The Beer Gatherer

Blogging about Israeli beer in general and Israeli craft beer in particular, following 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die and other beer musings.

Belgiana

Again, a month-long blog hiatus. Been busy doing, well, stuff. And drinking beer as usual. Beer like Saison de Pipaix by Belgium’s Brasserie à Vapeur that The Beer Greek brought from a recent business trip. It’s a whimsical saison with a complex aroma that contains honey, orange, ginger and candy along with a little rye, and a sweet taste, followed by hints of black pepper, honey and a little anise. Full body, a little anise aftertaste and spicy finish. I am usuallya little repulsed by anise, but here it worked fine.

Bellevaux Black, 6.3% abv. old ale style that I got in a face-to-face trade in Gent last November poured murky brown and ugly, but other than that was quite alright. Malt, cold coffee, mud and some roast in the nose, Roasty, malty, coffee and soft bitterness in the mouth. Medium-to-full body, roasty finish

I have drank Pauwel Kwak many times – it’s been distributed here for years – but only got to rate it last February, the night before we flew to Spain. Drank this Belgian Strong Ale from tap at the Porter and Sons in Tel Aviv. Had I bothered reviewing it when I started this blog, I’m sure I would’ve written a much more raving review, but now it’s just too alcoholic and acetic for my taste and the strong banana liquor taste didn’t amaze me.

Malheur 12 is another Belgian Strong Ale that I didn’t really enjoy. Murky dark brown with a beige head. Sugary, some burn caramel aroma, sugary and very sweet taste. I really only tasted sugar. Fuzzy, medium body, unpleasing alcoholic aftertaste.

I shared my bottle of De Ranke Guldenberg at the same tasting we had Malheur 12. Hazy orange-amber. Sweet, honey aroma, very sweet and a little oxidized taste, honey in the mouth. Smooth, medium body, sweet and heavy finish. Overly sweet and too heavy for me.

My Excellent Little Brother bought me a bottle of Corsendonk Angus from New York. It’s an Abbey Tripel that pours clear gold with a foamy white head. Light fruity aroma, a little red apple notes. Bitter, fruit bubblegum sweetness in the mouth. Medium body, sugary finish, fairly fizzed.

When I logged in to the CMS I thought I’d just wrote about Pipaix and Black but then I went up and down the list and just covered all the Belgian beers I drank in Israel and haven’t written about yet. There are plenty of Belgians I drank in my travels which will be covered some other time.

Saison de Pipaix, Bellevaux Black, Pauwel Kwak, Malheur 12, De Ranke Guldenberg, Corsendonk Angus are beers #409, #410, #411, #412, #413, #414 Beers I Must Try Before I Die.

Anniversary Ale Frantic

XVIIIAnniversaryAle

I almost missed last week’s tasting. It was held at the Dancing Camel pub in Florentine neighbourhood and I rescheduled my bass lesson so I wouldn’t have to kill too much time between the lesson and the tasting. However, 3.5 hours before the tasting, 2 hours before the lesson, as my inner 16 year-old boy was practicing his Metallica, the alarm clock went off – I totally forgot I had a class that evening, at the university! Totally unprepared, I quickly printed out the material, cancelled the bass lesson and announced my abstinence from the tasting.

As I was sitting in my Business Strategy class, all restless, I decided to join the tasting, although an hour later than scheduled. A frantic run to the bus stop and a miraculously quick ride and there I was at the Dancing Camel, an hour later, but the guys saved us a couple of ounces to taste from the bottles already sampled.

It was worth coming, as by pure chance Stas and Vova brought a bottle of Firestone Walker Anniversary Ale – straight from The Book! They brought Firestone Walker XVIII edition, a blend of 9 of the brewery’s oak barrel-aged creations, 13% abv. American Strong Ale. Pretty big beer it is – Black, with a very boozy nose and soft spiciness of nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon. Taste is velvety, chocolatey, a little boozy and a little sweet, and also a little woodsy. Full body, no carbonation, vanilla, coffee and a little black pepper finish. Quite amazing, I’m glad I didn’t miss this tasting!

