkler in one hand, a can of rained-in beer in the other.

And that’s what sums up Deuchers IPA. Its determined to have a good time despite prevailing conditions. A standard beer being all the best a standard beer can be with, alongside the barley and wheat, some happy memories mixed in.

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