NZ PALE ALE

BREWER: Cassels, Canterbury, New Zealand

STYLE: Pale Ale

ABV: 5.3%

VESSEL: 330ml tin 

TWITTER: @Cassels_Brewery

INSTAGRAM: casselsbrewingco

DATE OF POST: 14th March 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

A decent beer this but it took me a while to get into it…

See, with Cassels packaging nothing is given away. As far as I know all of their cans are very very similar. So as cool as the packaging is it didn’t really inspire or excite me into this brew. Also the name we have here is just poor, it’s not even a name, just a description. Not that it really matters but again did nothing to inspire or excite. But I did know that I was getting a NZ Pale Ale and that is never a bad thing…

But this did not taste at all like any NZ pales I have had in the past! Which totally threw me if I’m honest and with only 330ml of this brew available I quickly needed to get my head in the game.

Now with a NZ you expect super smooth mouthfeel and an understated hoppy taste, not prominent but lovely. But this offering from Cassels was nothing like that at all. NZP is hop forward! And while the texture of this brew is pleasant it is nowhere near the super soft feel you would expect.

However, once I got my head around NZPA it became clear I was dealing with a tasty drop that would go down a storm in the sun I’m sure.

Jymi’s Rating: 72%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

What’s a New Zealand pale ale? you may wonder. Well, it’s a pale ale brewed with NZ hops. Makes sense really.  Anyway, that’s what we are testing this week. And it’s brewed by Cassels.

There’s something I really like about NZPA. It could be the old school bitter finish. Or it could be the hint of floral notes punctuating the light tropical flavours. Or it could be the lovely crispness. Or it could even be its ridiculously short finish which works very well indeed.

Whatever it is that makes it so, NZPA is an incredible beer. Forget comparing it to IPAs or APAs. It’s just very different. And in a good way.

I’d happily chug one of these down on any occasion.  Can’t wait to get me hands on another to be honest!

Sammy’s Rating: 84%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 78%

MOB review next weekend: CONJUROR by DOLPHIN BREWERY

 

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KITTEN COUNTY

BREWER: Crafty Cats Brewing Company, Berkshire, England

STYLE: Pale Ale

ABV: 4.7%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @craftycatsco

INSTAGRAM: craftycatsbrewing

DATE OF POST: 6th March 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Because I had a part in KC coming to life it is VERY hard to be subjective. Especially when your instant thoughts are that both packaging and beer are really f’ing good! But I’m sorry, they are. And whether you had a hand in it or not, it’s just a fact.

The Crafty Cats can art angle is GENUIS for me. Quirky feline characters giving their beer not just a character but an advantage over other shelf dwellers for not just simply looking awesome, but for being just a little bit different without trying too hard to be zany.

Beer wise what we have here is equally clever…

See, it’s not the greatest beer to ever be swilled but oh my, does it have some supersonic qualities!

The Citra hop level for this pale is absolutely on point. ON POINT. The balance provided by the other hops and additions of oats and wheat combined with the delicate touch in the brewing make this 4.7% brew very very quaffable indeed.

Last October I ran a can bar for a ‘beer fest’ and Kitten County featured alongside some fairly major players in the craft scene. It out sold every other beer by at least 2 : 1

Make of that what you will…

Cats cats cats

Jymi’s Rating: 85%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Kitten County… it sounds like a utopia. Who wouldn’t like to visit Kitten County? But, alas, it’s not a real place. It doesn’t exist on a map.  Fear not though, it does exist in the beer world…

I’ve never smelt the insides of a kitten. Neither have I tasted one. Folks would find me strange if I did. But if I did, just try to imagine for a moment that it’s even possible, I can’t even begin to believe real kittens would be anything like Kitten County. You see, KC is so fresh on the nose it’s a delight. Sure, it’s fruity but it’s light and lemony. And the drinking is so crisp and citrusy it almost defies belief.

I want to say KC is like a lemon beer. But that’s just not doing it justice. The term lemon beer conjures up thoughts of a fruit beer that is awfully brewed with lemon syrup added to paper over all its flaws. What KC is, is a well conceived, well brewed and well delivered beer that culminates in a crescendo of beer lemon heaven.