Firestone Walker Anniversary Ale is Beer #408 I must Try Before I Die.

Schlenkerla, Meine Liebe!

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen is my all-time favourite beers. There are better tasting beers, and beers I’ve drank more times, but this Marzen from Bamberg, smoky heaven, is my fave, because of its no-nonsense pungent aroma that overwhelms newcomers and satisfies my cravings for a particular taste that I’ve been happily avoiding in 23 years of vegetarianism.

I first drank it several years ago in Israel. It was distributed here, then distribution stopped. Then another importer started marketing this beer and even brought Schlenkerla wheat beer for a while but then they stopped bringing it as well. Maybe there was no demand for it. I believe there wasn’t. I also believe that Schlenkerla is a classic acquired taste product and that both distributors failed to educate the market. There’s a small but dedicated fan-base for Laphroaig single malt, which is an even more challenging drink than Schlenkerla, so there’s something to work with.

The Secret Agent and I try to drink this brewery’s products whenever possible. Last Saturday Heavy Metal Cousin brought over bottles he bought in Prague. We organized a tasting, took Schlenkerla Eiche – doppelbock – out of the beer fridge – and tasted it, along with a fine collection of Slovanian, French,Scottish, Danish and English beers we’ve accumulated in our travels, and a few more that the other participants added.

smoked tasting

There were Beavertown and De Molen and Weyerbacher and Brewdog, but the crown jewel were the three Schlenkerla bottles, especially the Marzen – long time no drink, my love, and you’re as beautiful as I had remembered you. Smoky, meaty, bitter and complex, yet very sensible and drinkable, providing you’re prepared to the unusual taste.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen is beer #407 I Must Try Before I Die (and try again and again and again…)

English Beer Recap #4 – The hidden Gems of Bradford

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As soon as we decided to take a beer trip to Northern England, we knew we’d stop at Bradford. A place known better for its curry, riots, and the 1989 burning of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, Bradford is not a top-of-mind beer destination. However, it has a special place in my personal history. As far as beer history goes, this is the first place I learned about CAMRA. It was in 1997 and I was at the 1in12, where the punks and anarchists hung out. Didn’t know shit about beer and used to drink “lager” – that’s what my boyfriend used to order – and apple flavoured Hooch, a horrendous alco-pop. Not being a social animal, and that’s an understatement, I was happy to find a small zine, similar to any punk publication of the day – cut and paste, photocopied – with the tagline Campaign for Real Ale, whatever that was. The one thing I remember reading there – and that’s quite something, considering it’s been 18 years of booze and B12 deficiency and an OD of written material – is an op-ed against my drink de jour, aka Hooch and the likes – how they destroy the industry, ruin young people’s appreciation of real ale, whatever that was, and so on. It stuck with me.

This CAMRA publication is of course not a good reason to visit the city, but seeing the place where I lived, and walking in Lister Park, and eating a decent curry are, so after a short sightseeing tour and some beer in Manchester, we drove to Bradford. We opted to drive through towns, so instead of 30 minutes on the highway it took us about an hour to get there.

After a brief tour of the neighbourhood, which felt tamer than it was – is it distance and defamilarization or is it for real? – we went drinking. The Secret Agent picked 2 CAMRA-recommended pubs to visit before heading to a night in Huddersfield, old-school real-ale pubs that I must have seen before, but never went in, because the ex had his own local, Scruffs and Snobs. I looked for it online before our trip. It’s not there anymore. First place we visited was The New Beehive Inn, not far from the city center, as the area code BD1 indicates. The inn was built in 1901,  and has tons of features we love in a place, such as stained glass windows, a painted sign and all sorts of knick-knacks. We arrived quite early in the evening and it was quite dark inside. Apparently this pub is known for its use of gas-light and is recognized by CAMRA as one of Britain’s Real Heritage Pubs. The Beehive serves locally-brewed ales and we sampled two of them. Black Sheep Best Bitter was the first. Our itinerary was quite flexible and on the first day of the trip we didn’t know we’d make it to Masham, to visit Black Sheep and Theakston breweries, so we drank this one as soon as we saw it. The name Best Bitter is quite accurate – it is one of the best bitters I have ever tasted. Clear golden brown with white head. Toffee, nutty, earthy aroma, full, robust, toasty bitterness, medium body, long, bitter, earthy finish. Next comes Saltaire Blonde, from the nearby town Shipley, home of Shipley Glen, the location of many yesteryear adventures. 4% abv. blond ale that’s also available in bottles in the area. Clear blond with white head, Fruit, faint citrus, floral aroma, bitter, slightly hoppy finish. Soft, medium body, bitter, a little dry finish.

