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

 

 

 

SOLO PEACH PALE – WEST BERKSHIRE BREWERY

DESIGNATED DRIVER DECEMBER

A brief midweek look at some non-alcoholic options that are out there.

Stay Safe – Do Not Drink and Drive x

 

Sammy say’s…

So, this Peach Pale is ok.  But it lacks substance.  It lacks bite.  And without the bite, there’s just no point in it for me.  There’s nothing to carry the flavour through and after the initial disappointment, you’re left with, well, watery after notes.  Not a viable one for me I’m afraid!

Credible alternative? NO

 

Jymi say’s…

This does taste like Peach. This does not taste like Pale Ale. Or even an Ale to be frank. It’s very nice to drink but almost resembles peach flavoured water rather than a peach Pale. Assuming there would be a large difference in price between Peach Pale and Peach Water I would probably just opt for the H2O. But if there wasn’t, I would happily opt for this.

Credible alternative? YES

MUSE ON BOOZE NOT APPROVED 

 

MOOR STOUT

BREWER: Moor Beer Company, Bristol, England

STYLE: Stout

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 330ml tin

TWITTER: @drinkmoorbeer

INSTAGRAM: drinkmoorbeer

DATE OF POST: 12th December 2020

 

JYMI SAY’S…

When this can landed in my hands, without anything to instantly pull me in or intrigue me, I kind of just… put it in the MOB test cupboard and forgot about it.

But when test day eventually arrived things were suddenly a little different to those initial thoughts. The packaging was way better than I had initially given it credit for. It’s subtle yet complex, not striking but understated and classy.

And I have to say this theme rolls on into the beer too. There is no fuss. No fanfare. No snazzy flavour bursts or trying too hard to be different and be noticed. Nope, none of that, just a flippin good stout. There is a soft and light texture to this beer but the flavour is not compromised because of this. As a negative I think I want a bit more punch from the aftertaste to really underline the quality of this beer. Do not get me wrong, the aftertaste is good, just needs to be a little bigger – so to speak.

A very decent offering from Moor Beer Company and one I would love to get stuck into by a fire in a cosy west country pub.

Jymi’s Rating: 79%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Simply named this beer might be. But simple in design, it ain’t.

Let’s begin with the name: Stout. It says it as it is. Job done. No messing around. Name it as it is and get on with the real business of designing and brewing a beer.

So, the design: Stout is naturally carbonated. It’s a live beer. Store it upright for the best results.

It’s clear to see that the Moor Beer Company are putting all their eggs into one basket. And that basket is clearly the taste one. How does Stout stack up?

Well, the nose is heavy in burnt coffee. It’s dark and tempting and has all the hallmarks of a stout.

Stout is most definitely complex. It’s well brewed and has depth of flavour. Rich oats come through with the dark taste of coffee. And this is good. However, Stout’s strength is somehow it’s weakness too. The live nature of this beer adds so much to the flavour but it also makes it one for the odd occasion, not for an everyday beer. Still, this is a good stout. It’s just one you might reach for on the rare occasion or one to show off to your friends.

Sammy’s Rating: 80%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 79.5% 

MOB review next weekend: IMPERIAL STOUT by NØGNE Ø

@museonbooze on Twitter

STELLA ARTOIS ALCOHOL FREE

THE FIRST MUSE ON BOOZE DESIGNATED DRIVER DECEMBER IS HERE – Just a brief midweek December look at some of the Non-alcoholic offerings out there and whether they pass muster or not.

Happy Christmas season to you all – Stay safe – Do not drink and drive x

STELLA ARTOIS ALCOHOL FREE

Sammy say’s…

Alcohol free Stella Artois tastes surprisingly like good old full throttle Stella. Ok. It doesn’t taste exactly the same but you can definitely tell it’s a Stella. And while it lacks a little punch, it’s definitely a viable candidate for the designated driver. This is a suitable replacement for a beer should you ever find yourself in a place where you can’t have the real thing!

Credible alternative? YES

Jymi say’s…

The nose as soon as you have lifted the lid is the same as regulation Stella from a bottle. The taste whilst sipping is very very close too. Taste once swallowed kinda falls off a cliff but does improve as you work your way through the drink.

