SPITFIRE GOLD

BREWER: Shepherd Neame, Kent 

STYLE: Golden Ale

ABV: 4.3%

VESSEL: 500ml bottle 

TWITTER: @ShepherdNeame

INSTAGRAM: shepherdneame

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Spitfire is the cornerstone of Shepherd Neame’s brewery. This, of course, is not Spitfire but rather it’s Spitfire Gold. Does the use of the word ‘gold’ in the name simply mean its a golden ale, or is it a little more than that?
In the bottle, Spitfire Gold looks good. The use of a clear bottle with the gold packaging, which is a shift from the iconic red and blue, works well. Once unleashed, the nose is a little non-existent, but is not unpleasant for a golden ale.
In the drinking, it’s perfectly pleasant. It’s light with a sweet first taste followed by very slight bitter after taste. Overall, for me, the maltiness is well-balanced with carefully selected hops and this lead’s to a very good golden ale.
Spitfire Gold has much going for it. It’s definitely sessionable and sits well as a lighter offering than a bitter. It might not quite live up to being a gold beer, but it’s definitely a great golden ale and I happily reach for it.

Sammy’s Rating: 82%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

To the Garden of England we go and to a brewery older than the legacy of some very old AND bold Spitfire pilots. Shepherd Neame are based in a county famed for its abundance of hops so it’s no wonder they have been churning out some power ales for over three centuries. I’ve enjoyed many a regular Spitfire over the years and it has never let me down regardless of time of year nor setting and I trust Spitfire Gold to follow suit (though it’s not off to the best start as I’m not particularly enjoying the way it’s packaged up. I mean who presents a Golden Ale in a clear bottle?!).

Beer wise what we have is pure class in approach and dare I say understated brewing. This isn’t smacking you left, right and centre with hop explosions and clever turns. This isn’t making you question what you thought beer was and where the HELL it is going?? This is straight up quality brewing….

Crisp, light and a truck load of flavour. Really, really tasty and would quickly become a chum before blinking. The bitter / sweet subtle tones of this beer are just brilliant as it comes across as huge… but it’s not huge, it’s clever, and you need to go drink one.

Jymi’s Rating: 83%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 82.5%

 

MOB review next weekend: ANCHOR STEAM BEER by ANCHOR BREWING CO.

ANCHOR STEAM PRE

TOTAL CHAOS OVER AT THE MOB GIN HOUSE NOW… we’re on Instagram @muse.on.booze and Twitter @museonbooze should you wish to witness the last 3 weeks of disorganisation

#MOBSOG2

EDINBURGH RHUBARB & GINGER GIN

STYLE: Flavoured

ABV: 40%

KEY BOTANICAL: Rhubarb

THEY SAY SERVE WITH: Fever-Tree Tonic and Ginger Garnish

MOB SAY SERVE WITH: Fentimans Valencian Orange Tonic and Fresh Raspberries Garnish

MOB COCKTAIL SUGGESTION: Casino

Casino ingredients and method:

50ml Edinburgh Rhubarb & Ginger Gin

25ml Maraschino Liqueur

12.5ml Lemon Juice

3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Fine strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

NEXT UP: (Hopefully!) FIFTY SIX

#MOBSOG2

3 MONTS

BREWER: Brasserie de Saint-Sylvestre, Hauts-de-France

STYLE: Lager

ABV: 8.5%

VESSEL: 33cl

TWITTER: No account 

INSTAGRAM: Très désolé mais il ne semble pas y avoir de compte instagram non plus

 

JYMI SAY’S…

It was a very rainy Saturday morning. It was also 5am. I was also off the back of a frankly ridiculous week at work. However, spirits were high as today was the day the MOB boys and their families set sail for their holiday in France!
Though we live about 20 miles apart, the plan was simple, depart at 7am and head for Folkstone EuroStar. Now this is where the genius came in. There was no planned RV point, we didn’t need one. Why? Because we had flippin’ Walkie Talkies didn’t we. The range on these suckers was 5km so the genius thinking was switch them on once we both hit the M25 and as long as we were both running to schedule surely we would be in range of each other?

07:23    Balding Eagle, this is Poached Egg, do you read me?
Nothing

07:24    Balding Eagle, this is Poached Egg, do you read me?
Nothing

07:25    Clare, this is Poach….. Are you receiving me? Over.
Nothing

07:26    Sam???!!! Are you flippin’ there man??
Nothing

So my wife, whilst shaking her head slowly, wondering quite how her life had come to this, called Sam’s wife on something called a mobile phone to see how progress was.

Turns out we were close to one another! So we pulled over at Maidstone Services, worked out how to use the Walkie F**kin Talkies, and then proceeded with much intent to Folkstone and the train to a week of max relax.

The plan was to test and review a French beer whilst we were away as it seemed the right thing to do. So after things were settled at the most incredibly quirky and eclectic abode that we had rented for the week Sam and I set our sights on the supermarché to get supplies.
Now, this is never a particularly good idea as together and excited usually results in the ridiculous we didn’t fail to deliver. I won’t bore you with the details but let’s just say Sam lost his head in the fromage aisle, we bought everything, but nothing of real use (rabbit pâté being a prime example), but we did however manage to grab some beers which included a few 3 Monts to sit back, savour and review.

