WOLF OF THE WOODS

BREWER: Twickenham, West London, England

STYLE: Premium Bitter

ABV: 4.7%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @TwickenhamAles  

INSTAGRAM: twickenhamales

DATE OF POST: 12th September 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Bitter. Best Bitter. Premium Bitter. What’s the difference?

Well I suppose it is very easy to say the latter is better than the prior and the one in between is just that. But why would it be better?

Quality of ingredients used? Care taken in the brew? Small batch brewing to ensure quality?

The actual answer is that this is a murky world and the difference is what you make of it. A small example of just how beer styles are being confused nowadays. The fact the term Session IPA exists and is an oxymoron pretty much sums this up.

HOWEVER, Wolf of the Woods is described as a Premium Bitter and is utterly sensational so maybe just maybe, Premium Bitters are better than Bitters? Whatever, it’s subjective, I’m moving on…

As already stated, WOTW is an absolute belter of a brew! Twickenham Brewery have completely smashed it, honestly.

A huge beery, hoppy and slightly sweet nose leads the way. My notes said, “this is what beer should smell like”. Next up is the sip and it is straight down to business with a beautiful grassy lemon hop bite (not the biscuity malt suggested on our label, but I was totally OK with that). The aftertaste then contains all mentioned above and goes on and on and on! Sensational stuff.

There is not much more to say.

Find it, drink it, love it.

Jymi’s Rating: 91%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

They say you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel. Take that to mean what you will, but basically we shouldn’t be trying to make something that’s already good even better. And that could be applied to British bitter. There are so many well established brands out there smashing this part of the beer market. There’s some absolute behemoths that have their loyal  following, who are unwilling to waver from their well trodden path.

So, taking that into account, I love it when a small brewery attempts to reinvent the wheel. And that’s exactly what Twickenham is doing with Wolf of the Woods, which is a modern British bitter.

I have to say, it’s incredibly good. In fact, it’s one of the better bitters I have had in a long while. Surprisingly not too bitter, WOTW is very well balanced. Although it might be quite simple, it’s very well rounded with a nice subtle bitter pull at the end.

Not dominated by hops, it still packs enough burnt caramel flavour to make it interesting. WOTW is a very good beer. It’s well conceived and well executed.

This one’s well worth a go! Fabulous.

Sammy’s Rating: 92%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 91.5%

MOB review next weekend: ERDINGER WEISSBIER by ERDINGER

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

EFES

BREWER: Gebruat, Istanbul, Turkey

STYLE: Beer / Lager 

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 50cl brown bottle 

TWITTER: #efes

INSTAGRAM: #efes

DATE OF POST: 5th September 2021

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Although I don’t love the packaging of Efes, I feel the bottle deserves a mention. The creatives have gone out of their way to make a barrel shaped bottle, and while the gimmick doesn’t work on the label design, the bottle itself is well thought through.

Beyond the container, Efes is a little underwhelming. It would be unfair to describe it as poor. But it’s definitely unremarkable. The mouthfeel is fine but the taste has a long pulling aftertaste which isn’t particularly pleasant.

There are no high points with this one. It’s fairly flat throughout. While it’s not going to win any awards, Efes might well quench your thirst on a hot day. Don’t expect too much else from this as it doesn’t have anything else to offer.

Sammy’s Rating: 48%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

When I picked this beer up for me and ol’ Sammy boy to test I pretty much did so because of the bottle. It’s cool, well I thought it was…

See, for 6 days I had it out on display to really draw a conclusion on the packaging as a whole. Slowly I grew to hate it. It is flipping awful and does not make the beer desirable in any way shape or form. Though I admire the effort at least.

The brew itself is ok though. I mean, it is just a classic 5% Med lager. A touch tinny in the aftertaste but just straight down the line not good but not bad stuff really.

Onto the next eh…

Jymi’s Rating: 49%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 48.5%

MOB review next weekend: WOLF OF THE WOODS by TWICKENHAM BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

BILLY DON’T YOU RUN SO FAST

BREWER: Double-Barrelled, Berkshire, England

STYLE: Sour

ABV: 5.3%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @DBBrewery

INSTAGRAM: doublebarrelledbrewery

DATE OF POST: 29th August 2021

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Billy Don’t You Run So Fast is one of those rare beers: it’s amazing. From inception to drinking, this one is an absolute belter of a brew.