We had to make it to Huddersfield that night and satisfy the craving for curry before, so we left after a single round and headed to The Fighting Cock. Located in the Lister Hills neighbourhood, pretty much in between the area where my ex’s friends used to live and the 1in12 club where they used to hang out, I had to slap myself when entering the place. The 19-year-old me would’ve had it so much better had she hung out there! It’s in a street corner, near a discount supermarket, with 2 or 3 rooms (been a while, so I forgot), all bustling with decor and awards and people! Lots of them! It was busy and we couldn’t find a vacant table, but two locals who saw us wandering immediately invited us to sit with them. You can get foreign bottled beer there, but we were there for the real-ale, and as local as possible. We started off with a Book Beer – Timothy Taylor’s Landlord from Keighley. a 3.5% abv. bitter, it pours light gold with white head. Pumpkin seeds and jasmine aroma, very little butterish taste, a little burning and mildly bitter. Medium body, long, nettle-like finish. The burning sensation in the end is very untypical, that’s for sure.

Next we had Geeve’s Smokey Joe. It’s a stout from Barnsley, and I couldn’t skip a beer with such a name, of course! Its aroma was great, with notes of chocolate, wood, old chocolate liquor and delicate smokiness. It’s a pretty good beer, however, despite the smoky notes in the mouth, neither the taste nor the body matched the awesomeness of the nose. Then, another local, Rat Against The Machine, an IPA from Rat Brewery from Huddersfield, yup, the following destination. Pretty good beer, with great citrus aroma and some grainy notes in the mouth. We continued with Bobs White Lion, an ok blond ale from Ossett, and since we had so much fun, we stayed for a third round. We had Copper Dragon Golden Pippin blond ale from Skipton – quite alright and very malty, and abother Book Beer – Pendle Witches Brew by Moorehouse’s. Coming from Burnley, Lancanshire, 26 miles south west of The Fighting Cock, this almost feels like a foreign beer. But I cannot blame the distance nor the pub for its poor performance. Judging from the 5 other pints and half-pints we had there, beer’s well-kept in that place; and 26 miles is practically around the corner, so the buttery, popcorn aroma and taste is, well, the beer. What a shame. We washed down the off flavour with delicious vegan portions at Punjab Sweet House, as recommended by our table buddies and headed to check out the pubs in Huddersfield.

 

Black Sheep Best Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord and Moorehouse’s Pendle Witches Brew are beers #404, #405 and #406 I Must Try Before I Die.

Beer Label Galore – Wailing Wench

Just a quick note now. I’m composing a fairly detailed entry as a part of the British Beer Recap, but we kinda wanna get back to binge-watch Broadchurch Season 2, so for the time being – Middle Ages Wailing Wench, from Syracuse, New York. Had a big bottle, probably quite old by the time it reached me, shared it with friends last year. An old-school 8% abv. double IPA, that pours hazy copper with a yellowish head. Smells sweet, a little spicy, tastes sweet, with hints of bitterness. Smooth, full-body, long, sweet finish. What struck me was the label. A year later and I still cannot decide whether it’s more sexist or more tasteless or equally both.

Here, look:

wailing-wench

Wailing Wench is beer #403 I Must Try Before I Die. We’ll get back to real-ale fun soon. Promise.

