ClubGonzo’s Hipster-ish IPA

India Pale Ale, 6.5% ABV, 42 IBU.

ClubGonzo's Hipster-ish IPA, batch 78.

ClubGonzo’s Hipster-ish IPA, batch 78.

Ordinary IPAs are just so 2014, white IPAs are a thing of the past and Black IPAs are passé. Welcome to the next big thing for the hopheads: New England IPA!

Looks like an IPA.

Looks like an IPA.

In the glass it has a cloudy amber body, maybe a bit too dark and too little orange juice-like to be a school book example of a NEIPA? Ah, now I see, NEIPAs are yesterday’s news as well, this must be an ANEIPA (which of course is Amber New England India Pale Ale). Or, as it would have been called a year ago, a Pale Ale.

The head is large, creamy and off-white.

The aroma is very strong, and of course very hoppy. I get lots and lots of sweet tropical fruity notes, including peach and mango. There is also a spicy touch, some gooseberries and caramel.

Strong flavour of tropical fruits, grapefruit, citrus peel and spices, with some caramel in the back, and hints of a bit too pronounced and stinging alcohol (without me drawing the “solvent” card once again). The taste is light sweet and the very dry finish is moderate bitter. The mouthfeel is on one hand very pleasant – the body is close to full and the texture is smooth and almost creamy. On the other hand the astringency of the citrus peel and the peppery dryness of the spices makes the aftertaste a bit demanding.

Conclusion: ANEIPAs might be a bit to hipster-ish for me, I prefer a regular IPA with more bitterness and less spiciness and astringency. Or maybe a more juicy NEIPA.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 3.1/5.0
Advertisements

ClubGonzo’s Apple Harvest

Mead/Cyser, 11% ABV

Did you know that a mix of cider and mead is called “cyser”? No? Me neither. It sounds like a Pokémon, if you ask me.

Apple Harvest, mead batch 35.

Apple Harvest, mead batch 35.

In the glass it has a light amber to orange colour, the liquid is clear and does not look carbonated.

Looks pretty much like a mead. A good-looking mead.

Looks pretty much like a mead. A good-looking mead.

Initially the strong aroma is very much closer to a mead than a cider, but after a short while the apples start to emerge. The aroma has that undefinable fruit-in-mead contribution that I often find in melomels – it’s a kind of raw, dark, fruit cellar-like thing. Even a banana mead had this quality. It’s not bad, just a bit… strange.

The apple cider is more noticeable in the flavour, this is definitely a ClubGonzo cider, i.e. bone dry. I find the dryness of the cider to crash rather violently with the sweet mead, this is not my cup of fermented brew. The strong flavour is dominated by fruit-in-mead™ and honey, with hints of apple.

Overall: fun name, not so fun brew. It’s too dry and it doesn’t taste enough of apples. Said the man who has no idea of how a cyser should taste like.

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      5/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    10/20
Ratebeer score: 2.7/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Witmead

Mead, 10% ABV.

A wheat beer with bitter orange peel and coriander seeds can be delicious, so why not a mead with the same additives?

It pours a clear and rather light amber colour.  I find it difficult to rate the appearance of a mead, they all tend to look rather similar. But I guess it look rather nice, right?

Witmead, mead batch no. 43.

Witmead, mead batch no. 43.

img_0720The aroma is strong and enchanting! I want to curl up in my sofa with a glass of this the next time I catch a cold – the mix of sweet and soothing honey with the citric freshness of the orange peel is really delicious. There might be a light spicy background, but I can’t really identify the coriander.

The taste is as sweet and lovely as I had hoped for, and it contrasts the orange peel bitterness in the finish perfectly.  The strong flavour is a carefully balanced mix of sweet honey and bitter and crisp orange. The coriander is rather hidden, so the wit beer feeling isn’t really present at all.

Overall: a perfectly balanced brew, both when it comes to taste and flavour. This one should become a part of Mjøderiet’s core lineup! Recommendation:  try it on pancakes and in mayo/mustard/honey/mead dip for chicken nuggets!

Aroma:      8/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      8/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    15/20
Ratebeer score: 3.9/5.0

S & M Brewing Move On Up

Golden Ale/Blond Ale, 5.4% ABV, 30.6 IBU.

Golden body.

Golden body.

S & M Brewing batch 1.

S & M Brewing batch 1.

Look what I found in my beer cellar, the very first batch from S & M Brewing!

It pours a close to clear, golden body with a rather small, white head that soon reduces to partially covering film. A decent amount of foam still clings to my glass when it’s empty.

The moderate aroma is pleasant, fruity, mellow, well balanced and clean, with nice yeasty notes, light fruit and hints of vanilla. It’s neither revolutionary nor especially exciting, this simply smells like an easy-to-drink session beer.

The flavour is also restrained, but as was the case with the aroma, it’s quite pleasant and clean. I get a generic fruitiness, perhaps with some apples and with a dash of citrus, hops and a gentle backbone of pale malts. The taste is light to moderate sweet, and I’m a bit surprised that the IBU is as high as 30.

It’s rather light-bodied, is has a smooth texture, it’s softly carbonated and it dries up a bit in the finish.

Conclusion: a drinkable, simple and pleasant brew that won’t make anyone feel ecstatic.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.2/5.0