A Hiver Fiver

Hiver, the brewery that makes beer with honey have just turned five years old.
They have also decided to move their beer into cans.
These are two very good things.
The cans look fantastic, taking the original bottle labels and moving them on into something that looks really rather classy and, more importantly, the beer tastes so much bette for it.
Take the Hiver Blonde (4.5%), it’s always been a light and crisp little beer, but now from a can the honey really comes into its own.
Sticky and rich and sweet, it sits just above the sharp snap of hedgerow hops and the soft caramel and wafer biscuits of the malting.
My favourite, however, is the Hiver IPA.
And here in a can the hops feel extra sharp, fresh and bitter, Bramling Cross and Pilgrim bringing lots of dandelion and borage, better tea, hawthorn and herbal hedgerow.
The malting creates a solid toffee and digestive biscuit backbone while the honey feels smooth and chewy, adding its own special charm to the edges of the long bitter finish.

Source: Hiver Beer

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Vocation Brewery & Yeastie Boys Breakfast Club (6.9%)

If, a few years ago, I told you that you’d soon be able to buy a Blueberry Breakfast Stout in a supermarket you wouldn’t have believed me.
Mind you, I wouldn’t have believed me.
But here we are with Tesco stocking this super little Stout.
And yes, I know that both breweries are already Tesco staples, but the point is that this is really quite an out there beer style for your regular supermarket beer buyer.
So let’s get into it.
Breakfast Club is a Stout with Blueberries, Blackberries, Vanilla and Cinnamon, and it does lots of good things.
It’s round and rich and warm, the malting coupled with the Vanilla and Cinnamon makes for a waffle, doughnut, honey and brioche body while there’s a delightful and much needed smack of woody green and pithy hops – Willamette if you were wondering – and an extra layer of fruity undergrowth from the Vermont yeast.
The fruit in the beer is the final ace, bringing a fresh round fleshy pop of berry goodness without any sharpness.
Instead it’s like a spoonful of jam, sweet and satisfying in the chocolate, coffee and vanilla ice cream finish.
Yup, I don’t quite believe it either.

Source Tesco

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Bottle Up & Go: Yeovil Ales

Yeovil Ales have for some time now been building their reputation and winning awards in their native Somerset and across the south west.
They have recently built their own in-house bottling line and starting bottling their core range.
I thought it might be worth a try.


Posh IPA (5.4%)
Yeovil Ales have recently started bottling their beer and they kindly sent me some to try.
I’ve started with their IPA and it’s an eminently drinkable beer that pours a rich gold and smells of toffee apples and peaches.
There’s a lot of traditional English IPA flavours going on in here and I must say that, in amongst the masses of US hop drenched beer I drink, it makes a nice change to find borage and fennel, dandelion and burdock, aniseed and herbal green hedgerows while the malting is soft and sticky with toffee and biscuits, honey and brown bread.
I could happily drink this all evening.

Kellerbier (4.3%)
Yeovil’s unfiltered and unfined Lager is good and crisp and clean.
It has a soft creamy body full of caramel and salted shortcake biscuits, and there’s a lightly spiced honey aroma.
The hops are big and green and fresh, with nettle tea and chamomile, steely herbal leaves and just a hint of chives before a squeeze of lemon adds some extra zip to the super long bitter finish.
Another winner.

 

Star Gazer (4%)
Fancy a well made Bitter to sit back and relax with?
Look no further, as Star Gazer presses all the right buttons.
It’s nutty and fruity, full of honey and digestive biscuits, praline and Daim bars, and has an aroma full of red berries and hay bales.
The hops bring a hint of aniseed and lots of damp and dewy haze leaves and woodland foliage, while the finish is part soft brown sugar sweetness and part sharp nettle greenery.

 

Stout Hearted (4.3%)
Yeovil Ales’ Stout is the weakest of the four beers I’ve tried, though it’s still a decent enough beer in its own right.
It pours an inky black with a big creamy head, but the smell is a little too gassy and yeasty.
Taking a swig you find some lovely dark chocolate, molasses, milky coffee, honey and brown bread from the malts and a crunchy and crisp hit of autumnal leaf litter and sticky maple syrup from the hops.
Everything is fine apart from the aroma that detracts rather than adds to the experience.

 

Source: Yeovil Ales

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Arcadian Brewing Co. Star Anise Saidon (6.1%)

This, dear reader, is something a little bit special and definitely worth hunting down.
Arcadian have made a delightfully earthy Saison with an aroma full of sweet farmyard and honeysuckle smells and a soft and chewy malting that gives you lashings of caramel and doughnuts, crunchy bread crusts and pancakes.
There’s a solid hit of hops as well, all steely herbal leaves and lemon sherbet, and of course you find all this underpinned by a seriously deep rich Saison yeast that makes the beer round and meaty.
But it’s the star anise that makes this into something more, added at the conditioning stage, it slowly works its way up through the beer bringing what I can only describe as a gentle mist of liquorice and aniseed.
Absolutely inspired.

Source: Pop’n’Hops

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Redwillow Brewery Restless (8.5%)

Subtitled “Good Morning Vietnam”, this is a super Imperial Vietnamese Coffee Milk Porter.
It’s thick and rich and smooth, pouring a fathomless purple brown with a bubbly cappuccino head, the smell is a deep rich and meaty black cherry and coal tar soap.
The malting is enormous, all bitter dark chocolate ice cream, honey and burned digestive biscuits, while the hops add a crunchy crisp maple syrup leaf litter stickiness that balances out the sweet vanilla ice cream smoothness of the lactose and the great big punch to the brains that is the woody rolling tobacco, roasted cashew nut and cherry stones of the coffee that permeates the beer, sparking your synapses and peeling back your eyelids as you hit the rum booze of the finish.

Source: EeBria

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