Sour but Sweet

jolly_ichtegemRight after publishing the previous post, we rushed to a tasting with our fellow ratebeerians and untappers. It’s been a while since we all met – with The Secret Agent and I being sick, me having to study, us traveling to Spain and them – a whole bunch of them – traveling to the US for a hardcore West Coast beer tour.

For this tasting I grabbed whatever was in the fridge, taking into consideration bottle size (we were supposed to be 10 people at the tasting) and FIFO, and ended up sharing Jolly Pumpkin La Roja and Ichtegems Grand Cru, American and Belgian sour red/brown ales, respectively. Apparently La Roja was one of the first beers shared in an Israeli Ratebeer tasting, way back in 2009. I joined the website in late 2011 and we started attending tastings around that time, I think. It feels like ages, so 2009 is pretty much ancient history. Anyway, I think that Dead Swedish Girl and The Actuary liked this beer even after all these years and the thousands of beers each of them has imbibed. This Flemish beer that’s brewed in Michgen pours murky brown, and smells sour, a little lactic and of cherry yogurt. It has a sour mouthfeel and yet, one can sure taste the grain, which is pretty cool. Body’s relatively light, there’s hardly any carbonation and finish is sour, though mild and tolerable.

Ichtegems Grand Cru comes from the Belgian family-run brewery Strubbe. It is the brewery’s Oud Bruin that’s matured in oak tanks. This one also pours murky brown and smells a little vinous – I sensed grapes and some cherries. Tastes sweetish and not sour at all; it actually tastes a little like sherry – pretty cool! The beer isn’t really carbonated, it is full-bodied and has a long, sherry finish. Really nice, delicate and inoffensive.

Jolly Pumpkin La Roja and Ichtegems Grand Cru are beers #401 and #402 I Must Try Before I Die.

Beergeek Love – 601 more beers to go

beerlove

First, apologies for yet another hiatus. I had that exam, then the flu, then Agent Family flew to Spain, to celebrate Mama Agent’s 70th birthday in Jerez Flamenco Festival. So these are the reasons for the latest absence – quite legit, right? Although I am in the middle of the British Beer Recap, I’m taking a detour, to celebrate Beer #400 I Must Try Before I Die. A round number is a reason to celebrate with something special; we had Harvistoun Ola Dubh 40 as #100 in August 2012; a rare, prestigious beer for #200 in March 2013; and Avery The Maharaja for #300, in September 2013.

Beer #400 is Finlandia Strong Sahti. Sahti is a traditional Finnish beer that like Altbier and Kolch has an area designation. It is made with Juniper berries along or instead of hops. Juniper twigs are used for filtering the mesh in a a hand-carved wooden trough called a kuurna. Much like Belgian Lambics, Sahti is also exposed to wild yeast and bacteria. Unlike so many generic third-world pale lagers that are scattered all over the gold and amber chapters of the 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die book, or really obscure one-off creations from nano-brewers that are available only in some hellhole in France, Finlandia Sahti Strong is rightfully there – unique and traditional on one hand, widely available throughout its country of origin on the other. So while Finland isn’t the most popular travel destination in the world, it is still relatively easy to get if you or your friends are there or if you trade with someone from there.

a classic in plastic

a classic in plastic

Mia, Stas’ partner, flew to Finland last summer. Having a beergeek as a partner, Mia was given a shopping list of all things Finnish, Leningrad Cowboys and terva excluded. Now Stas has an access to my 1001 beer list, but I’m not sure whether he had a look at my list or just ordered it because he wanted to. He opened the bottle at a group tasting in mid-August, only The Secret Agent and I were 300 kilometers away, in a mud hut desert getaway. Internet connection was fizzy at best and it was only after midnight and hut-tubbing under the starry Arava sky that I saw Dead Swedish Girl’s text, asking me if Finlandia Strong Sahti is in the book – way after the tasting was over. Bummer. As my beer peers sampled this beer, they won’t be motivated to hunt it again. However, soon another text arrived at the desert – the beer came in a PET bottle, and DSG saved us some and took the bottle with him. The evening we returned from the south DSG and his partner – the sweetest person to have sat on our couch and eaten generic crisps while playing with the cats – came over with the 3/4 empty bottle and shared.

