HOBGOBLIN IPA

BREWER: Wychwood Brewery, Oxfordshire, England

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 5.3%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @HobgoblinBeer

INSTAGRAM: #hobgoblin

DATE OF POST: 6th February 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

From memory anyway, it seems that once I had reached an age to legally go for a drink in a pub it was all Hobgoblin this and Hobgoblin that. Whether it was Twickenham, Staines or Reading it was…

‘Jymi, you coming down the Hob’?

Where shall we meet tonight? Hob?

Game of pool up the Hob this arvo?

These days soon faded away as did the chain (though from a quick search on the world wide google there are still a few Hobgoblin Pubs knocking around). But the beer from Wychwood Brewery remains. Now I don’t remember the quality of their beer form those pub years but the beer I’m supping on now is pretty decent you know. It’s very easy to get hold of and is very much a mass produced IPA brewed for multiple supermarket shelves. This does not have to mean it’s a bad beer though. There is a nice bitter citrus tone to this brew and it is good and zesty in the sip. It is a very easy drinker and though not many would shout from the rooftops about it I don’t think many would turn their nose up either.

A more than drinkable everyday traditional IPA.

Jymi’s Rating: 67%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Hobgoblin has been knocking around for a long time.  It was here before many of the current beers experiencing success.  And to be fair, you can understand why it has endured.  You see, it most definitely does have a modern twang to it, but it also appeals to more traditional beer drinkers.

While the packaging and whole marketing campaign might not be cutting edge, Wychwood Brewery most definitely let the beer do the talking.  

Hobgoblin is well balanced.  Hoppy on the nose, which carried through into the drinking.  The bitterness hits you straight up and comes through strong in the finish.  While some may find this bitter punch a little too much in an IPA, I think it works well.  It shows much thought has gone into this brew, which to be fair is well balanced and easy in the mouth.

Hobgoblin is no shrinking violet and it should be commended for being cutting edge before its time.  Sure, other brews may have surpassed it in excellence now, and there’s much competition out there, but this remains a solid beer, which will likely continue doing well.

Sammy’s Rating: 74%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 70.5% 

MOB review next weekend: THE THINGS YUZU TO ME by BREW YORK

@museonbooze – TWITTER

 

YOU MAY SAY I’M A DREAMER

BREWER: Arbor Ales, Bristol, England

STYLE: Amber Ale

ABV: 4.6%

VESSEL: 568ml tin (one pint)

TWITTER: @ArborAles

INSTAGRAM: arbor.ales

DATE OF POST: 31st January 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Before even popping this tin open there are two pretty large talking points.

John Lennon

Pint can

Not often mentioned together I would imagine.

So the name of this beer is lifted from the song Imagine. The 1971 track by my second favourite* Beatle, John Lennon.  I have to admit, I don’t really get it if I’m honest. It is a decent idea but I think I would feel a bit daft waltzing up to a bar and ordering a beer with such a name.

Onto the Pint can. Not 330ml, not 440ml and not even 500ml. Nope, 568ml, one whole bleedin pint!!! Now this is an absolute master stoke of a marketing move. Same price, more beer. The design of the label is bold and simple and the tin is flipping massive so stands tall against all of its competitors. And as I said, YOU GET MORE BEER!! Let’s just hope it is more GOOD beer then shall we…

Well, it is really good in fact. A lovely tropical nose makes its way to you whilst you’re filling your massive glass with juicy amber ale. Fifteen minutes later when pour into glass is complete it’s time to admire just how good this brew looks once in it’s vessel for consumption. It looks so thick and juicy. Nothing changes going into the drinking phase, still plenty of tropical tones kicking around and the beer remains thick and juicy in the mouth, at first. See, once swallowed everything begins to thin out a little. That did disappoint me but in saying that it could well be necessary. See without it thinning out it may all get a bit too much. But because it does another tin of YMSIAD becomes very tempting once you’ve finished your first.

(*let’s just say my favourite Beatle isn’t flippin Macca or Ringo)

Jymi’s Rating: 81%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

If you’ve ever read Harry Potter, then you’d have heard of butter beer.  Now, I know these books have been made into films, so there are many images now available of the aforementioned butter beer. However, these are images translated from someone else’s point of view.  In my opinion, if I were to say what butter beer looks like, then You May Say I’m A Dreamer is exactly how I’d describe it.  It’s mid-dark coloured (think toffee) and is nice and cloudy.  Just to be clear, I think it looks incredible.