Let us begin at the beginning BDYRSF has a cracking colour combo on the tin. I also love the kitchen utensils; a clear nod to the apple crumble inspiration. Subtle but very clever. Easy to miss if you don’t think about it.

The nose is light but you get the blackberry and cinnamon, a small insight of the greatness that is about to be unleashed when you jump in to the drinking.

When you drink BDYRSF you get an immediate BOOM. What an amazing sour! It hits the brief perfectly. Think sour apple up front followed by a cinnamony hit of blackberry.  This is all ended with the roundness of vanilla. Sublime.

Balanced perfectly and amazingly leaves the palate clean afterwards. This is an incredible beer. Love it.

Sammy’s Rating: 93%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Sammy and I have been at this every single week since October 2017. There have been highs and there have been lows. There have been some of the most incredible brews along the way as well as farcical beers and ones that sounded ridiculous on paper but were actually lovely. On the whole however, most of the brews we have put under the MOB microscope (Mobroscope? Na) have been pretty decent. But, occasionally, something spectacular our way comes…

Ladies and Gents, we bring you BILLY DON’T YOU RUN SO FAST.

I’m shaking as I write this, due to the excitement I might add not the sour forward that this beer brings.

We’re going to have to start with the name, a line from the Bill Withers (who unfortunately is no longer with us) tune Grandma’s hands. Now, seeing as this beer is inspired by a crumble this is an absolute MONSTER of a beer name. Ok, Bill does not mention crumble or any kind of baking in the track, however I think it’s fair to say Grandmas hands and crumble live together as either a memory or a beautiful visual in one’s imagination.

Well done Double-Barrelled.

Moving to the tin art, the colours as just fantastic and totally in keeping with our theme! The deep purple of blackberry, the butter yellow of crumble all hosting a backdrop of a wooden spatula and rolling pin as well as various other baking tools, just flippin’ brilliant!

Well done Double-Barrelled, well done indeed.

Ok so DB have aced the name and tin design but what is going on in the all important inside of the tin?

Well, they’ve aced that too!! Man, this is a decent beer!

So here is how it went down…

Sour up front, not a massive toe curling, eye popping sour up (which I love btw) but just a very pleasant unchallenging level. The beer in the swallow was juicy, smooth, thick and utterly delightful I must say. Now it was at this point in the first sip I panicked a little. See there is about a one second gap after the swallow where the flavour dips out, disappears, almost falls off a cliff actually…

But once that second has passed off go the blackberry and apple flavour canons and all is more than well in the world. As you progress through the brew that one second gap begins to disappear as your palate calms down but the awesome taste of this beer does not dip in the slightest.

Well Double-Barrelled, well flippin done indeed!

I like the way you work it.

Jymi’s Rating: 94%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 93.5 %

MOB review next weekend: EFES DRAFT by GEBRAUT

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

AGGLESTONE

BREWER: Hattie Browns, Dorset, England

STYLE: Amber Ale

ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: n/a

INSTAGRAM: hattiebrownsbrewery

DATE OF POST: 22nd August 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

After a curious start that had me thinking that the label was of a scene on the moon looking at the man on the moon (highly confusing stuff for Jymi that wasn’t helped by Hattie Browns Saturnesque logo), all became a little clearer once I turned the bottle around and read what Agglestone actually was. A rock on the Dorset coast surrounded in legend. Some say it was thrown by the devil from the Isle of Wight with the intention of hitting Sailsbury Cathedral. I mean you have to admire the distance ol’ Lucifer has got in his arm but you are gonna need to work on your accuracy pal.

Turning to the beer itself, this is an amber ale of a good refreshing quality. Which I was not expecting after inhaling the boozy almost rum like nose, which though very pleasant I again was not expecting from a 4.5% amber. But the beer, as mentioned, is refreshing in taste, sip and swallow. The aftertaste then turns a little woody and fades quite quickly. Not unpleasant but another turn I did not expect.

However, this is a good drinkable brew that I would happily have again but probably not go searching for.

Jymi’s Rating: 71%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Hattie Brown’s have a great, tongue in cheek, concept with Agglestone. And for that alone they should be applauded. I love the story on this beer. If you want to know what it is, well, you’re going to have to get your mitts on one!