Here are the tasting notes: Please note that oxidation may have occurred; bottle was opened on Wednesday and sampled on Friday, but Dead Swedish Girl said it was still OK. Headless cloudy brown. Pungent fruit syrup and spices, then some phenol in the nose. Estery, sweet, a little honey taste. No carbonation whatsoever, light-to-medium body, a little smoky aftertaste. The 10% abv. are not apparent at all.

Finlandia Strong Sahti is a special beer, but it’s not for its unique production, place of origin or ingredients that I picked it as beer #400 – for me, it demonstrates all that’s awesome about the world of beergeeks, hunters, gatherers, and the people who love us, or at least amused by our passion, or, if you insist, obsession  – taking the extra mile, making an effort, carrying a list, staying alert. Names and nicknames are scattered throughout all my ratebeer and blog entries and I appreciate each and every one of you. THANK YOU ALL for sharing.

In case you didn’t get it, Finlandia Strong Sahti is beer #400 I Must Try Before I Die. 601 more to go!

 

English Beer Recap Pt. 3 – Scottish and Manx from Cask!

I should be studying for tomorrow’s exam and I would be studying, had the builders not drilled and hammered the flat downstairs, where the hoarder who turned our lives into a nightmare for the better half of the past decade used to reside. So today’s entry is not procrastination, but rather an attempt to make the most of junk time. Anyway, English Beer Recap is becoming interesting, as I’m leaving the bottles behind and get to write about beers I drank from cask – which means that I’m finally getting to share anecdotes and images from the Real Ale Trail The Secret Agent and I took in September 2013.

A little background – 3 months into my new job at the time, launching a huge campaign that involved emails and phone calls during weekends, Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, lack of sleep and loss of vitality, The Secret Agent bought us tickets to Manchester. Initially he wanted us to go to Scotland, a long time dream of ours and back then – relevant more than ever, as I was managing both The Glenlivet and Chivas brands in the local market; however, due to the little time I had for proper holiday, we “settled” on Yorkshire. A peek at CAMRA website revealed that a festival in York was taking place at the time we were visiting, Good Beer Guide 2013 indicated that there are good pubs in Huddersfield, and thus an itinerary was constructed.

Let’s keep the personal mode here. I lived in Yorkshire in the 90’s. Fell in love with an English boy I met in Philadelphia, where his touring band was playing – I went backpacking from coast-to-coast, from record store to punk show – and moved in with him in Bradford. It was as intense as only first love can be – full of drama and with amazing background music. To stay within the blog’s realm, C and I drank cheap lagers in the local pubs and I discovered Hooch – the alcopop. I also discovered CAMRA then. Found a zine on the counter at the 1in12 – the local club/ anarchist community space/ info-shop – and picked it up. Had no idea what a Campaign for Real Ale meant, or what Real Ale is (though they served some at the 1in12 – I’m almost certainly sure!), but there was a heartfelt diatribe against the favourite beverage category of 19 y/o me – alcopop. I vaguely recall something about irresponsible drinking and lack of tradition, but maybe it’s adult me who thinks she remembers.

Back to the trip. Hotel rooms/ B&B/ Air BnB in Manchester, Huddersfield and York were booked and so was rental car, and some destinations were marked on the map: Bradford, of course, cos I haven’t been there since 2000, and cos I wanted The Secret Agent to visit the location of so many stories from my formative years; Masham – cos of Black Sheep and Theakston; and the Coast. Coast with capital C, because of the brilliant BBC series that we always get back to and never have enough from. As ambitious and thorough as a documentary series gets. Prior to the trip we watched the relevant episodes and decided that Scarborough and Whitby are a must. Rarely in the past couple of years do we decide on destination first and look for watering holes second, but In Good Beer Guide Book And App We Trust. Oh, and some Yorkshire Dales and Moors and country pubs were also on my wishlist.