But even before you pour YMSIAD into the glass to be wowed by its resemblance to butter beer, you are faced with a can that has clearly had a huge amount of thought go into it.  And I love the design of this can label.  Also, it’s worth a mention that the can has a pint’s worth of beer in it.  

So, clearly a good start for YMSIAD.

I’m pleased to report that things continue on an upward trajectory as you pile into your supping.  YMSIAD is like a modern IPA, but this is hardly surprising considering the hops that have been used.  Its’s sharp upfront, not in a sour way, but in way that I’m happy with for such a brew.  Then, a pleasant bitterness washes away the sharpness for a great finish.  Through it all, there’s a slight tropical sweetness, which gives it a great rounded overall drinking experience.  It’s a well-balanced beer and is incredibly pleasant on the palate and fantastic in the mouth.

YMSIAD is a great beer.  It would work as well for a beginner to the modern beer world as it would for a seasoned pro.  

Sammy’s Rating: 88%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 84.5%

 

MOB review next weekend: HOBGOBLIN IPA by WYCHWOOD BREWERY

http://www.museonbooze.com

 

PISTON BROKE

BREWER: Box Steam Brewery, Wiltshire, England

STYLE: Golden Ale

ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @BoxBrew

INSTAGRAM: boxsteambrewery

DATE OF POST: 22nd January 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

After you’re through the slightly odd writings about Brunel and him having a piston break due to damp conditions and then moving not very seamlessly on to tell us that Goldings and Casacade hops never fail whatever the weather the drinker is free to move on and drink this rather tasty ale.

Forgetting the non event of the nose Piston Broke gets straight down to business. There is a good robust and full hoppy flavour up front. This should make most drinkers of this Golden Ale sit back and produce a nod of approval, as it did me. So many beers in this bracket waddle along and end up just being average. Not bad, but certainly not good. PB does not fall into to this bracket. It’s good, it is very good in fact. The hop combination delivers what is promised and in no time the consumer would be heading back for another I am sure of it. And all backed up with a pretty interesting label and cool little name. What is not to like really.

Nice work indeed Box Steam Brewery.

Jymi’s Rating: 83%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

I’m going to cut to the chase; Piston Broke is a very good beer indeed.  Alright, the packaging could be brushed up on and the concept is a little off the wall.  But it’s not about that, it’s about the taste.  And with PB, the taste is great…

This golden ale has a pleasant sweetness that rolls around the tongue before the light bitterness comes in.  Piston Broke is well brewed and well balanced.  It does all the things that you want a golden ale to do.  And it’s not a shrinking violet either.  It has something about it that makes you keep reaching for more.

There are many great golden ales out there.  Piston Broke just added their name to that list.

Sammy’s Rating: 88%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 85.5% 

MOB review next weekend: YOU MAY SAY I’M A DREAMER by ARBOR

FOLLOW US!!!

INSTA: muse.on.booze

TWITTER: @museonbooze

 

HOPERATION IPA

BREWER: Arkell’s, Wiltshire, England

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 4.2%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @ArkellsBrewery

INSTAGRAM: arkellsbrewery

DATE OF POST: 15th January 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

It didn’t take long for the initial promise of this beer to dissipate. The name had game, the label was pretty cool and the description of what the drinker should expect from the beer sounded lovely… citrus, dry and orange.

However, the name after pondering it for a seconds grew to be a little obvious and irritating. The factory scene of a label remained pretty cool but suddenly I felt like it could have been better and the taste, well the taste was very underwhelming. Not unpleasant, just underwhelming.

The name Hoperation IPA then began to grind my gears even more… See it doesn’t taste much like an IPA but more a classic English Pale. It’s not Hoppy enough, not strong enough and not interesting enough to call itself Hoperation IPA.

Though perfectly drinkable, it is not really for me this one.

Jymi’s Rating: 57%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

First things first, what an incredible name!  It smacks of a beer that’s going to throw its weight around in the heady world of hoppiness.  While I get the packaging, it’s not really hitting the mark for me.  Having said this, it does tie in with the theme of the ‘Hoperation’, and so it’s clear that much thought has gone into the whole marketing campaign that supports this beer.  Great concept!

