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

 

HUCKABACK

BREWER: Salt Beer Factory, West Yorkshire, England

STYLE: New England IPA

ABV: 5.5%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @SaltBeerFactory

INSTAGRAM: saltbeerfactory 

DATE OF POST: 4th July 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

There is normally a lot to enjoy from the visual of a tin of Salt. The 330 tins have always looked bright and different in their design without being quirky. The info given behind the name of the brewery and the names of the beers is interesting and just nice to know. However, with this tin of Huckaback from a visual standpoint things were not all well. See this honeycomb design of Salts just doesn’t look as good in 440 form for me. Nor do I particularly like the colour. It’s very dark and housing a NEIPA that should be bright and light, I’m not sure the design team have particularly nailed this one if I’m honest. The fact the tin also explains phonetically how to pronounce Huckaback is fairly hilarious too!

Moving onto the beer itself although the initial sips are pleasant, tasty in fact, the body and longevity of this NEIPA are severely lacking. It tastes good at first but then everything just falls away. There is no punch, no bite, no personality. There is the classic tropical nose and classic sweetness in the sip which is synonymous with this style. This does help Huckaback along a little but it all comes back to the severe lack of SOMETHING once the initial sip is done. It feels like maybe the ABV should be higher, but to be fair at 5.5% it should be plenty strong enough. This is where the brewer needs to step up I’m afraid.

Pleasant, but lacking.

Jymi’s Rating: 60%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

They say you can’t have too much of a good thing. And, for many things, that’s true. We could spend a long time listing them. Then revisiting the list. And then change it, only to revisit it once again and… well, you get the picture.

And so, the modern style IPA market, which Huckaback broadly fits into, has many a good beer in it; we definitely can’t get enough of them. But what we can have enough of, perhaps, is too many of them. You see, what begins to happen is the lesser ones on the market pale into insignificance.

And so it is with Huckaback. It’s not a terrible beer. It’s light tropical nose is pleasant enough. It’s crisp light and easy to drink.

The thing is, it’s just not doing much. It’s disappears into nothingness. It’s over before it’s begun.

Alas, while not terrible, Huckaback is by no stretch of the imagination good. It’s uncomplicated existence will be unlikely to leave a mark on those that it crosses.

Sammy’s Rating: 63%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 61.5%

MOB review next weekend: SATURATED IN MOSAIC by DEYA

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

MUSKET

BREWER: Two Cocks Brewery, Berkshire, England

STYLE: Bitter

ABV: 3.8%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @TwoCocksBrewery

INSTAGRAM: twococksbrewery

DATE OF POST: 27th June 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Now, now now, Two Cocks have quite the history with Muse on Booze, you can delve into the archives to find out more but let’s just say it is a very positive one! NO.1

So along comes Musket and I have to say it took me aback a little. It looks great, both in bottle and glass. It smells lovely. You could drink it until the cows come home, go out again (wherever that may be) and then come home again. It is very smooth in texture and mouthfeel. The name of the beer is just fantastic. And well, it tastes great!

So why taken aback?…

Well TCB are not exactly famed for being a weird and whacky brewery, however the beers we have reviewed by them have had a certain quirk and difference to them. Musket does not. It’s straight shooting (wow, that genuinely wasn’t supposed to be a pun and even if it was, straight shooting and Muskets don’t exactly belong in the same sentence). I digress…

Basically what I am trying to say is that Musket isn’t all singing and all dancing. It is just an very good Bitter indeed and there really is nothing wrong with that.

Jymi’s Rating: 83%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Two Cocks make some awesome beers. There’s no two ways about it. Their reimagining of trad beers is welcome on the scene.

With Musket, they have once again not disappointed. This lightly carbonated bitter is a pleasure to drink. It’s medium bodied drinking experience is incredibly refreshing. The toffee notes and mild bitterness just serve to improve the drinking experience. As with all Two Cocks beers, Musket is well brewed and well balanced.

Although it’s a bitter, this ale would be equally comfortable on a hot summer’s day as it would a cold winter’s night.  In fact, picture yourself anywhere and you’d be able to enjoy one of these.

