Category Archives: Amber Ale

Smog City ‘Sabre-Toothed Squirrel’ Hoppy Amber Ale


“This medium bodied hoppy American amber ale balances a solid hop profile with a rich caramel and toasty malt character. Expect notes of sweet citrus, pine resin and a touch of peach on the nose with complex maltiness and a firm bitterness in the finish.”

Glassware: American Pint.

Appearance: Deep amber pour with shades of pink and candy red. Full transparency. It forms a thumb of light khaki foam which maintains its shape. Healthy lace clings to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Pow! The dank and resinous hops lift out of the glass immediately. It’s straight up grapefruit and blood orange with truck loads of pine resin, dank herbals, rotting leaves, strong floral perfumes and rind. And that’s just the hop profile! The malt bill also offers a hefty marriage of toffee and caramel, toast and blood plum and then there’s nuanced hints of earthy apricot, sage and stewed fruits filling it out further. Very well layered aroma.

Flavour: We’re really impressed at how they’ve managed to draw out this aggressive West Coast quality but still keep it mostly sweet and malty. Pine resins, florals, pithy citrus and dank herbals are rife and the rich malts with its toffee, earthy caramel and toast tack on and balance everything out. It all surges into a rather sharp and bitter finish which lingers.

Mouthfeel: Kind of a sticky and chewy texture with a dry bitterness in the swallow. Medium body and Co2. The 7% ABV does have a slight burn to it.

Overall: We’re a little undecided to be honest. We like that it crosses over a few styles plus it’s really well layered and intense but it gets a little hard to finish off. Definitely enjoyable but in small doses.

Bonehead ‘Bonafide Series – Ember’ Spiced Winter Ale


“Our first Bona Fide release for winter – Ember, an Amber Ale spiced with Maple Syrup, Cinnamon and Vanilla to warm your spirit on these cold winter nights.  Time to get just a little serious.
The Bona fide limited release series is our chance to focus on quality limited release beers without the need for a story, pun or pop culture reference. They’re just good beer for beers sake.
These brews are more frequent than our other series and once they are sold out they are gone.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Reasonably clear mild amber with soft red hues. It forms a thumb of khaki head which quickly peels off and settles at the rim. A wet lace is dragged down as we imbibe.

Aroma: She’s certainly sweet. The vanilla and maple syrup components rush the olfactories but as we say that the cinnamon and nutmeg counteract it. The hallmark nutty malts, honeysuckle and subtle cola then marry up with this somewhat fruity apple pie quality which is an absolute pleasure to take in. Lightly toasted malts on the flank. It literally smells like a baby version of some of The Bruery’s pastry beers.

Flavour: It’s a lot more carbonated than we were expecting. Being a “spiced winter ale” as they’ve named it doesn’t really suit the narrative so far. The other downside to it is that it really takes the edge off the lovely sweet and spicy maple, vanilla and cinnamon. What we’re left with is a watered down version which slips through too quickly but at least manages to hold on for a little while on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Too over carbonated, watery and thin. This part of the beer has totally ruined what could have been something pretty decent.

Overall: It was all shaping up to be a stunner but the mouthfeel and flavour profile (or lack thereof) let them down in our opinion. This was our first crack at Bonehead too so it’s a shame it couldn’t follow through.

Bad Shepherd ‘Break Yo Fast’ Maple Bacon Amber Ale


“Wakey, wakey, sleepy head! It’s time to Break Yo’ Fast with this smoky sweet amber ale and a side of sticky maple bacon pancakes. We don’t always have beer for brekkie but this is a special occasion. It’s our 5th Birthday Limited Edition brew so go on, treat yo’ self!”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Pours an attractive deep amber with a thumb of off white head. It gradually peels off and settles at the rim. Reasonable lace as we go.

Aroma: Holy moly it actually smells like it’s been barrel aged so you could imagine our surprise to find out it hasn’t. We’re getting a dank and musty sauna room quality but as we keep taking it in we realise it’s the smoky bacon that’s providing it. The maple and buttery caramel sweetness is a master stroke…not only for balance but also for outright decadence. Yummo!

Flavour: The smoky bacon is a tad more restrained here. Definitely getting more of the traditional Amber characters like honeysuckle, burnt toffee, nutty malts and floral hops. They marry up beautifully with the subtle maple as well. There’s also a slight dryness to it which provides a good balance. Nice and sweet nutty and slightly smoky finish with good length.