The nose is pleasant but super faint and quickly evaporates.  It doesn’t instil much confidence that the beer will live up to its namesake.

And sadly, thus it’s the nose, not the whole PR, that is the best lead into what Hoperation tastes like.  It’s pleasant and light but it’s so, well, beige.  The hoppy notes that I was expecting just never transpire and this is disappointing. Then, there’s the aftertaste, which has waved its goodbyes before it has even arrived.  The hint of clementine flashes across the palate but that’s about all you’re going to get for flavour.  

In the mouth, Hoperation is skeletal.  It doesn’t hold much body.  It slinks away quicker than a rat up a drainpipe.

All in all, Hoperation is a let-down.  It’s by no means terrible.  It just doesn’t have much about it.

Great concept.  Not so great in the delivery.

Sammy’s Rating: 65%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 61% 

MOB review next weekend: PISTON BROKE by BOX STEAM BREWERY

TWITTER: @museonbooze

 

 

 

1643 VISCOUNT

BREWER: Two Cocks Brewery, Berkshire, England

STYLE: Golden Ale

ABV: 5.6%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @TwoCocksBrewery

INSTAGRAM: twococksbrewery

DATE OF POST: 8th January 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

There was positivity in the air from the get go when I settled down to test Viscount. I have always been a huge fan of Two Cocks brewery which is obvious from my writings on Leveller and Puritan a few years ago. So I was fairly sure I was going to be getting a decent beer here, just how decent was the question. Going into a review already being a fan of a brewery does bring added pressure however as if standards have dipped huge disappointment may only be moments away.

And before moving on to the beer I have to take a moment to once again absorb just how utterly spectacular the packaging for these Two Cocks brews actually is. In a crowded market where all brewers are scrambling to find an edge on those beer shelves with mad designs, wild names and all manner of other tricks – Two Cocks just saunter along with their actual feathers, plonk themselves down and just blow EVERYTHING else out the water. I doff my feathered hat to them once more.

Moving to the beer itself I’m actually going to quote the information on the label to help us along…

An unusual light golden ale that crosses the boundaries of beer /wine/cider in taste. The lightest of malts combined with the scarce Nelson Sauvin hop and a process that includes a piggyback fermentation deliver an ale with low bitterness and a complex fruit character.   

Ok, instantly my interest was piqued as the thought of a beer wine cider type brew done by an already trusted brewer sounded, well interesting if not bleedin’ amazing! The fact Nelson Sauvin was involved just helped things along nicely. You know what, I’m going to stop going on…

This beer is FANTASTIC!!! The dryness of wine, the fruitiness of cider and a soft hop background just make 1643 Viscount a thing of absolute beauty.

And there is nothing more to say.

Jymi’s Rating: 94%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Perfection in one’s field is near on impossible, if not completely impossible, to reach.  However, if you were going to put your money on a team doing it, then Two Cocks Brewery would be a sensible way forward, certainly in the beer world anyway.  

Let me give you a fact: 1643 Viscount is an incredible beer.  Make no mistake about it.  It’s a golden ale with the most amazing nose, which is sweet, light and citrusy.  This gives an insight into the impeccably brewed beer that sits behind the aroma.  

In the drinking, it’s light, but not so light as to not pack a punch.  Viscount is perfectly balanced with a light sweetness upfront and a light bitterness following behind.  It dances on the palate for just the right amount of time and disappears just in time for the next sip, when the experience begins again.

My one complaint about Viscount is that it should be sold by the bucket load, not just your standard 500ml bottle.  It really is that good.  

If you’re looking for perfection in a golden ale, you might never find it.  But, mark my words, Viscount may well be as close as you get.

Sammy’s Rating: 99%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 96.5% 

MOB review next weekend: HOPERATION IPA by ARKELL’S

@museonbooze on Twitter 

 

 

 

KALEIDOSCOPE

BREWER: Wiper and True, Bristol, England

STYLE: Pale Ale

ABV: 4.2%

VESSEL: 330ml tin

TWITTER: @WiperAndTrue

INSTAGRAM: wiperandtrue

DATE OF POST: 2nd January 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Negatives:

As much as I like the look of this tin I cannot help but think the W&T design team have slightly messed it up. The brewery name is too prominent, the marvellous elephant is too small and the name of the beer too hidden. With some tweaks this tin could be spectacular but as it is it’s just… good.