KC might not be comparable to a kitten ladened utopia. Neither might it be anything like consuming any part of a kitten. But what it most definitely is, is a sublime example of citra beer.

Sammy’s Rating: 91%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 88%

MOB review next weekend: NZ PALE ALE by CASSELS

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TRIS INDIANI

BREWER: Labietis, Riga, Latvia

STYLE: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 0.5l brown bottle 

TWITTER: @Alus_Labietis

INSTAGRAM: labietis

DATE OF POST: 27th February 2022

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Simple can be effective. And so is the case with the label on Tris Indiani. So much so, that it deserves a special mention. It’s not groundbreaking. But it is definitely effective and plucks you in.

Enough waffle  (not the food – the meaningless rambling). Let’s crack her open…

I can’t understand the label on TI. But I do understand that it’s an APA (that part is in English). The nose certainly doesn’t hint at major hoppiness. In fact, while it’s not unpleasant, there’s hardly an odour of note.

And then the drinking – well, it’s ok. Quite sharp at front and then if you sit on it long enough without taking another pull TI gives some subtle floral notes. But nothing to write home about.

All in all, it’s pretty average. Nowt else to say!

Sammy’s Rating: 51%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Everybody should have a GO BAG. OK, maybe I’ve watched too many movies over the years, but everybody should have a GO BAG… Just in case. Just in case of what I’m not too sure, again maybe too many movies, but, just in case.

Of course everybody’s bag will be put together differently and the amount of filthy cash in there will vary depending on what you can afford but below is a guide to some fairly obvious essentials for any GB:

Socks.

£10k cash.

Rolling tobacco.

Fake nose.

$10k cash.

Matches.

Swimming trunks.

Spork.

Toothpicks.

Jumper.

5k cash Brazilian Real.

Fold up brush.

Fake Passport.

Now, I’ll be honest, it’s the fake passport that links this waffle and beer review. See, the name on my fake passport is TRISTAN INDIANI, but my  friends call me Tris.

 

And so to the beer and a first from Latvia for the MOB crew!

First off, AWESOME looking bottle! So simple but fantastic.

Lid lifted and beer poured and the nose was the next thing to please. Again, much like the packaging of this beer, not complex but really delivering. Citrus zings just tempting you in.

Taste wise this brew isn’t gonna knock you off your chair with excitement but it is a really tasty drop. A good citrus vibe kicks around throughout the drinking from that initial sniff, to sip, to TI’s lovely aftertaste. I think for an APA I would like more hop content but all in all  Tris is crisp and crushable and I look forward to one day sipping one in the Riga sun.

Jymi’s Rating: 69%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 60%

 

MOB review next weekend: KITTEN COUNTY by CRAFTY CATS BREWING COMPANY

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BIG POPPA PUMP

BREWER: Brew York, North Yorkshire, England

STYLE: Cyro Pop™ Pale Ale

ABV: 5.5%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @brewyorkbeer

INSTAGRAM: brewyorkbeer

DATE OF POST: 20th February 2022

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

A beer named after a wrestler – who’d of thunk it?  Yet, here it is: Big Poppa Pump. It’s one of Brew York’s Survivor Series, Cryo Pop.

For a beer that’s named after a wrestler, it’s lighter than you might think, or hope for. BPP dances across the tongue rather than body slamming into it (sorry, couldn’t resist). And, although it’s decent enough, it’s not world beating.

The Cryo Hop technique applied here does give some hoppy notes. But you’d expect that it would pop more than it does. Somehow, it tastes manufactured. And that’s a shame because brewing a beer is a natural process.

I’m going to lay it out straight: I am not a fan of this beer. BPP doesn’t improve as you move down the glass. Actually, it gets less enjoyable.

This is not one for me. Despite my initial excitement about BPP I am left somewhat disappointed.

Oh well, it’s only a beer.