Mouthfeel: Balance is the key here…there’s a nice chewy density but the light fizz and hop bitterness counteracts well. Only 5% too so it’s all about that equilibrium.

Overall: Solid stuff. We’ve been super impressed with what Bad Shepherd have been putting out lately. What are we saying we’ve been super impressed with this brewery for a long time now!! Keep em coming!

Resin ‘Flame Tree’ Amber Ale


Glassware: American pint.

Appearance: Kinda muddy rusted amber with a rapidly vanishing head. Looks like there could be Co2 issues here. We sincerely hope not.

Aroma: Smells like it has life so that’s a good sign. Lovely wafts of sweet malts encapsulating toffee, caramel and nutty grains. Fleeting hints of Asian herbs like lemongrass and coriander, a touch of peppercorn, fleshy stonefruit like paw paw and rock melon, apricot, kumquat and marmalade are all tied up in a neat little package. Quite a nice aroma in the end.

Flavour: Ok the Co2 worries we had at the beginning are all but gone…it just simply didn’t retain its head. It opens with a fruity kick and a solid support from semi sweet toffee and caramelised malts. Subtle jabs of citrus, peppery spice and herbs are thrown the whole way through until it punctuates on a dry yet malty sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: A little sticky, gelatinous and well rounded. There’s a nice line of hop bitterness, a slightly flat-ish Co2 and the 6% ABV is well behaved.

Overall: That’s 3/3 for this respectable, new-ish brewery. We wouldn’t go as far as saying this is an American style Amber Ale but there’s definitely a lifted hop presence and a higher ABV to boot. We likey!

Zierholz Amber Ale


“Düsseldorf Altbier style. ‘Alt’ means ‘old’ in German but in this case does not refer to an aged beer, it simply reflects that in Germany, ale brewing is considered the old way of fermenting as opposed to lager beers which are (relatively) newer. Big on flavour yet retaining the drinkability of a session ale as it the way of the brewpubs and beer taverns in Duesseldorf.Like it’s ‘hybrid’ cousin the Koelschbier (German Ale), the extra fruitiness created by the use of warmer temperatures during primary fermentation customary for an ale is smoothed out an extended cold conditioning similar to a lager.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep amber with candy red highlights. Only manages a short head which quickly peels back to the rim. Laced reasonably well considering the lack of retention.

Aroma: Very traditional Amber Ale here – kinda earthy, gritty and a little yeasty but still dominated by the gorgeous toffee, burnt caramel, fig, mixed nuts, toasty malt and baker’s chocolate. Some tart dark berries and fruits i.e cherry and plum also coming through. Subtle straw and wheat grains as well. Good depth and complexity.

Flavour: Nice transition from the nose. That same gritty earthy-ness offsets all the sweet malt characters perfectly. Some classic German yeast esters peeking through with the doughy/toasty malts coming out the other side and delivering a slightly dry and earthy finish with delicate dark fruits on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and a little creamy. Nice frothy Co2, medium body. 4.7% ABV spot on for the style.

Overall: It’s always good to break the cycle of edgy new world beers with a traditional old favourite. If there’s any Aussie brewery (apart from Jindy Brewing) that can brew a German beer as good as the Germans it’s Zierholz. Solid.

Woolshed Brewery ‘AAAmber Ale’ Australian Amber Ale


“Woolshed Brewery AAAMber Ale has been named after the AAAM brand which is given only to the finest Merino wool once a sheep is shorn. So, having selected what Woodshed believe to be the best Australian hops, and combine this with the rain water collected from a sheep shearing shed roof, the brewers at Woolshed figured that it’d be an appropriate name for their Australian amber ale.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep amber with faint strawberry highlights. It constructs a big and rocky three finger head and takes an age to reduce. Not a great deal sticking to the glass though.

Aroma: Not your typical Amber Ale aroma’s for one. It has this weird earthy-ness which we can’t get past. Also picking up old floral hops and a slight chemical-like note. Yikes! Bad start. Tried to find a bottling date but to no avail. This is why cans are so much better!

Flavour: Slightly over carbonated. Very little in the way of flavour initially but some semi sweet malts bring out hints of nutty toffee, honey and very subtle maple. The hops don’t do it any justice…they have this earthy and floral character that kind of clashes with the malt sweetness. The finish is just dirty and earthy.