Before we went, I went through my list of beers from the book. I was determined to drink most of the beers who were listed, but into the second day of our trip I realized that it’s not gonna happen; cask ales distribution depends on so many factors such as pub owners (free house or chain-bound?); regional distribution is a big thing in the world of casks; and ever-changing selection is also something that characterizes good pubs.

This introduction took too much beer-text space, so let’s get rid of the non-English cask beers from the list. Deuchars IPA hails from Caledonian Brewing Company in  Scotland. I found it in a small pub named Ye Dolphin, a small pub in the small coastal town Robin Hood Bay – as picturesque as it gets and one of our favourite spots in this amazing trip. Narrow and steep streets that lead to the foot of the sea, quaint alleys and the end of the English coast-to-coast trail.

coast-to-coastye dolphin robin hood bay

You can see that there’s a seating area outside, and although the weather that day was t-shirt friendly, beergeeks tend to be indoor patrons, where it’s easier to focus on the brew and dwell in the atmosphere. According to the 2008 Book, Deuchars is Scotland’s best-selling cask ale. Book states it’s a 4.4% abv., ratebeer begs to differ and indicated 3.8%. Our beer was clear, golden and had white head. Its aroma was fruity, like preserved fruit, exotic fruit syrup like Monin Passion Fruit, and also had some piss notes. Mild bitter, English hops were apparent in the mouth. Light body, oily, malty finish. deuchars_robin_hood_bay

Second non-English Beer in this English beer recap is Dr Okells IPA from the Isle of Mann. We had it in Old Bell Tavern in Harrogate, a busy place in a location that used to be a toffee shop that also carries a large varieties of bottled and imported beer in a marvelous spa town. We were too busy drinking beer to visit the baths – next time. Last summer someone brought a bottle of this beer to a tasting. It was mediocre at best; however, from cask it was delicious! Clear pale gold with a frothy white head. Slightly citrusy aroma, beet and fresh cut red apples. Bitter and grainy and robust. Medium body, a little carbonated and bitter finish – perfect English India Pale Ale, or Manx, in this case. There are two more beers from Okell’s in the book and I hope to get to drink them soon.

old bell tavern

Dr. Okell IPA and Deuchars IPA are beers #398 and #399 I Must Try Before I Die. More of the Real Ale Trail beers to come :)

English Beer Recap pt.2

I have an exam on Monday and haven’t started studying yet. While destroying a medium-sized rain forest printing files and forms that are supposed to help me prepare for this shit, here’s a recollection of a few bottled English beers I drank and which are listed in the book. Why bottled? Because cask beers demand a little more blogging time and effort.

So here we go:

brakspear bitterBrakspear Bitter is available in Israel. Not too widespread, but can be found in premium supermarkets such as Tiv Ta’am and specializing stores like Markol Ha’Derech in Ramat Ishai or Beer and Beyond in Tel Aviv, where I got my bottle. It’s not too popular here, I believe that due to minor marketing attempt and also due to its low abv. – only 3.4%. Israelis prefer their beer stronger, it’s a value for money thing. I rated it almost exactly one year ago, on February 15th 2015 and are my notes: Hazy brown amber in colour, and an aromatic, malty aroma of biscuit and candy. Slightly alcoholic, bitter and malty taste. Medium-bodied, sweetish finish. Quite nice and rather rich for a 3.4% beer.

St. Peters brewery uses the nicest oval bottles for their beer. Both label and shape remind me of craft spirit – Sloe Gin maybe? – more than craft beer. They have two beers in The Book:

st peters fruit beerSt. Peters Fruit Beer is some sort of heavy-ish Radler, with 4.7% abv. It is based on wheat beer and with grapefruit added to it. Potentially summery and refreshing, but in reality quite lame: Lots of grapefruit in the nose but only slightly hoppy. Bitter, like expired grapefruit juice, malty, then very bitter, but in a bad way. Medium body, bitter finish with some caramel. Not good – maybe it’s a bottle/ batch/ delivery defect? Sure hope so.

st peters cream stoutSt. Peters Cream Stout pours black, opaque with tan ring. Sweet, red grapes. slightly roasted – but only slightly – aroma. Tastes roasty, slightly bitter and a little alcoholic. Mildly carbonated, full-bodied, long, slightly roasty finish. Better than the grapefruit beer but again, not too amazing. Their Scotch Ale, The Saints, is quite good though. Peaty and phenolic and fun.