The burnt caramel notes on the nose leave you in no doubt that Agglestone is an amber ale. However, it needs to be mentioned that it’s pretty dark in the glass. More bitter tones than amber ales to be fair.

Before drinking Agglestone, I was rooting for it to be an incredible beer. While it might not reach those heights, it is a good brew. It’s got flavour and feel in the mouth but it’s a little thin in the finishing and washes away quickly, leaving a medium bitter finish. I’d like to have a little more of the musty caramel coming through. For me, this would elevate this beer.

I would say, get your hands on an Agglestone. Defo worthy of a try!

Sammy’s Rating: 71%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 71%

MOB review next weekend: BILLY DON’T YOU RUN SO FAST by DOUBLE-BARRELLED BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

CANNON BALL

BREWER: Magic Rock, West Yorkshire, England

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 7.4%

VESSEL: 330ml tin

TWITTER: @MagicRockBrewCo

INSTAGRAM: magicrockbrewing

DATE OF POST: 15th August 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

There was a time, not that long ago to be fair, where a 7.4% beer was considered crazy strong. Reason being is that, it really is crazy strong. But of more recent times folk don’t raise their eyebrows so much at such a high percentage. TWO reasons for this are that there are plenty of brews around that are way stronger but also when a beer is around 7% nowadays it’s more than often disguised.

Cannon Ball’s booziness is not disguised. It’s boozy. It’s too boozy actually. And lacking some body as well which is most curious seeing as it’s (not sure I’ve mentioned this) really boozy.

Look, this is a perfectly acceptable beer but is a little obvious in it’s characteristics and just missing the point a little. There are decent enough tropical notes in nose and taste. The look in the glass is great. And the mouthfeel is good. But it’s all too predicable and when joined by the fact that it’s lacking body and tasting a bit too strong it all just ends up as a bit disappointing.

Jymi’s Rating: 61%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

The first thing of note about Cannon Ball is the nose is delightful. Not complicated, but completely tropical. It takes you to a wonderful place that you only hope the taste can deliver on.

Then, as you sup down the lovely amber liquid, you’re hit with an upfront sweetness followed by a short bitter aftertaste. And this is good. This is what we expect, nay demand, of a modern craft IPA. But, yes, there’s a but, it’s all a little underwhelming. And let me be clear, I don’t mean bad, because Cannon Ball is not bad. It’s just, well, it’s mediocre.

Would I have another? Sure I would. If offered.

Would I buy another? Possibly. But Cannon Ball is nowhere near the top of my shopping list.

Sammy’s Rating: 66%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 63.5%

MOB review next weekend: AGGLESTONE by HATTIE BROWNS

Musing on Booze weekly since 2017

 

HAZY LITTLE THING

BREWER: Sierra Nevada, California, USA

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 4.6%

VESSEL: 355ml tin

TWITTER: @SierraNevada

INSTAGRAM: sierranevada

DATE OF POST: 8th August 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Beer of two halves this one, and the first half wasn’t particularly exciting but we will get back to this in a bit…

First up I have to get how disappointed I am with this huge and iconic brewery off my chest.

The printing on the back of the tin is so blurry it’s illegible. Really Sierra Nevada? Really? Where is quality control? Where is the pride in the product? Where is your self respect? Do you still care?

And that brings me to the beer…

First half (taste while sipping), yeah, quite nice actually to be fair. Fairly obvious citrus flair and a good mouthfeel. However once the second half came along things totally fell apart… and I say second half came along, it actually didn’t and that is the point.

This beer has NO aftertaste. Like, nothing! What an absolute mess.

Good bye.

Jymi’s Rating: 51%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Sierra Nevada are a big player in the craft beer world. There’s no arguing it. And this fact leads you to expect big things.

Sadly, Hazy Little Thing IPA falls short.

It’s packaging is fuzzy, which you might think is a play on the name (hazy). It’s not. It’s just badly produced.

HLTIPA is hazy in the glass. And this is a small tick (not many after this I’m afraid).

The nose is light and tropical but uneventful. Sad times.

In the drinking, it’s light bodied, quite palate cleansing, easy in the mouth but packing very little flavour.

To sum up, HLTIPA is passable but by no stretch of the imagination anything more than this.