Mouthfeel: As touched on before it’s slightly over carbonated. Somewhat thin with little body. The 5.4% ABV is well hidden but then again it is only 5.4%.

Overall: We’re thinking this is either really old or it’s infected. It just doesn’t smell or taste right. The over carbonation points to age and poor storage. We won’t name the bottle shop but we’re certainly a little peeved.

All Inn Brewing ‘Blind Axeman’ Amber Ale


“A sturdy but sprightly malt base provides a firm foundation for fresh fruit and spice notes to show off a little.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: deep amber with two fingers of fluffy foam atop. Good retention and healthy lace clinging to the glass as we go.

Aroma: Tantalisingly sweet and caramelised…yet well balanced we must add. Tonnes of nutty malt, caramel, toffee, butterscotch and honey with hints of lemon, pine needle, dark fruits i.e raisin, fig, dates and earthy spice. Some mild herbaceous notes coming through as well. All Inn all (pun intended) a very pleasant aroma.

Flavour: Very similar to the nose but with a slightly more lifted hop profile and bitterness. Delicious waves of caramelised malt suggests toffee, caramel and butterscotch which meet with a slightly piney and citrusy middle. Delightfully nutty and toasty malts pick up and move in to well balanced finish of caramelised malt, piney hops and moderate dryness.

Mouthfeel: So well balanced…like a beer on a barrel. Mild stickiness, medium body and Co2. 4.7% ABV. Absolutely in session territory here.

Overall: We haven’t graced our palates with an All Inn beer since we visited the brewery all those years ago. This is quite a good amber ale – sweet, nutty, well balanced. Definitely doing all the right things. Solid drop.

Bacchus Brewing Co ‘Fighting Falcon’ American Amber Ale

image“This American style amber ale is crammed full of a propriety blend of American hops called Falconers Flight. The aroma and flavour is an explosion of tropical fruit and citrus. The rich malt backbone balances the hop intensity perfectly.”

Served in an English pint. Pouring a relatively clear crimson hue that dons a thumb of loosely packed bubble over the top. The head is retained quite well as it works a webbed lace pattern down the walls of the glass.
That nose is oh so sweet! Don’t know how he does it but Ross (head brewer) somehow brews beer that we just want to indulge in. This moreish sweetness that is leaping out of the glass is a blend of butterscotch, caramelized malt, toffee and golden syrup. Yep, you could literally pour this over your pancakes! We like how the feature hop (Falconers Flight) is used wisely with its subtle tropical fruit characters peeking through to balance out the malts.
The American character represents with its moderate hop bitterness. The texture is creamy with medium body. Slightly lifted Co2.
Definitely a much more balanced flavour profile. We get that caramelized malty sweetness coming though with this fruity and somewhat dry line of bitterness from the hops. It’s a little obscure but there is a faint hint of grapefruit that reveals itself midway. There’s a bit of a tussle between the hops and malts as it eventually finishes on a dry bitterness with a hint of nutty malt in the tail.
Definitely hitting its mark as it displays this kind of amber IPA character to it. We hate to admit this but as we’ve grown accustomed to such a high level of quality from Bacchus that when we come across a beer that doesn’t completely blow us away we get a bit complacent. It’s actually not a bad beer, it’s just no snickers ale, barosski or PBJT. Not bad.

5 Barrel Brewing Hoppy Amber

17757206_674349339415881_200787210755425434_n“Darker doesn’t always mean stronger. Amber beers usually carry a maltiness that you don’t find with paler styles. The malt character can range from a light caramel to full on rich toffee and toast. Our Hoppy Amber is verging on an IPA, but there is punchy malty body that pushed us to call it an Amber. It has a wonderful fruit, pine and spice balance that develops on the palate. It has a firm bitterness, but the caramel sweetness rounds it out to ensure your senses aren’t overwhelmed.”