Also the aftertaste of this beer is bitter and pleasant but seriously lacking flavour. With the taste explosions in the sip, (we will get to that in the Positives section (I probably should have started with that thinking about it)) for the flavour to essentially vanish in the aftertaste is a little disappointing.

Positives:

A sensational if light pineapple nose leads you into a citrus, tangy and bitter taste experience brought to you by the classic trio of Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops. Kaleidoscope, though not massively kaleidoscopic is soft, bright, refreshing and a joy to drink to be honest.

Other notes and conclusion:

Sort the aftertaste out and this would be a flippin’ superstar of a craft pale.

Jymi’s Rating: 80%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

It took me ages to work out what this beer was actually called.  For a long while I thought Wiper and True was the beer name, not the brewery name.  After investigating and delving, I worked out that the beer was actually called Kaleidoscope, which to be fair is a great name.

Once I got over my annoyance at not being able to locate the name of the thing, I really did enjoy drinking Kaleidoscope.  

In the glass, it has a fantastic golden colour.  There’s a strong grapefruit and pineapple aroma.  And it doesn’t taste like it smells, which is not a bad thing at all.  In fact, there’s a long bitterness about the flavour, which is strong upfront and fades a little as you sup.  But once the initial fade has wavered, the low length stays for a long time.

An incredibly refreshing drop, Kaleidoscope would be great at any point in the year.  

Definitely worth a go – many will love this!

Sammy’s Rating: 81%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 80.5% 

MOB review next weekend: VISCOUNT by TWO COCKS BREWERY

TWITTER : @museonbooze

SPECIAL EFFECTS – BROOKLYN BREWERY

IT’S THE FINAL WEDNESDAY OF THIS YEARS DESIGNATED DRIVER DECEMBER 

STAY SAFE – DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL FROM MUSE ON BOOZE x 

Sammy say’s…

I have to tell you that this is a decent beverage despite its lack of alcohol. Ok so there’s the expected tail off but it’s strong upfront. It tastes like lager, which is what you’d hope. A very good effort indeed. It’s a definite yes from me!

Credible alternative? YES

 

Jymi say’s…

Not really being a fan of Brooklyn Lager in the first place Special Effects was on the back foot before she was even poured. The fact she then presented a very dark ale colour and looked nothing like a lager didn’t help either. However, Special Effects tastes good you know. Wildly thin in texture but there is plenty of hoppy flavour there.

Credible alternative? YES

MUSE ON BOOZE

APPROVED

PLUM PORTER

BREWER: Titanic Brewery, Staffordshire, England

STYLE: Porter

ABV: 4.9%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @Titanic_ Brewers 

INSTAGRAM: titanicbrewery

DATE OF POST: 27th December 2020

 

JYMI SAY’S…

So I think we’re here again, actually I know we’re here again. A beer that I simply don’t like, but does that mean it is a bad beer or just not to my taste?

Firstly, I have to admit that Titanic’s label rework a few years ago (maybe? The Covid calendar is a tricky one to keep) did disappoint me a little. They went from clean lines to a total mess if I’m being honest. So we didn’t get off to the best start here.

A Plum Porter feels like it is going to be sweet. And it was, so therefore not to my liking.

But back we come to my opening gambit, is this a bad beer or just not for me?

Well, I’m going bad beer I’m afraid. Sweet it is yes, but it needs balance, a leveller, something to calm it down. A Dudley Moore to Peter Cook if you will. And there is a hint, a bit like Dud on a bad day, of bitterness to calm the plum attack. But it’s not enough. The thought was there but not executed.

I do appreciate that if you’re calling it Plum Porter the consumer should know what they’re getting into but with the lack of bitterness it all just becomes too much.

Jymi’s Rating: 29%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

It’s time for a festive tipple! And after the year we’ve all had, we deserve it. Our offering today, well, it’s a Plum Porter. The word plum in this case is referring to the fruit, but I’m hoping this is going to be a plum porter too.

To start with, PP has an exceptional nose. Maybe it’s my seasonal spirit, but the fruity aroma most definitely has a festive note of a steamed pudding (yes, think Christmas pudding). Red fruits and dried fruits are definitely the main players here.