Credible alternative? YES

MUSE ON BOOZE APPROVED 

EXPORT INDIA PORTER

BREWER: The Kernel Brewery, South East London, England

STYLE: Porter

ABV: 6.1%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @kernelbrewery

INSTAGRAM: thekernelbrewery

DATE OF POST: 4th December 2020

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

I’m one for drinking any sort of beer any time of the year. It’s the way it should be. Seasonal changes shouldn’t affect the type of brew you want to enjoy in any given moment. It’s a little like having a red wine only in winter and a nice chilled white on a warm summer’s day. However, that being said, one of the best treats of a short cold wintery day, is knowing that there’s a porter or stout waiting on chill for you at home. And so, here we are, our first aforementioned beer of the season is upon us!

Export India Porter, starts off well. It’s as dark and tempting as you might hope in the glass and the aroma, well, let’s just say deep, dark coffee. Then, when you come to sip EIP, you’re met with a surprisingly light porter. It’s got the slight hint of an IPA in the background. I mean, do not get me wrong, I’m not talking full on craft IPA tropicalness. It’s the smallest of hints. But it’s enough to make EIP different and interesting. Clearly, this is well brewed and much thought has gone into it.

However, it’s quite light. There’s not much body with EIP and you can’t help but feel a little short changed when you’re drinking this porter. Once it’s washed across your palate, it disappears without leaving too much of a trace. Not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that it’s a little bit lack lustre. Given it’s weighty appearance and promise of dark trepidation, I can’t help but feel I need a little more from this porter.

Let’s be clear, EIP is good. It’s just not elevated anywhere near to greatness. And that poses a slight problem. It’s in a market where there are some incredible stouts and porters readily available. To my mind, this is rubbing too close to being something that’s not a porter. It needs to be bolder and develop more of a personality.

Would I turn one down? Most definitely not. Would it be near to the top of my porter/stout list? Not a chance.

Sammy’s Rating: 65%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I’m pretty sure it was a crisp and bright Friday that Sammy handed me Export India Porter with a Regis to Akabusi like authority and said, “here is one to put on the test list”.

I was instantly excited, not as excited as Kriss, but excited nonetheless. Even though I’ve recently become more accustomed to having a stout or porter any time of the year, there really is something about having a darker beer when the temperatures outside are low. I was also excited as the brewery involved were the Kernel, an East London based setup that had never let me down.

Roll on a couple of weeks and the time had come to pop the top and get involved. Test day had arrived.

When pulling out of the cupboard to have a gander at what was said about the beer on the label it suddenly dawned on me… this was a 500ml bottle and not the 330ml I thought it was.

EXCITEMENT WAS NOW AT AN ALL TIME HIGH!

Unfortunately, even though this is not a bad beer, this is where the excitement ceased. I suppose the words export and India proceeding Porter in the name should have flagged that something may have been up here. However, if you’re mentioning the word Porter then you really are expecting something smooth and light. However, even though the mouthfeel of EIP is exceptional the spiky taste and texture that follows pull it a world away from what a Porter should be. Because of the early mouthfeel I really felt like this spike was then going to settle down, which could have been lovely, but no… the spike and it’s harshness remained.

All in all I think that it’s the confused style that has ultimately let this brew down. It’s not that Export India Pale is horrible, because it’s not. I just don’t know what it actually is.

Jymi’s Rating: 66%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 65.5% 

MOB review next weekend: MOOR’S STOUT by MOOR BEER COMPANY

ON WEDNESDAY WE ARE STARTING DESIGNATED DRIVER DECEMBER

RUNNING THROUGH DECEMBER WE WILL BE TAKING A MIDWEEK LOOK AT SOME NON ALCOHOLIC BEERS AND WHETHER THEY ARE A WORTHY SUBSTITUTE OR NOT  

 

 

 

HOOKY GOLD

BREWER: Hook Norton Brewery, Oxfordshire, England

STYLE: Pale Ale

ABV: 4.1%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @HookyBrewery

INSTAGRAM: hook_norton_brewery 

DATE OF POST: 29th November 2020

 

JYMI SAY’S…

With a brewery that kicked off back in 1849 I’d like to think Hooky Gold didn’t start life under this name. I’m sure under its original guise it could have been called Hook Norton Ale, maybe. Local drinkers would have then begun to colloquially dismantle the name over the next century and a half plus.

Pint’a Hook?

Glass of Norts?

Some of that golden Hooky please.

You get the idea.

So we arrive today with a name that has been forged over some time I’m sure and a beer that tastes like it has been too. See, it is utterly fantastic.

In a world of New England IPAs, Milkshake Pales and Peanut butter stouts it is sometimes easy to forget just how good a decent classic British beer can be. And let me tell you, this is a star.