Served in an English pint. Rusted amber complexion that reveals a candy red hue when held to the light. A thumb of loosely packed bubble forms the crown before it reduces to a film with some patchy lace working its way down.
We remember this beer as the pick of the range when we visited the brewery last year and it’s great to see it hasn’t changed. It still has all of those superb red IPA qualities with its gorgeous caramel malt base providing the formwork for the fruity hops to work off of. Everything from sticky toffee, caramel and butterscotch to pine, grassy hops and passion fruit. Picking up a subtle hint of toasty malt in here too. Excellent aroma.
Lovely balance of smooth malts and bitter hops on the tongue. Just the right amount of carbonation with a little tickle from the 6.5% ABV around the edges. Medium body. 50 IBU.
Again, balance is the key in flavour. Sweet and somewhat chewy caramels wash over the front palate. All the while that subtle bitterness plays 2nd fiddle until it comes alive in the mid bringing with it fruity and piney notes that reach well in to the long and dry finish. Good length as this tussle between the pine/herbal hops and the sweet toasty malts duke it out on the back end.
It’s actually really hard to fault this beer. The balance is spot on, the ABV gives it a boost and the delicate toasty note adds that extra complexity. Really classy drop from this brewery.

Bcchus Brewing Co. ‘Peanut Butter Jelly Time’

16807520_648906535293495_8039335137728791205_n“This beer was originally created for the Bacchus B20 beer fest. 20 “one off” unique beers, each brewed to represent a country/leader at the G20. USA – peanut butter jelly time popularized by the Family Guy. This is a peanut butter and jelly Amber Ale.”

Served in an English pint. She pours an attractive amber hue with excellent clarity. The short head slowly reduces to a film that struggles to leave a foot print on the glass as it ebbs.
Once again the willy wonka of the beer world has produced an absolutely stunning aroma that oozes decadent and moreish sweetness. This is the most impressive part though, of all the dessert beers we’ve reviewed from Bacchus (and there’s been quite a few) not one has been cloying or unbalanced. They all hit their mark perfectly as this one does with jelly, peanut butter, coconut flakes, raspberries, milk chocolate and vanilla. God, take us now!
The mouth feel is spot on. Just enough weight from the body with a smooth and sleek texture. Nice vibrant Co2 provides that vital uplift in the mouth. Brilliant.
We’ve never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but if this is what they taste like then damn! We can see why they’re so popular. Big hit of sugary jelly upfront followed by a soft peanut butter creaminess. What could best be described as a very subtle salinity gets washed over by super sweet malts, crystallized sugars and marshmallow in the finish.
Phenomenal stuff. It’s that kind of beer you wish would never end. The aromas and flavors are so delicious that words almost don’t do it justice. You’ve just got to try it to understa

Akasha Brewing Co. ‘Fire Within’ Amber Ale

15965386_628251784025637_6330191948108763642_n“Fire Within is characterised by a rich copper colour and caramel sweetness, balanced with the floral and citrus flavours from a healthy dose of classic American hops. The result is a rich smooth brew that will ignite the taste buds. ”

Served in an English pint. The attractive copper appearance is topped off with a finger of off white foam that actually holds together pretty well. A healthy lace is strewn down the glass as we imbibe.
The nose is one of the best we’ve smelt from an amber ale in a long time. Akasha are known for their hop-forward and American inspired beers, which this also is, but for us it’s the big, sweet and toasty malts the are winning us over. Caramel, toffee, earthy figs, maple syrup and nuts come through with a piney and slightly resinous hop profile in support. The two together actually have a black IPA-like complexity to it. Excellent stuff.
The texture of the beer is much more willing to reveal the hops than the nose. The 45 IBU provides an assertive hop bite while the moderate Co2 adds the active bubbles. Nicely centred body. Drinks well.
Good continuation from the nose. Toasty malts dominate upfront with toffee, earthy notes and eventually a dank sweetness that bridges on to a piney and resinous mid palate. Another tussle between the two plays out as it finishes with a bitter dryness and a toasty, almost nutty character on the back end.
This amber ale is a good example of why Akasha just keep going from strength to strength. It has everything here! The robust malt base, the dank and resinous hops, a lifted ABV (5.8% ABV) and an overall balance that makes this one solid quaffer. A classy drop.

Bacchus Brewing Company ‘Ferrari Rocher’ Amber Ale

15541121_616150058569143_9186274643250555795_n“Brewed initially to represent Italy at our B20 beer fest this racy little amber beer is a luxurious flavour mix of milk chocolate and hazelnuts.”