Then when you drink it, those fruity aromas do translate into the taste. They’re there with a hint of vanilla. No sooner have you sampled their delights on your palate they disappear and are replaced by a short boom of bitterness. None of this is unpleasant, quite the opposite in fact. But it’s all so short lived. It’s a flash in the pan. And this leaves the overall effect of a porter with no body.

PP needs some more oopmh to make it a real hit. It needs to have more body in the background to support the good things that are going on. And what you have to consider is that this comes down to the brewing. It’s a little bit showy and not enough to back it up.

I don’t dislike PP; I just don’t love it. It starts off so well and fizzles out without a bang. To gauge PP, think of a wet firework, and then translate that into a beer equivalent.

Sammy’s Rating: 56%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 42.5% 

MOB review next weekend: KALEIDOSCOPE by WIPER AND TRUE

MUSEONBOOZE.COM

 

 

 

STOUT – BIG DROP BREWING CO.

DESIGNATED DRIVER DECEMBER 

A brief December midweek look at some of the non-alcoholic options out there.

Stay safe – Don’t Drink & Drive x 

Sammy say’s…

I was nervous about trying a non-alcoholic stout.  But I need not have been.  Stout, aptly named, is a viable replacement for those that want an alcohol free hit of this dark beer.  It’s a worthwhile drink.

Credible alternative? YES

 

Jymi say’s…

If I had tried this 5 years ago I think I would have turned my nose up. My take on Stout back then was that it was a full and robust style of beer. However, some Stouts nowadays are light as a feather but still oozing flavour. This Stout from Big Drop tastes exactly like one of those. Light in texture with elements of smoke, coffee and cherry knocking around in the taste. Non-alcoholic or not, it’s tasty.

Credible alternative? YES

 

MUSE ON BOOZE

APPROVED

NOGNE O IMPERIAL STOUT

BREWER: Nøgne Ø, Agder, Norway

STYLE: Imperial Stout

ABV: 9%

VESSEL: 0.33L brown bottle

TWITTER: @nogneo

INSTAGRAM: nogneo

DATE OF POST: 20th December 2020

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

For me, stout’s are the epitome of the winter ale. I love them. And I cannot wait to try a new one. It’s something I look forward to with immense anticipation. I can’t put into the words the disappointment then, when I come across a bad one. No matter how I try, or which way I look at it, I can’t find a place where Imperial Stout works for me.

The flavour is heavy up front with a very poor and shallow finish. There’s a rush of the hallowed land of coffee overtones and dark chocolate. But it’s short lived and soon disappears into the ether. And this does not make for a pleasant drinking experience.

It’s very rare that I mention the strength of a beer. ABV should not matter. It’s the taste that counts. But with Imperial Stouts, I can’t get away from the strength of it. It’s impossible to. 9% is not necessary. It’s not an indulgence any of us need.

There are many great stouts out there. This is not one of them. My advice to you is to steer clear of this. Go for something that’s a pleasure to drink, not a battle to chew down.

Sammy’s Rating: 37%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Sometimes a beer works its way into contention if there is a doubt of its quality early on. The first few sips sometimes can be a bit of a challenge as there are so many styles and variants of those styles out there nowadays. Sometimes it takes a while to understand a beer and let it settle down on your palate.

However, with this monster it was the other way around. I really loved this brew at first but the more involved I got the more the love began to subside. See, at first I almost imagined myself sat in a -35c Red Square talking to a man with a strong jaw and a lady with blond hair and a stern look whilst sipping my Imperial Stout. It felt right, it felt warming, and the strength of the thing numbed the pain of the cold. But as I quite slowly made my way though my drink it began to dawn on me that I was sat in a warm enough suburban English garage on my own. It also began to dawn on me that this drink was becoming sweeter and sweeter by the sip. By the time I had finished it was almost a relief. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy most if not all of this beer. It just switched into something that isn’t quite for me and certainly wouldn’t have me going back for another.

That said, next time it’s -35c West of London then I’ll deffo be off for an Impy S by Nøgne Ø.

Jymi’s Rating: 67%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 52%

MOB review next weekend: PLUM PORTER by TITANIC BREWERY

muse.on.booze on Instagram