Well done once again Two Cocks. You never fail to push the boundaries. In the good way, of course.

Sammy’s Rating: 92%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 87.5%

MOB review next weekend: HUCKABACK by SALT

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

LEMON & LIME FRUIT LAGER

BREWER: Kopparberg, Örebro County, Sweden

STYLE: Lager

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 500ml clear bottle

TWITTER: @kopparberguk

INSTAGRAM: kopparberguk

DATE OF POST: 20th June 2021

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

We all know this brewery for its fruit cider and that cider is uber sweet.  I am not the biggest fan of sweet beers. So, understandably, I approach this Fruit Lager with trepidation.

Where to start…

Well, let’s sum it up in a sentence: Fruit Lager is very drinkable but it is not a well brewed beer.

It has the potential to get many a person in deep trouble due to it’s shandy like drinkability compared with its relative strength.

Other than that, I have nothing to say about this.  I wouldn’t go out of your way to try it.

Sammy’s Rating: 42%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Ok, lets get one thing straight…

This is a very poor beer. You can tell that no care whatsoever has been put into this brew and you wouldn’t really expect there to be to be fair, what with it being brewed by the monster that is Kopparberg.

However, for all of it’s flaws, and there are many… There is a way to enjoy this beer.

See, even though the brew is terrible, the drink itself actually tastes fine for what it is. It tastes like a shandy with a hint of lemon running through it. Now, if someone said to me…

“Jymi, do you like the taste of shandy with a little lemon running through the middle”?

I would respond

“Yes I do”.

It would be something I would very rarely drink but right place and right time a shandy can be delightful.

The trouble is this is not supposed to be a shandy, it is supposed to be a 5% lager! And this my friends is where things could get very messy very quickly.

This is the type of drink that could end up in front of you on a scorching summers afternoon whilst sitting in a lovely beer garden. You didn’t order it, your pal did and you have no idea what it is. Due to its sweet and refreshing nature after 3 sips and 18 seconds you look down and you have already finished it and another pal has done the same and already ordered you and them another. Repeat this a few times and fast forward 51 minutes and before you know it you’ve rolled into the picturesque canal that runs by the side of the lovely beer garden and you are being fished out by several members of the local canoe club. All this takes place in front of  many families just trying to have a nice afternoon meal in the sunshine.

See, a 5% lager should not taste like a lemon and lime shandy. It just shouldn’t. And as enjoyable as this would be in the sun it’s hard to even classify it as a beer really.

Jymi’s Rating: 45%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 43.5%

MOB review next weekend: MUSKET by TWO COCKS BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

BUTCOMBE GOLD

BREWER: Butcombe Brewing Co., Bristol, England

STYLE: Golden Ale

ABV: 4.4%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @ButcombeBrewery

INSTAGRAM: butcombe

DATE OF POST: 13th June 2021

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Gold sits in a competitive golden ale market, which has had some strong hands played over the last few years. Will it stand up to the market? I hear you ask.

Straight off, it has floral botanic nose, which is light and incredibly pleasant. This conjures up thoughts of freshly mown lawns on a spring day. It’s simple but effective.

Fuggles hops are evidently present and the malt tones are easily identifiable. All in all, this makes for a lightly bittered golden ale that packs a good sweet aftertaste. The grassy notes are pleasant upfront and these then give way to a caramel creaminess.

Gold has a great mouthfeel, which is light bodied making it a refreshing brew.

Despite not being complex and quite light, It’s well balanced and a pleasant drink overall.

Let’s be clear, this is a good beer, which is surprisingly floral for a British ale.  It would sit well in any beer line up and would satisfy many a thirsty palate. However, as previously mentioned, Gold has many competitors for the golden ale crown and while it might not disappoint on any level, it’s not the best there is.

Sammy’s Rating: 73%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

To be honest with you Butcombe have never really put a foot wrong with the beers of theirs that I’ve sampled. Whether it was pint in pub, a bottle at neighbours house or testing for Muse on Booze, Butcombe have always nailed it.

Now for me with Gold they have still not put a foot wrong but not necessarily hit their normal dizzy heights.