After some pretty rapid chilling that moment arrived. Blazing sunshine, children playing in the pool without a care in the world, way better halves chillin’ n chattin’, and Sammy boy and I with beers in hand ready to test away. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Especially when I could see on Sam’s face that he was clearly a fan of this Biere de Flandre. The horror then dawned on me… I was about to wreck this wonderful moment because…. I flippin’ hated it!!

I mean the first half of the sip was fine, nice even. Very French, very refreshing, all good… but then I swallowed that sip and my world fell apart. Firstly, 3 Monts tastes too strong in the brew. Yes, I know it IS strong but for this style of beer to survive taste wise you cannot let that strength shine through in the taste. Also, I got a thick marzipan aftertaste from 3M which didn’t work out at all well in my brain.

Magical moment, mess of a beer.

Jymi’s Rating: 51%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

First up, the nose on 3 Monts conjures up memories of holidays in France. It sends me instantly to a continental square that’s wrapped around with different bars all in sun-soaked heat thronging with local town life. Nice. That’s reassuring, considering that it is a French beer (or bier) and it’s got to be a good thing.
Again, unsurprisingly, 3 Monts tastes as you might expect. Exactly like a French beer. It’s unashamedly French. It’s crisp and refreshing and there’s nothing else that you’d want for on a holiday in France.
Although 3 Monts pulls no surprises, it is well balanced with sweetness. This is especially worth noting considering it’s 8.5% alcohol content.
So, while 3 Monts is quite simply what you’d expect from a French beer, it’s also of interest because of its strength. Perhaps not one for a whole night’s session, it’s definitely worth pulling on a few whilst cooking meat over the coals in the sunshine. Or, alternatively, have one as an accompaniment to soaking up some rays and local town life. It makes life a little better.

 

Sammy’s Rating: 76%

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 63.5%

 

MOB review next weekend: SPITFIRE GOLD by SHEPHERD NEAME

SPITFIRE GOLD PRE

AND WE MEAN IT THIS TIME!!!!!!

 

 

I: muse.on.booze

T: @museonbooze

 

MAKAR

STYLE: London Dry

ABV: 43%

KEY BOTANICAL: Juniper

THEY SAY SERVE WITH: Fever-Tree Tonic & Green Chilli Garnish

MOB SAY SERVE WITH: Merchant’s Heart Tonic and Lime & Green Chilli Garnish 

MOB COCKTAIL SUGGESTION: Last Word

Last Word ingredients and method:

37.5ml Makar Gin

12.5ml Green Chartreuse

12.5ml Maraschino Liqueur

12.5ml Lime Juice

6.25ml Cold Water 

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with Lime wedge.

 

NEXT UP: FIFTY SIX

#MOBSOG2

 

INDIA PILS

BREWER: Tempest Brewing Co, Scottish Borders

STYLE: Pilsner

ABV: 5.2%

VESSEL: 330ml bottle

TWITTER: @TempestBrewCo

INSTAGRAM: tempestbrewingco

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Pilsner.

Pils.

Probably my preferred brew when it comes to the section of the drinking world that is Lager. A Pilsner typically will be bringing a more hoppy spike to the taste of the drink therefore giving it a wee bit more flavour.
Now, Tempest have waltzed along and stuck the word India into the mix which I can only surmise means an even more hop lead flavour will be coming my way as surely this is a nod to an India Pale Ale.
The rather snazzy if not breathtaking bottle kind of confirms this to be the case in a way. So, it’s a more hoppy than usual Pilsner being put forward by this Scottish brewery and I have to say, I was both excited and intrigued in equal measure.

I was right to be excited. Though it didn’t knock me out my seat, this was one decent, refreshing and hoppy brew. It was the nose of India Pils that gave the first hint that this was going to be as the info given and name suggested this beer would be. A great fresh hoppy aroma was the gateway as to what was to come and perfectly summed up how India Pils was going to taste.
And as mentioned, refreshing and hoppy was how it was and it was hugely crushable to boot.

Though the texture and taste was a little thin, the look in glass, nose and flavour was enough to set this brew up to be a cracker on a scorching hot day.

Great concept, good execution.

Jymi’s Rating: 70%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Well this is a departure from the norm… India and pils? It’s usually India and pale ale.
Anyway, let’s get down to the business of whether or not it lives up to the name.
To be honest, the first impression on the nose is that India Pils smells exactly like a craft IPA. We all know that I love the aroma of a craft pale, but I’m not sure it belongs on a pils. The second impression, is that it’s quite a lively brew. And yes…I did notice this second as I was quick off the mark to get my nose into the glass. Once I removed my snout, I noted that it had flared up quite a bit and developed a rather sizeable head.
The drinking…oh the drinking. India Pils is definitely a very good beer. The problem for me is that it tastes like a craft IPA and the name is misleading because this does not taste like a pilsner. That being said, it is very crisp and refreshing and perhaps I should move on from my hang up and judge this for what it is – a very good beer.
India Pils is crisp, it’s refreshing, it’s well balanced with hints of bitter after notes. To my mind, it’s not a pils.
But hey – who cares?

