Falcon (5.4%) Now this, ladies and gentlemen, is a fine APA. From its melon sorbet aroma, through its bright glinting gold colour and its little frothy head, right the way down into its sweet honey, salted caramel, brioche and waffle malt body and into its sharp steely leaves, lemon sherbet and lime zest, mango, mandarin and peach of its hops, Falcon does absolutely everything you could wish for and does it with balance and panache. A short review this may be, but after my first taste of this New Zealand brewery I’m looking forward to finding some more.
Bitterbitch (5.8%) Without sounding too prudish, I don’t wholeheartedly agree with the way this beer has been named, but I certainly can’t argue with just how bitter it is. This is all teeth on edge filling rattling steely metallic herbal leaves, mango, orange marmalade and nettle tea strapped to a well sharpened sliver of caramel brittle. It’s a beer that’ll rip at your gums and leave you bloodied but smiling, the smell of fruit salad and penny sweets filling your nostrils. Not for the faint hearted.
Oh my, this is good.
A super little Saison with a thick and rich caramel, peanut butter and shortcake body, the Citra and Galaxy hops bring waves of lemon zest and lime juice, peach flesh, orange blossom and steely herbal leaves, while there’s a distinct kick of damp and spicy fungal undergrowth from the yeast before the quince comes on all fresh and juicy, sweetening the beer and making for a finish that’s at once long and dry while managing to be round and intensely fruity.
If you’ve not visited Tallinn before, then the wonderful breweries opening up around the city might just be the extra push you need to go.
It’s a super city, a short boat ride from Helsinki, it once sat at the very edge of the old Soviet Union and as such always maintained an openness to the outside world, a thriving artistic underground and a bit of a wild side.
I was offered a job there when my London based employment ended, and often I wish I’d taken it up, if only for a short while.
Anyhow, this is a beer review, so let’s get on with it.
Sori is a brewery founded by two Finns who made the aforesaid short trip across the water, and this lovely crisp dry Saison with Elderflowers has been brewed in collaboration with Dois Corvos of Lisbon.
The aroma that rises from the beer’s big fluffy head is spicy and earthy with just a touch of farmyard sweetness, and there’s a deep and chewy toffee and biscuit malt base.
The hopping – Hallertau Blanc – brings green grape skin pithiness and lots of hedgerow greenery while the elderflowers slowly build in the background as you drink, adding a refreshing floral crispness to the finish.
Very good indeed.
Maybe it’s just me.
Perhaps I just don’t get Brut IPA’s.
Drier and clearer than a NEIPA, right?
Well, that’s just an IPA, isn’t it?
Take this offering from Tempest for example.
It’s a damned good beer, unsurprising for one of my favourite breweries, it’s a really well made IPA with a hint of earthy rye loitering in the background of the sticky caramel, wafer and salty shortbread malting, and a great big smack of fresh herbs and orange marmalade, pithy gooseberries, green grapes and peaches from the hops.
And there’s a long and bitter, dry and crisp finish to boot.
I suppose the fizz feels a tiny weeny bit more sparkly, but that could just be my imagination.
This is a very good IPA, but could someone explain to me why it isn’t just that?
Those of you that know me know my deep and undying love of Norway and all things Norwegian.
I even speak the language (though not very well).
And those of you that know me know of my deep and undying love of beer brewed with Rye.
So to have my first experience of a previously unknown Norwegian Brewery be a Stout brewed with rye pretty much pushes all my buttons.
And Eiffeltårnet doesn’t disappoint.
According to the bottle’s label, Eiffeltårnet is a radio mast stuck on top of a high peak close to the brewery.
It’s an imposing landmark and this is an imposing beer.
A deep and dense rich and buttery bitter chocolate, fig, prune and brandy malting makes up the heart of the beer, with the hops adding a crisp and crunchy maple syrup, Hazel leaf and bracken bitterness.
There’s a light smokiness as well, like the smell of smoked bacon on the breeze as you go for a walk on a Sunday morning.
This is a superb beer that makes me love Norway even more.