Sammy’s Rating: 54%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I was expecting a lot from this beer…

In Brew York I trust. In a hop developed by Yakima Chief Hops I trust (I suppose). In a brew named after wrestling legend Scott Steiner, I trust. And with can art this cool, I trust, though I know it can be foolish to do so.

However this beer has not lived up to expectation. I mean, it is drinkable and pleasant enough but nowhere near the level it should be considering who are involved here.

The hop level isn’t high or intense enough. The body isn’t full enough. The aftertaste dips out far too quickly though does return with a long and rather likeable linger.

All in all the name and tin are fantastic here but the beer itself I’m afraid to say is average. Which is surprising. And considering what you would likely pay for a tin of this (I know we don’t often mention value for money) I would urge potential consumers to look elsewhere.

Jymi’s Rating: 60%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 57%

MOB review next weekend: TRīS INDIĀNI by LABIETIS

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COLD SMASH BEER

BREWER: Cold Town Brewery, Midlothian, Scotland

STYLE: Pale Ale

ABV: 4.1%

VESSEL: 330ml tin

TWITTER: #coldtownbrewery

INSTAGRAM: #coldtownbrewery

DATE OF POST: 13th February 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I’m sorry… I tried to like this beer from start to finish, but it let me down… from start to finish.

I wanted this to work as it’s from a brewer I’ve not heard of until now so naturally want to discover something special. But unfortunately, at every turn thing’s did not go well.

I’m going to have to start with the name… what the fuck is it called? My initial notes called it COLD TOWN BEER as it says that on the tin. My first draft of this post called it COLD SMASH BEER as it says that on the tin as well . Sammy’s review that was emailed to me to upload was titled CHINOOK SMASH PALE as it says that on the tin too!!?  I mean, I was confused but can’t help but feel that it was not my fault.

Moving onto the beer I do admire a single hop and single malt approach as it leaves the brewer nowhere to hide. It’s a brave thing to take on. There have been some outstanding efforts but also some that have left the drinker very much wanting, and I’m afraid to say COLD TOWN BEER / COLD SMASH BEER / CHINOOK SMASH PALE (what is it with this SMASH thing??) is very much the latter.

This is a poor beer I’m sorry to say. The lack of carbonation doesn’t help it from the off. Literally zero aftertaste wasn’t great for this beer when it came to the scoring side of life either. The taste in sip does pass muster but is in and out in a flash. This is where I tried to push through some positivity… but no, I’m sorry, this is just a substandard brew.

Jymi’s Rating: 29%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

So, a single hopped beer (chinook) smashed with Marris otter barley. I love the concept. And that’s exactly what Chinook Smash is.

Whilst there’s not depth in the flavour, the caramel and lemon notes are unmistakable. And the simplicity of the beer makes it an easy drink. It slips down with no complaints.

Look, this is a good beer. It’s just never going to excel because of what it is. CSP is great for cutting your teeth on a single hopped beer. Like similar concept beers, it’ll help hone one’s ability to pick out notes of specific hops.

Also, given this at a social gathering, it’s easy to drink and will provide a discussion point.  But CSP is not one to have for an enjoyable beer of and evening.

In summary, CSP is great for improving tasting skills and slipping down the gullet at a social event. But it’s not particularly one to be enjoyed mulling over life at home.

Sammy’s Rating: 62%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 45.5%

MOB review next weekend: BIG POPPA PUMP by BREW YORK

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HAZY HARE

BREWER: Moon Gazer, Norfolk, England

STYLE: Pale Ale

ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @moongazerale

INSTAGRAM: moongazerale

DATE OF POST: 6th February 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I think, I think, it’s fair to say that 440ml tins of beer are more associated with the modern side of life when it comes to craft beer. The more traditional style of brewing normally get’s served to us in a 500ml glass bottle.

Now what Moon Gazer have done is somehow bring a traditional look to a 440ml can. Pretty clever to be fair, but I’m afraid they have also missed out on the opportunity to produce a really cool looking vessel. See, the top half of the can is very good indeed with all those little hare’s sitting behind the larger more prominent hare. If they had stuck with this for the whole can art it would have been a hats off moment I think. But with the bottom half of the art as it is, I’m just not that much of a fan. It is really confused and clunky.