 

Sammy’s Rating: 78%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 74%

 

MOB review next weekend: well, this is to be decided as the MOB duo travel to France together on holiday tomorrow morning. The plan is to find a local brew to review and post while we’re there. Should that go belly up though then it will be.. 

SPITFIRE GOLD by SHEPHERD NEAME

SPITFIRE GOLD PRE

Talking of things going belly up, the Muse on Booze Second Summer of Gin hit it’s first bump in the road midweek just gone. We were supposed to be bringing you FIFTY SIX but it ended up being Rock Rose instead after there being a stand off as to what cocktail we should be putting forward. Fifty Six is sitting on ice ready to pounce but to steady the Gin ship we will be bringing you MAKAR this midweek. 

#MOBSOG2 

#GINCHAOSHASRETURNED

#HASHTAG

 

ROCK ROSE

STYLE: New Western

ABV: 41.5%

KEY BOTANICAL: Rhodiola Rosea and Sea Buckthorn

THEY SAY SERVE WITH: Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic and Rose Bud & Lemon Garnish

MOB SAY SERVE WITH: Franklin & Sons Rosemary & Black Olive Tonic and Mint Sprig Garnish 

MOB COCKTAIL SUGGESTION: Tom Collins

Tom Collins ingredients and method:

75ml Rock Rose Gin

50ml Lemon Juice

12.5ml Sugar Syrup

Soda Water

Place the Gin, Lemon Juice and Sugar Syrup into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake with much vigour until well frosted. Strain into a chilled Collins glass. Top with Soda and garnish with a Lemon Slice.

 

NEXT UP: MAKAR

#MOBSOG2

HOP ART

BREWER: Vandestreek, Utrecht

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 33CL bottle

TWITTER: @vandeStreekbier

INSTAGRAM: vandestreekbier

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Well I’m going to assume the name Hop Art isn’t referring to the frankly poor and not particularly artistic label on this bottle. I’m hoping it’s refering to what is inside. I’m hoping to turn the bottle around to find an abundance of info telling me VandeStreek have spent years perfecting the fine balance of multiple hops and malts to create a highly complex yet delightful IPA.

So I turned that bottle around…. and was greeted with (albeit in Dutch) a small glimpse of what this brewery were trying to achieve with this ale…

A thirst quencher with the fruity aromas and flavours of 3 hop varieties and a pleasent bitterness.

Art must inspire. Let Hop Art inspire you.

..but it was hardly the insite to the making of this beer that I desired. Upon futher investigation of the 33cl bottle’s label I discovered which three hops were being used to create what I hoped would be a masterpiece.

Columbus. Cascade. Citra.

Hardly a break from the norm and certainly not clever, funky nor innovative. I have to say before taking a sip I felt pretty deflated. Unless VandeStreek had pulled some unbelievable moves in balancing these every day hops and combo I felt the best I would be getting would be an all round well balanced eveyday IPA. Thats fine, but would certainly be a let down from where the name had been taking me.

So, the nose began to re-inflate me (a great sentence in isolation). Though it wasn’t at all complex, it was lovely. Pine, freshly cut grass and citrus wafts just kept coming and coming. When it then came to the drinking things took another turn. It was too carbonated. It wasn’t very smooth. It was quite sharp on the palate. It was very simple. But it did taste good.

This brewery really set themselves up to fail by using this name for this beer. Unless they totally nailed the brew Hop Art as a name was always going to be misleading.

Hop Art. Though it may not be a work of art, it is pretty tasty.

Jymi’s Rating: 64%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Like many Dutch craft beers, Hop Art is a lively one.  And on that note, I’d advise not opening it over your nicely laid cream carpet (other colours are available).  Of course, lively beers do give a good head, and make the beer look incredibly tempting.  Couple this cracking head up with Hop Art’s deep, translucent colour, and we have a tempting proposition in the glass. This is a step up from its disappointing label – but let’s move on from that.

As expected, the nose is zesty, but with Hop Art, it’s a bitter zest.  That follows through onto the palate, where one is hit with strong bitter zest flavours, which are well balanced and hang around on the tongue for a good amount of time.

Where Hop Art isn’t so strong, is in its mouth-feel.  It leaves an almost chalky after feel.  To be fair, it is not long lived, but it is enough to detract from this being an all round cracker.  One or two of these will leave you wanting to transition to another brew, which isn’t always a bad thing.

Hop Art is quite basic and definitely worth a try.  But don’t plan to spend a night on these – you might well need to switch it up.

Sammy’s Rating: 68%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 66% 

MOB review next weekend: INDIA PILS by TEMPEST BREWING CO. 

INDIA PILS PRE

Next Gin is FIFTY SIX
#MOBSOG2