Sammy’s Rating: 58%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 54.5%

MOB review next weekend: CANNON BALL by MAGIC ROCK

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

LUSHINGTONS

BREWER: Skinner’s, Cornwall, England

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 4.2%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @Skinnersbrewery

INSTAGRAM: skinnersbrewery

DATE OF POST: 1st August 2021

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

The label most definitely lives up to the name. Lushingtons looks like a sunshine IPA, as advertised. Appealing from the outset. I was very much looking forward to cracking into this brew.

Once poured there’s very little of the nose.  It is slightly citrusy but considering the hops used I would hope for more.  In fact, I would expect more.

Lushingtons is refreshing enough to drink. There is definitely some citrus notes but overall it’s lacking in flavour. It’s a bit of a washout to be fair.

On the positive, it feels good in the mouth. But other than that, there’s not too much sunshine about this Sunshine IPA.

This is a miss for me. I hoped for much and by the end of my drinking, I was left wanting so much more.

Sammy’s Rating: 50%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I really love it when the tasting notes of a beer are pretty much bang on.  And with Lushingtons, they are…

Starting with Cornish water, our brewers add whole-flower Citra, Belma and Willamette hops to create this fresh as daisy, hop laden IPA. Bitter-sweet notes of lime, mango and lychee, a slight creaminess and a hint of juicy strawberry deliver sunshine-ready levels of refreshment. 

Honestly, they nailed it and I loved it!

Deffo fresh as a daisy! Deffo bitter-sweet! Deffo notes of lime, mango and lychee! Deffo sunshine ready refreshment! Awesome!

Now if Lushies had maintained this level of amazingness throughout the drinking then we would have been looking at a seriously high rating from Jymi.  But the more the drink progressed the less those massive positives stood out. Buy the end of the sipping it was just a perfectly pleasant brew without being amazing. Which after such a stunning start left me pretty disappointed to be honest.

I would absolutely recommend this beer however as if the start could be maintained,  she would be a bootie.

Jymi’s Rating: 64%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 57%

MOB review next weekend: HAZY LITTLE THING by SIERRA NEVADA

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

SWORDFISH – NAVY WINGS

BREWER: Wadworth, Wiltshire, England

STYLE: Rum Infused Ale

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @Wadworth

INSTAGRAM: officialwadworthbrewery

DATE OF POST: 25th July 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Confusion was in the air before even pouring this pup…

Some of it, maybe all of it,  due to my very limited knowledge on what I’m about to go on about.

So, what is the name of this beer? Swordfish? Navy Wings? Swordfish – Navy Wings? Also, is a Swordfish a type of bi-plane? If so, cool, if not, what hell is going on?  Also, are bi-planes able to fly high above the mighty cumulonimbus type of cloud? I would have thought not but on our label they are soaring as high as a Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture. I really wish what was going with all of this was explained to me else where on the label, but it’s not.

Anyway, a Rum infused ale now you say. Well, I like ale, I like rum too. And I have always enjoyed spirit boozy old English ales. So things, from the inside of the bottle at least, were looking up.

Unfortunately, from a taste point of view, things were no longer high above to clouds but hovering along at a worrying 50ft.

The rum in the taste was nice, but I wanted more. The hop hit in the finish was pleasant, but I wanted more. The 5% ABV was suitable but I really think this beer would have benefited from more.

In conclusion this beer is fine yes, but lacking.

Jymi’s Rating: 54%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

The packaging for Swordfish is shocking.  I can’t really get my head around the concept. And the link between rum and the navy, well it’s bordering on pathetic.

However, let’s move onto the things that really matter. And in the glass, you do get a hint of the rum. While the nose on Swordfish is not complex, it’s surprisingly pleasant. In fact, I’d stick my neck out here abs say it’s luring. The rum really does complement the hops. I like it’s earthy feel.

Swordfish is definitely full bodied and is surprisingly well balanced. Perhaps it may not setting the world on fire, it’s still a solid brew none the less. The biggest surprise for me comes with its caramel notes and strong bitter finish.

Swordfish does has some strengths, albeit a little rich to be sessioned. But overall, it’s a little underwhelming.

Sammy’s Rating: 54%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 54%

MOB review next weekend: LUSHINGTONS by SKINNERS

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

ESTRELLA DAMM

BREWER: Estrella Damm, Catalonia, Spain

STYLE: Lager

ABV: 4.6%

VESSEL: 660ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @EstrellaDammCat

INSTAGRAM: estrelladamm

DATE OF POST: 18th July 2021

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

If I were to pick a favourite mass produced lager, it would not be Estrella. Strangely, it’s not a bad beer.  It’s just incredibly average.