Beer wise. what was I going to get?

A modern zingy citrus hazy pale. Or a traditional English Pale Ale? I had no idea…

Once sipping it became apparent that it was somewhere in between the two, again pretty clever. But again missing the mark a little. The citrus hoppy upfront flavour certainly nodded to a more craft style but it’s lack of punch and haze made it feel like there were nods to a more traditional beer style too.

A pleasant enough brew but nothing to write home about.

Jymi’s Rating: 53%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

I’ve never met a hazy hare. In fact, I’ve never met a hare. I’d like to. But I’ll settle for Hazy Hare – the beer.  It’s a cracking can, to be fair. Lovey colour combination with a well thought out design.

Anyway. I’m waffling.

Onto the beer.

In a nutshell, HH is a very good beer.

In the glass, it’s pale, as promised. And while it’s not too complex by any stretch of the imagination, there are definitely enough pops and mini explosions of biscuity tropicalness to keep you interested throughout.

Where HH would come into its own would be on a summer’s day. It’s very easy to drink and would keep you refreshed one after another.

Well done.

Sammy’s Rating: 78%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 65.5%

MOB review next weekend: COLD SMASH BEER by COLD TOWN BREWERY

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ROUNDHEAD

BREWER: Two Cocks Brewery, Berkshire, England

STYLE: Bitter

ABV: 4.2%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle 

TWITTER: @TwoCocksBrewery

INSTAGRAM: twococksbrewery

DATE OF POST: 30th January 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

So we are back with our feathered friends Two Cocks Brewery and once again excitement is high! Reason being is that this brewery has made quite the avian footprint (talon print? Chicken paw print? F knows) on Muse on Booze! I’m fairly sure 3 out of the 4 brews we have reviewed from these legends has held top spot at time of review. I should probably check the archives to make sure of this. I know for sure one has, as the impregnable Viscount still sits on top of the lot and has done for 55weeks!!!

FFS, I’m going to have to check the archives aren’t I?!!

Hold up…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right, I’ve got a stitch now…

Leveller was tested on 03.11.17 and was the highest rated beer after testing (84.5%)

Puritan was tested on 08.12.17 and was the highest rated beer after testing (88%)

Viscount was tested on 08.01.21 and was (and still is sitting at number 1) the highest rated beer after testing (96.5%)

Musket was tested on 27.06.21 and didn’t ever sit atop o’tree but still smaaaaaashed it! (87.5%)

 

So the pressure was steeped high on Roundhead, but not the brewery as they have nothing to prove to me whatsoever.

Here goes…

Ok, it’s not hit top spot, but beating 96 point flippin 5 is no mean feat!

However, Roundhead unsurprisingly is a really, really nice beer.

Solid as it comes this and any traditional beer drinker would give a nod of approval here. If they were in company I would imagine statements like “serious pint that Ralph” and “that is a beauty Peter” would be uttered. And those statements would be more than true.

A proper solid bitter with a malty biscuit backbone that will keep you coming back for more.

Feathered cap doffed YET. A. GAAAAIN.

Jymi’s Rating: 82%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

I’m always excited before I dive into a Two Cocks beers. It’s strange, because I know I’ll never be disappointed. And so it is with Roundhead, a best bitter from the brewers in Newbury.

Roundhead is so well balanced with a slight sweetness giving way to a pleasant, medium bitterness. The hint of caramel throughout is delightful. All in all, it’s another wonderful beer from this brewery, which is just a pleasure to drink.

While it might be thin and uncomplicated, it’s so drinkable and light. The coating Roundhead gives your mouth is awesome. You just want to keep on going back for more. And more. And more. This beer would be well placed anytime of year. It’s surprisingly refreshing on a warmer day.

If you haven’t ventured into the heady world of Two Cocks yet, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start at all. Roundhead is likely to please a wide range of beer drinkers.

Once again, great job!