Gold begins with a cracking though relatively simple Lemon nose. That nose immediately transfers through to the taste in the mouth. The aftertaste is then very pleasant but certainly short lived. And you know what. As for the drinking experience there really isn’t much more to say about this Golden Ale. It’s simple and to the point. It tastes good and you could while away an afternoon quite easily with it as your companion. Even with the weather warm sitting outside or cozied by a fire indoors Gold would work.

Don’t expect fireworks, this a just a decent beer.

Jymi’s Rating: 77%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 75%

MOB review next weekend: LEMON & LIME FRUIT LAGER by KOPPARBERG

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

NADA

BREWER: Polly’s, Flintshire, Wales

STYLE: Double IPA

ABV: 8%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @pollysbrewco

INSTAGRAM: pollysbrewco

DATE OF POST: 6th June 2021

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Nada fits into a place in the beer world where there are many competitors. Like any product that sits in a crowded market, it has to be different to do well. And different does not necessarily mean better. It needs to have something that just sets it aside from the rest. You know, something to make it memorable.

Although Polly’s produce some great beers, Nada, sadly, is not one of them. It’s good. But it has no je ne sais quoi. If you want an analogy, you might like to call it ploddy in a sprint.

It’s hazy in the glass and this makes Nada look class. The dank tropical notes, leaning towards mango, are also pleasant. But the drinking, which has enough bitterness, leave you wanting more in the flavour department. While it’s not unpleasant, there is just no force driving Nada on.

You won’t dislike Nada. You possibly won’t have your love for it kindled either.

Good old hazy glass look – class

Sammy’s Rating: 68%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Things I absolutely adore about this beer:

The packaging – Even though Beavertown have gorn all Heineken on us, their packaging as a whole is still fantastic. Two Cocks Brewery in Berkshire also have utterly sensational looking bottles for their traditional beer. This particular tin of Polly’s for me is up there with the VERY best. Colours, tone, subtlety… This tin has it ALL! It looks gorgeous.

The nose – wow, the experience for the olfactory from the second you pop this pup until the brew is done is INCREDIBLE! The sweet tropical lychee is just so alluring.

The mouthfeel – It is just plain to see that from the texture in mouth this beer has been brewed to the highest level.

The thing I really like about this beer:

The taste – So many fruit notes to pick up on. Juicy on the cheeks with a dank bitter finish, this beer is full on! Because of it’s intensity it took a while to get into but once there Jymi was a happy chappy.

Things I don’t particularly like about this beer:

The intensity – This is very much a slow sipper because of the aforementioned intensity. However, the tropical yet bitter fruit flavour is just too good to only have one or maybe two. It left me wanting more but unable to have more.

The name – Nada? Great sounding word yes, but it means NOTHING… Why would you call a beer Nothing Pollys? I just don’t get it, sorry.

But all in all, a cracker of a brew!

Jymi’s Rating: 84%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 76%

MOB review next weekend: GOLD by BUTCOMBE BREWING CO. 

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

WEST INDIES PORTER

BREWER: Guinness, Leinster, Ireland

STYLE: Porter

ABV: 6%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @GuinnessIreland

INSTAGRAM: guinness

DATE OF POST: 30th May 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Well after last week’s predictable greatness I have to say I was more than excited to get stuck into the iteration that was sent west from Dublin. Similar to an IPA leaving English shores set for India in the days for the British Raj the Guinness leaving St James’ Gate on its way to the Caribbean was brewed stronger so the beer could withstand the long journey across the Atlantic.

With it’s origins in an 1801 entry in Guinness’ brewers diaries this West Indies Porter was inspired by the first brew purposely brewed at St. James’s Gate to retain freshness ready for its long journey ahead.

Upon tasting I really think my one word notes in my book pretty much told the story of what was going on with this brew… well other than the last word. Crickey.

SMOOTH

BOOZY

CLOYING

CHOCOLATE

SESSIONABLE

A prominent chocolate nose gives way to a lovely smooth yet strong tasting Porter. This smoothness does lead you down the ‘I could sink a few of these path’ but the strength in taste does keep reminding you that you probably shouldn’t!

I like this drink a lot. It is very different to its home bird brother in Guinness Original, but you can still tell it has come out of St. James’s gate.