There is a hint of lemon and possibly even smoke in the taste. There is also just the most amazingly balanced level of bitterness throughout the whole drinking experience. It is a level of bitterness that is VERY much there but not prominent. Without it, the beer would fail, but more than there is, then the flavour would not pronounce as it does.

It’s a beer for any occasion for sure but a very long afternoon in a country pub with friends and family is where our Hooky Gold would excel.

Just brilliant.

Jymi’s Rating: 87%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

The team at Hook Norton Brewery have been at this brewing game for quite sometime. Since 1849 in fact. Of course, it’s not the original team because if it were, well, it would make them the oldest folk alive. Anyway, it’s an old brewery, not one of these new upstarts. So, with all the collective experience and knowledge, the crew from HNB should be able to pack a punch when it comes to making a beer.

The first impression of Hooky Gold, once out of the bottle (which itself is a little nondescript), is of a golden beer: exactly what we’d hoped for, given all that was promised on the bottle. And the nose, is exactly as it says on the tin: zesty.

Then comes the highlight, the drinking. Hooky Gold is sublime. It’s fruity and well balanced. Zest dances around the palate. And here’s the thing, the more you drink HG, the better it gets. It’s a joy to have in your glass. To add to it’s sensational drinking experience, it’s also a beer you could have anytime, anywhere.

It’s more than fair to say that the years of brewing experience at HNB have most certainly paid off. I think Hooky Gold will tick the box for many a beer drinker, including, dare I say it, those that rarely, if ever, break away from their lager standard.

Go get your hands on one, you won’t be disappointed.

Sammy’s Rating: 93%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 90% 

 

MOB review next weekend: EXPORT INDIA PORTER by THE KERNEL BREWERY

MUSEONBOOZE.COM 

 

 

 

AGAINST THE GRAIN

BREWER: Wold Top Brewery, East Yorkshire, England

STYLE: Gluten Free Beer

ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @woldtopbrewery

INSTAGRAM: woldtopbrew

DATE OF POST: 20th November 2020

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

This is a first for us tasters here at Muse On Booze: a gluten free beer. I know, there’s no stopping us in our quest to be all inclusive. However, there’s just one slight issue. It isn’t actually our first gluten free beer. What! I can here the unified intake of breath. You see, some of the beers we have tested previously have been brewed without gluten in their ingredients. What Against The Grain actually is, is the first beer with standard brewing ingredients that’s gluten free. And it’s the first beer we’ve tested to promote it’s free from gluten state.

So, what is ATG? Well, it’s a lager. And it looks like a lager and it smells like a lager. But then, you might not expect it’s freeness from gluten to have any impact so early in the testing phase.

And then you come to drinking the thing…

To be fair, ATG is very quaffable. It’s light and pulls slightly on your tastebuds, which is interesting considering it’s a lager. But let’s move away from it’s gluten freeness for just a moment. Let’s consider if it’s a good beer when it’s stacked up against all other beers. And that has to be the test. The answer is, resoundingly, yes; this is a good beer. Would I reach for it again, even when other lagers were available? Yes I would. I would because it’s a very good beer. Okay, it’s not the most complex lager I’ve ever had but that does not stop it from being good.

Regardless of ATG being gluten free, this is a good beer. It’s worth a try. And I’m willing to bet that many of you will be reaching for it again.

Sammy’s Rating: 76%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Well done to Wold Top for producing this gluten free and  vegan friendly beer. At the end of the day it’s easier to just NOT produce a gluten free and vegan  friendly beer but they have taken it on and for that my cap is doffed.

Moving on, I literally hate everything about this beer. The packaging is poor, the name is quite clever on the surface but seems like one of those world changing ideas you have when you can’t sleep. The nose is a complete non event and I don’t even know what I’m going to be getting as a style of drink.

However the taste, which let’s be honest is by far and away the most important thing, is very good.

Going from the info on the label what we have with ATG is an ale (which is quite loosely mentioned I have to add) brewed with lager malts. However what they have produced is a lager. And it’s a good lager. In fact it is a really good lager. The reason being it finishes with a bitter hoppy ale tone that takes away all the bad things about a lager. See what happens is you get the initial refreshing moreish hit that a cold crisp lager brings but then where a normal lager goes down the path of gacky shabby aftertaste, ATG brings in the hop rockets to totally alleviate that situation.

A very pleasant beer indeed I have to say, just wish I hadn’t used the handled glass for the picture.

Jymi’s Rating: 78%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 77% 

MOB review next weekend: HOOKY GOLD by HOOK NORTON BREWERY

 

http://www.museonbooze.com