And finally, for today’s entry, as I should really start working on functions and PERT and shit, is nightmareHambleton Nightmare, stout from the beautiful town of Ripon, in Yorkshire, only we didn’t drink it there, but from a bottle that arrived from the US. Pours very dark brown with white ring. Chocolate, diacetyl and chocolate milk aroma, a little buttery and sweet with some wood in the mouth, but more buttery than roasty. Smooth texture, full-bodied. Not quite a nightmare, but definitely not amazing.

Brakspear Bitter, St Peters Cream Stout and St Peters Fruit Beer and Hambleton Nightmare are beers #394, #395, #396 and #397 I Must Try Before I Die. Happy Friday the 13th y’all!

English Beer Recap part 1.

Over the past year and a half I’ve accumulated a bunch of English beers I drank (along with some Welsh, Manx and Scottish ales). Some were shared by friends, others I shared with friends, plenty The Secret Agent and I drank in our real-ale trail in Yorkshire, in September 2013. I’ve been meaning to write about this trip but cannot seem to get to it. I procrastinate, beer adds on, and it’s freaking me out. The only way to take control over the British beer list is, well, a recap. I will try to write about all the cask ales we drank in the trip together, but for starts, here’s a list of stuff we shared and shared with us at tastings here in Israel.

Gales Prize Old Ale, wax-sealed and corked, brewed in 2001 and shared in Marched 2014 by the Actuary. Pours muddy brown. Cherry Heering and chocolate milk aroma. Vinous, sour taste, full-bodied, no carbonation, sourish finish. It was interesting to taste, but I wouldn’t be able to finish a whole bottle by myself, even a 275ml. one.

I shared a bottle of Batmen’s Combined Harvest at a tasting. Not sure how I got the bottle, I guess it was shipped from the US. Pours Murky honey-brown, with a fruity, oxidized and some cardboard aroma, oxidized fruity taste with some honey. Medium-bodied, no carbonation and sweetish finish. Something went wrong along the way, that’s for sure – manufacturing? storage?

We definitely brought a bottle of Marston’s Old Empire from our trip. I remember getting it at a supermarket. Nice skunkiness in the nose, Bitter skunkiness in the mouth with grainy undertones. Slightly carbonated, light-bodied, herbal finish. Nice, in its particular skunky way. I kinda liked it.

St. Austell Tribute, it’s another one we brought and shared at a tasting in the training pub in my old work place. Clear golden. A little fruity hoppiness and limestone in the nose, stale bitter taste – like English bottled beer. Light body, slightly malty and dry finish. A decent bitter, for sure.

Also from St. Austell brewery is Proper Job, shared by Sailor Tom. A fairly decent APA that pours clear dark gold with white wave. Honey hoppiness, floral aroma. Bitter, slightly dry with fruity undertones. Mildly carbonated, sweetish hoppy finish.

Finally, Thornbridge Hall Bracia – REL, The Actuary and The Dead Swedish Girl brought it together, maybe from Rome, and it’s a kick ass beer! Black with tan head. Wine, ink and gouache paint aroma, inky, bitter, slightly dry and slightly roasty in the mouth, full body, sleek, light carbonation and a little roasty finish.

 

Gales Prize Old Ale, Bateman’s Combined Harvest, Marston’s Old Empire, St. Austell Tribute and Proper Job and Thorbbridge Hall Bracia are beers #388, #389, #390, #391, #392 and #393 I Must Try Before I Die. Getting closer to 400!

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