Jymi’s Rating: 79%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Here we are; week 2 of our first linked review. This week, it’s  Guinness’s West Indies Porter’s (WIP) turn to come under the microscope.

Straight up, the packaging is a hit. I love the retro front label. It sets it aside from Guinness Original (GO), but there’s most definitely the same brand feeling going on.

And the nose, well there’s no mistaking it’s Porter original and this stands in contrast to GO.  It’s mellow but still earthy. Not being at all overpowering or complex, the coffee notes are unmistakable.  This mellowness continues through to the drinking. It’s slightly sharp and bitter up front, giving way to toffee mellowness.  All through, the hint of hops treads lightly on the tongue.

This is definitely different to GO. It’s more mellow and slips away easy. But the thing is, they’re both good mass produced beers.

If you want something a little more punchy, then GO is your go to (get it). For mellow notes, stick to WIP. But you won’t go wrong with either.

Sammy’s Rating: 85%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 82%

MOB review next weekend: NADA by POLLYS

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

GUINNESS ORIGINAL

BREWER: Guinness, Leinster, Ireland

STYLE: Stout

ABV: 4.2%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @GuinnessIreland

INSTAGRAM: guinness

DATE OF POST: 23rd May 2021

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Ok, so over the next two weeks, we are doing a linked review. We will be testing Guinness Original this week, then onto West Indies Export next week. The aim will be to do more of these in the future. The idea is that GO will provide the benchmark to compare the export with.

There’s no escaping the domination that Guinness has on the stout market. It has to be said it’s clear to see why. Whether it be an original or a draught, there’s something so earthy and hearty about Guinness, it has defined the stout taste. Others have come and gone but they have fallen in the wake of the giant. While there are now many small scale breweries doing astonishing stouts, there is only one name in the macro business.

GO is a nostalgic beer for me. When my parents first permitted me to have the odd beer, this was one of the mainstays. And for that reason I find I have a soft spot for it. Whether that distorts my perception of it or not, I cannot say. What I can say, is that GO is an earthy and warming stout. It’s fairly light bodied, not complicated on the palate and easy to drink. It conjures up memories of festive seasons by the fire. Or rugby matches endured in the cold.

GO’s roasted malted barley really does make it a fantastic mouthful. It packs flavour and reassures the soul.

I know there’ll be many a critic. I know there’s better, more considered brewed stouts out there. But there’s something just so, Guinness about it. And for me, it pulls on the heart strings.

Sammy’s Rating: 85%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I used to be pretty slick as a teenager…

Now I’m not talking leather jacket and toothpick slick, no no.

I’m not even talking getting insured on your Mum’s Gold VW Passat GT for a day so you could drive to a party slick.

I’m talking wearing chunky fluorescent yellow ski socks to school kinda slick. There were all the do as you’re told kids in their grey numbers, walking in grids with no expression. Whilst Jymi would be meandering free between them in his bright yet warm socks.

On one particular day there was an event after school, literally no clue what it was I’m afraid. However this event involved parents and guardians coming along and drink was available. Now judging by the photos I’m fairly sure me and my two chums (Sammy being one of them) were drinking openly, so I’m assuming it was allowed but anything is possible I guess. What is also apparent from the pictures is that I was drinking Guinness Original out of a bottle whilst my mates were on lager. And I remember why… it was because I was so fu**ing cool. The fact it was warm and nothing like the chilled draught stuff I had tried before didn’t matter. I was cool. I was different. I had very bright socks on. All was well.

It tasted like totally s**t that night but I’m sure that was just me because what I’m drinking here now is nothing short of lovely. Nowadays I’m definitely still more versed on Draught Guinness but this has a touch more elegance and refinement about it for me. The nose, sip and mouthfeel are just divine and unmistakably Guinness. There is something about it that makes you want another which is also unmistakably, Guinness.

All in all this is just a champion brew with an unrivalled name and you can see why.

Seriously looking forward to the West Indies porter next week… the one that got sent overseas all the way back when.

Jymi’s Rating: 81%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 83%

MOB review next weekend: WEST INDIES PORTER by GUINNESS

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017