Sammy’s Rating: 85%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 83.5%

MOB review next weekend: HAZY HARE by MOON GAZER

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HOFBRAU DUNKEL

BREWER: Hofbräu, Bavaria, Germany

STYLE: Dunkel

ABV: 5.5%

VESSEL: 0.5l

TWITTER: #hofbrau

INSTAGRAM: hofbraeuhaus_muenchen

DATE OF POST: 23rd January 2022

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Hofbrau is a big brewing house that’s a fact. It has a formidable presence in the German world of beers. And ergo, the world of beers in general. Having given such an intro, they could have done a little better with the packaging on this beer. I mean, I love a trad approach to marketing but put a little effort into it…

Dunkel smells dark. It’s got a strong caramel aroma. The darkness and the caramel work well in tandem, giving an enticing lead in to the beer…

But, alas, there the intrigue and mystique ends.

You see, it’s quite light in the mouth for a dark beer. And dare I say it, Dunkel is lacking a little punch in the taste department. No I do dare say it: it’s lacking body and spirit. That’s not to say it’s bad. It’s just a bit of an anti-climax.

To be honest, what it feels like has happened here is that Dunkel has been toned down to appeal to the mass market. And that’s a shame. Because it’s become very mediocre in the process.

Not bad by any of the stretch of the imagination. But not good either.

Sammy’s Rating: 55%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

It was the traditional Sausage and Mash that I ordered. As did the dude to my left. As well as the 30 lads and lasses to his left. To my right it was a similar story but my eyes were foggy and the table was long so I could be wrong. Either way, there were a lot of people, even more meat n spuds and EVEN MORE BEER on the table I was sitting at at the legendry haunt that is the Hofbrauhaus in Munich. The beer was flowing and the atmosphere was pumping and it wasn’t long before my food was in front of me. My man to my left, let’s call him Larry, received his scran at the same time as me. It wasn’t long before he had a knife load of something up in my face asking… Is this cheese? I looked at Larry, well I tried to, and said, have you sniffed it? He had not and proceeded to do so…

Smells like cheese, said Larry and proceeded to eat the whole knife full, no banger, no spud, pure cheese…

But it was not cheese… It was freshly grated horseradish.

Though I really did try not to laugh at what happened next it was literally impossible. Larry, I’m sorry, and may God be with you all these years on as I assume you are still getting over what happened that day. F**k me, proper funny, I’m crying with laughter again now just thinking about it.

Anyway, here I am today faced with this Dunkel and the first thing that fills my heart with joy is seeing that iconic brauhaus on the label. Do not get me wrong, the label on the face of it looks shit, but add what it’s all about and for me it’s cracking. And I have to say, even though this beer is fairly straight forward, which is not necessarily a criticism, I flippin’ love it!

The dark cherry red appearance in the glass, the fabulous cherry fruit nose, the smooth and not too carbonated texture for a lager, the deep winter fruit taste…

I just really enjoyed this beer from start to finish I have to say.

Hold the horseradish – bring on the cheese…

Actually, bring on the horseradish too, fk it.

Jymi’s Rating: 84%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 69.5%

MOB review next weekend: ROUNDHEAD by TWO COCKS BREWERY

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PORTHLEVEN

BREWER: Skinner’s Brewery, Cornwall, England

STYLE: Pale Ale

ABV: 4.8%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @Skinnersbrewery

INSTAGRAM: skinnersbrewery

DATE OF POST: 16th January 2022

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Porthleven is a town in Cornwall. Now, it’s also a beer because the beer is named after the town. And that’s a fact. There you go folks.

Porthleven (the beer, not the town) is zesty, floral and light. Sounds great. Well, it would be if there were more complexity or body to bulk it out. As it is, it’s very drinkable but very unremarkable.

Now, Porthleven, the town that is, is a beautiful place. It’s somewhere that one would be able to go back to time and again and never tire. It really is worth the visit. And it’s definitely worthy of having a beer named after it. It would be nice if that beer were a little more special.

