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"Getting all sloshed up in the name of love..."

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This month has been the month of love, or at least, getting all sloshed up in the name of love. A stag do in Marbella, one in Budapest and a wedding at the historic and graceful Athelhampton House has seen me testing my liver and brain function to the limits.

Before I start romanticising about Weird Beard, Fallen and the rest, I'll talk a little about my holiday romance in Marbella. Her name was Alhambra Reserve Rioja, a cheeky Spanish surprise that had decidedly more flavour than the omnipresent Saint Michael. I had another fling in Budapest, with a German IPA whose name escapes me. This is sad, as she was heavenly. Sigh, it's better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all...

James

Onward!


Notes from the Editor:

The vast majority of our craft beer is small production and sourced locally. The reviewed beers are not always available in all of our stores, however, we have put a guide to availability under each review. Please use our store finder to locate your nearest branch and call ahead to guarantee stock is available.


Fallen_Brew_grapevine

So they've switched from 500ml bottles to 330ml cans. I won't bore you with the myriad reasons for this, but colour me unimpressed. Thankfully, after pouring it out, my disappointment dissipates. She looks like caramel apple sauce, with a thin lacing head. She smells like a grapefruit in a biscuit tin.

Throwing it into my mouth, it delivers a dark and burnt malt profile, a hamster's hats worth of coffee, with grapefruit and traces of the more sickly tropical fruits. Mid carbonation, tight bubbles, pretty refined.

This is not a session beer, but a lively and worthy addition to any bag of cans. Deep and complex, like a hallucinatory conversation with Jung. And as promised by the marketing blurb on the can; a long, dry and bitter finish much like Paul McCartney and Heather Mills' divorce.

If this is the new world, I want in.

Grapevine

Jamesforscore

Fruit, surfing a wave of the mineral rich Scottish water, coming to a dry hoppy finish. I'm pretty sure I love you.

4.5

MattforscoreFresh, fruity, fizzy.

4

Availability: Scotland stores


Fallen_Brew_Just_the_Ticket

This one pours a deep yellow colour. Hazy, loose bubbles, no head. She smells like citrus hops, syrupy tinned peaches and papaya.

The first sip is a little spiky, with moderate to heavy carbonation. The sharp carbonation doesn't kill the flavours but it does get in the way. Citrus, straw, tropical fruits, and a dry, bitter finish. The missus burped like a truck driver.

JustTheTicket

JamesforscoreTo use street parlance, "This aaaiiight!". Some fruit, some dry hops, some clean Scottish water all amounting to tasty belch fuel.

3.5theMRSLight in flavour, colossally fizzy, would make Godzilla belch.

3

Availability: Scotland stores


Siren_Craft_Brew_Proteus

She looks like an old puddle in a breakers yard; deep, hazy and rusty looking. The smell is dominated by caramel, burnt biscuit and malt, with a little marmalade and yeast on the side.

She has a luxurious body, full with the right level of carbonation. The taste is medium sweet with a good showing of piny hops and a caramel, malty backbone... There is a darkness in there somewhere. A yeasty shadow lurking in a darkened recess, just enough to make its presence known.

Jamesforscore

Very good, I could drink this until I lose my vision, and at 6.9% that'll be sooner rather than later.

4.5

theMRSAnd I quote, "yeah, it's quite nice that".

4

Availability: Selected London stores


Fallen_Brew_Dragonfly

I like a good amber, so I'm all smiles whilst pouring. She looks lovely, a deep reddy brown, with a big, loose head like Boris Johnson but twice as smart and orders of magnitude more respectable.

She smells like malted milk biscuits with a squirrel's coin-purse worth of floral hops. There might be some candied orange peel in there for good measure.

The flavour is initially bittersweet before the caramel maltiness kicks in, which in turn yields to a complex swirl of citrus peel and caramel sweetness. The Resultant belch sounded like the battle cry of the undead.

Dragonfly

JamesforscoreNot what I was expecting from an amber in all honesty, as it's sweeter than it is malty, but a damned fine session ale.

3.5

theMRSI don't smell much, taste much. It's fine. (And with that breathtaking input...she's fired!)

2.5

Availability: Scotland stores


Weird_Beard_Pig_Smasher

She looks nice, a rich mahogany brown. It would look the business in my wood panelled library (of the mind - sadly it doesn't exist), I have many leather bound books*. The pour leaves a very slight, off-white head.

The smell is sweet, like honey or candied fruit. It's not sickly though, there is a bready, malty backbone there, but it's undeniably sweet.

Well balanced with sweet bready malts, an earnest sweetness, sticky, honeyed ribs. It's formidable though, I think 4 or 5 of these at most before it gets more cloying than a post-election Theresa May at No.10.

PigSmasher

JamesforscoreMedium bodied, full flavoured, nothing outlandish, just a bloody good beer. Happy to Pig Smash that into the lowest hole in my head.

4.5

*I have few.

Availability: Selected London stores


Weird_Beard_Safeword

Finally, a beer with a big ol' foamy head. I didn't have to pour from three storeys up to get it either. She's a glorious shade of light orange, the name of the colour swatch would be something lame like "Nectarine Dream".

She smells deliciously fruity, how I'd imagine the sweet room at the Wonka factory. Doesn't smell like a beer, but it does smell delicious - candied orange and berry fruits.

As with all Weird beers, it feels luxurious in the mouth, they really know how to condition. Now on to the business end, there's a powerful hoppy punch up front, peppery, before some fruity action in the rear <insert your own Frankie Howard noise here>.

Not too saccharine, not too cloying, just fruity enough; think John Barrowman over Elton John. There's a little bitterness in the tail to hammer home its IPA credentials.

Jamesforscore

A unique experience for sure, and one I'd recommend to a friend.

3.5

Availability: Selected London stores