For me, I prefer it in the 330ml cans as opposed to the larger bottles. This can probably be attributed to the fact that a small vessel keeps it cooler longer.

Other than saying the obvious about Estrella – it’s everything you’d expect from a macro beer – there’s not too much to report on here.

If someone were to offer me an Estrella at a BBQ, I’d say yes. But I, myself, would not be taking them to said BBQ.

Sammy’s Rating: 51%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I like this beer, and the reason I like this beer is that it transported me to the Spanish sun. A Catalan town square to be more precise, sat there sipping and soaking up the blazing afternoon Spanish rays. Now I wasn’t necessarily expecting this. I have drunk Estrella plenty of times before either from a tin or on tap in a pub, and I had only ever thought that this was a nice enough widely available lager. Never before, from memory anyway, had I popped the top off a 660ml ice cold bottle and poured into this stunning glass. This was also under test conditions so I was very much concentrating.

So the top was off (the bottle that is, I didn’t actually think I was in the Spanish sun, come on) and the beer was poured and the nose coming from my Estrella was surprisingly good for a lager. There were plenty of bubbles running through it making the beer quite the sight. But when taking my eagerly anticipated first sip this brew didn’t come across as too carbonated at all, which was a real surprise. It was smooth, light and refreshing with good amount of flavour running through. Now normally with a lager the taste can fall off a cliff a little once swallowed but Estrella hung around with a solid and reasonably long aftertaste.

All in all this was a beer I enjoyed and would happily drink again most probably on a super sunny day.

 Jymi’s Rating: 76%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 63.5%

MOB review next weekend: SWORDFISH – NAVY WINGS by WADWORTH

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

SATURATED IN MOSAIC

BREWER: Deya, Gloucestershire, England

STYLE: Double IPA

ABV: 8%

VESSEL: 500ml tin

TWITTER: @deyabrewery

INSTAGRAM: deyabrewery

DATE OF POST: 11th July 2021

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

I love single hop beers. They’re great for honing your old buds. But so often, they’re unremarkable.

Here though, the main player is mosaic hop, derived from good old simcoe. And it can pack a punch.

However, Saturated In Mosaic, while brilliantly named and conceived, is somewhat lacking.

I was desperate to love this beer. And while I don’t hate SIM, it’s just not setting the world on fire. It has the sweetness you might expect and although there is some bitterness SIM is lacking in a vessel to carry its flavour. To be blunt, it fizzles out too quickly.

The best way to sum up SIM is simple: admirable, not exceptional.

Great to train your taste buds on though.

Sammy’s Rating: 59%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

This is a fine beer indeed make no mistake! From the get go the sun did shine when it came to this belter of a brew from Cheltenham.

First off the wonderful tropical nose hit me square on the hooter before the beer had even left the tin on it’s way to the glass.

Then, I have to say, the look of this brew in the glass was just mesmeric! So juicy, so thick, so inviting.

Sip one got the heart racing even more. Super soft mouthfeel, I think Deya have the local water to thank for this (that’s not to take away anything from the quality in the brewing). The delicate texture of the sip was also joined by an awesome amount of tropical fruit flavour whilst still remaining light and not feeling anywhere near it’s lofty 8%. Once swallowed slowly but surely a bitterness crept in, which then intensified, and then intensified some more.

IT WAS TIME FOR SIP TWO!!!

Now, after the bitterness in the aftertaste my palate was craving a revisit to the brew. More juiciness was required! Then wait for the bitterness, then go again! However, just before my lips hit the beer for the second time something happened. An overwhelming scent of fresh pineapple juice went flying up my nose! The smell was undeniable. FANTASIC for this to happen mid sip I must say.

I then settled into this single hopped Mosaic brew with a smile on my face enjoying every sip of the drinking journey that Deya were taking me on.

The fact I think Deya’s packaging has been atrocious from day one we will leave to one side for today because folks, if possible, you should source, purchase and savour the delight that is Saturated in Mosaic.

Oh, it comes along in a 500ml vessel too. That is well worthy of a cap doffing.

 Jymi’s Rating: 88%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 73.5%

MOB review next weekend: ESTRELLA DAMM by ESTRELLA DAMM

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017