Oh well…

Sammy’s Rating: 61%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I’m not entirely sure what it is…

The colours on the label of Porthleven are great. Vibrant, yet somehow dark. Big fan. The artwork is cracking too. Anything that resembles Ricky from Trailer Park Boys on a board is going to be a big hit with me. I also LOVE the crest of the wave, that isn’t backed up with the head on this beer but from a pure visual standpoint, I love it.

However, I just was not that much of a fan of the overall appearance of the bottle. How can you like all factors of the packaging A LOT but not be a fan of the actual packaging?? Question for the experts that one as it is way beyond me.

Just before popping P the whole Untameable Pale Ale hook line got to me a bit I have to say. I mean, what the F does that even mean?? If it was 11.5% then ok, let’s talk untameable. If it knew it was carbonated beyond belief and would take the nose off of any unsuspecting lid lifter then ok, untameable. Dunno, it’s all just hot air sometimes… bit like this blog #eyeemoji

But to the beer we go and Jymi boy is a fan! The first thing that struck me was… you can tell this is a Skinnner’s brew! I then had to work out why you could tell it was a product of this fine Cornish brewery (again, an expert here would be good). Ultimately, I put it down to the mouthfeel and not the taste. Betty Stoggs and Lushingtons felt the same to me but certainly did not taste the same so it had the be the texture. That Cornish water they use has to have something to do with it, it has to (water purity expert anywhere? No? Ok).

All in all this beer didn’t blow me away but I did really enjoy it. It is light, refreshing and crisp. Alright, there isn’t too much going on complexity wise but once you got into a few of this very drinkable Pale you would do well to tame it.

Ahhhhh…

Jymi’s Rating: 74%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 67.5%

MOB review next weekend: HOFBRAU DUNKEL by HOFBRAU

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SKYLAB

BREWER: Dark Star Brewing Co., West Sussex, England

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 4.2%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @Darkstarbrewco

INSTAGRAM: darkstarbrewco

DATE OF POST: 9th January 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I’m fairly sure we have all had those dog shit days at work followed by a journey home that really takes the piss after an already challenging day…

I hate the term, it’s just one of those days, because it’s not, it’s just about how you are felling on said day and how the negative stuff gets to you, or not as the case may be.

However, the day I had when I first met Skylab for the first time was a genuine fu**er. I won’t go into the ins and outs but the day at work could have been better and on the journey home I hit 7/7 red lights as well as queuing for 20 mins to buy a savoy cabbage.

But Skylab did greet me upon my return home. And I enjoyed it, quite a lot actually. The mini review in my head went…

Awful can, is this a rebrand? Trying VERY hard. Really nice brew though.

And I left it there.

Fast forward 8 weeks to today and I have Skylab by Asahi owned Dark Star sitting in front of me ready to go under the MOB nose officially.

My thoughts on the tin haven’t changed. I do admire the bold let’s shake this up angle and the brewery name and logo do stand out VERY well. The general artwork is also pretty cool but personally as a whole I’m not a fan. Good concept gone bad I fear.

And unfortunately the beer under test conditions only came out as average too. It’s nice, it is. And it ticks all the boxes for a session IPA with the HOP TRIO of Simcoe, Columbus and Mosaic on show. But it’s just a little underwhelming and obvious for me.

Out of this world beer it is not.

Jymi’s Rating: 61%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

When your strap line is ‘Out of This World Beer’, you are setting a high bench mark by which to be judged. And that’s exactly what Dark Star has done with Skylab!

The packaging is quite clearly out of this world. Well, it’s a space scene. That’s one box successfully ticked.

But beers are not about their cans, just like books are not about their covers. And sadly, if Skylab were a book, it would not be living up to the promised out of this worldliness.

Don’t get me wrong, Skylab is not in anyway bad. It’s crisp and has a sharp fizz finish. It’s just very… average. And average in craft IPA world ain’t going to get you very far.

That being said, I’d still happily chug one down if offered at a party.

Sammy’s Rating: 65%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 63%

MOB review next weekend: PORTHLEVEN by SKINNER’S BREWERY

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