Served in a beer tulip. This addition to Bacchus’s stellar range pours a light burgundy hue with a short, frothy cap forming on top. It eventually collapses to a collar with minimal lace left in its wake.
We once saw a reviewer sum Bacchus up as the “willy wonka of the craft beer world”. We thought this was absolutely spot on because if you, like us, have tried many of their beers you’d know that they have turned the most delicious sweets into beer….with delicious perfection! This one is no different, with its subtle similarity to the peanut brittle gose this moreish and devilishly sweet concoction of milk chocolate, nuts, nougat, caramel, nutella and kit kats is enough to send our sweet tooth in to overdrive! Amazing.
She offers a vibrant texture with an active Co2 level along with a silky smooth mouth feel. The 7% ABV is extremely well buried. Roughly medium in body. A real pleasure to drink.
The palate is treated to a big impression of melted caramel, nutella, milk chocolate and chocolate wafers. Not so much the flavour of a Ferrero Rocher (although it is here) more the blissful, eye-closing indulgence this beer is providing is enough to make us want to buy 12 more!
Man that is dangerously addictive. What’s even better is that for all of its decadence it’s not at all cloying. The extreme sweetness is so brilliantly balanced that we just want to eat it. Forget dessert, from now on just buy one of these. Outstanding stuff.

Mountain Goat ‘The Alphonse’ India Amber ale

imageWe have a special affinity for the goat army since we first tasted the hightale ale back in 1999. This brew is the bigger, maltier, hoppier brother of the hightale. We like the informative label also, a feature of the In Breed series of beers of late.

Poured into a pint glass to extract the full goodness from this 740ml bottle, we see a lovely deep Amber body. There is a good 10mm off white head of compact little bubbles which retains beautifully. Nice amount of carbonation in the glass too. First whiff is Marmalade jam, citrus and sweet malt. Reminds us of a Ballast a Point grapefruit sculpin which is frickin impressive. First sip yields solid bitterness in the mouth but not overpowering. It lingers right the way past the back palate until you have the next sip. Almost sits on your tonsils with a tingle. We imagine the IBU is 65+. Bit of spice here like they have used rye malt. We not sure but we like it. Grapefruit bitterness, mixed with lemon rind, sweet caramel malts, and an almost roasted almond like flavour which again must be the malts. Good Alc vol here of 7%, you can’t even tell. As we imbibe there is a wall of lacing opposite from where we sip. Body is medium with good length. There is mild carbonation in the mouth. You almost get confused with the spice bubbling away. This is a really tasty beer. It’s smooth as on the back palate, no offending booze burn, beautiful marriage of citrus and spicy hops with roasted and sweet malts. This is a winner. Well done lads.

Nomad/Dogfish Head ‘Cross Pallet Nation’ Amber ale

imageCreated from Nomad Brewing, Pallet Magazine and Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head. This bad boy is brewed in Sydney using Vic Secret and Melba, along with wattle seed and finger limes. Sam added American maple sugar and mesquite (smoked) malts, with Birra Del Borgo yeast from Italy.

Wow, what a collaboration. Dogfish Head for us is one of the premier craft breweries. We salivate with anticipation. Poured into a schooner, lovely mahogany greets us with no head. Very much an amber ale appearance. On the nose, we get subdued sweet malts, very mild pine, and mild booze. First sip is interesting. Definite sharpness or tartness which must be the finger limes. The IBU here is 20 by the way. This upfront tartness fades leaving a subsiding bitterness, with that smoky/ash flavour from the malt, and a mild sweetness that must be the maple sugar. We don’t get a lot of hops really other than mild pine. Definite nutty flavours here which are either the malts used other than mesquite or the wattleseed. It’s almost coffee-ish. Maybe some mild dough yeast. As we get through the glass the sweetness is now obvious on the lips, like a sticky film. The relatively medium body actually seems lighter and for 8% Alc vol, it doesn’t really come into things as the combinations of flavours drown it out which is a testament to the brewing process. The smokiness really combining with the finger limes, and the nutty, almost coffee flavour are really the standouts here. Everything this beer says it does, it does. It’s a damn fine effort and we expected nothing less when Dogfish Head are involved. Brilliant!

The Mash Collective ‘Dead East Ale’ Amber Ale

12185211_448135068703977_7895989127442538984_o“This year we’ve pulled together three local lads who share a love for the sun, the salt and the sea… It’s no wonder that they’ve brewed a beer inspired by perfect endless days spent on the eastern most tip of Australia. Introducing Dead East Ale, an amber ale encompassing a mixture of hops Simcoe, Citra and the experimental Crosby #6 to give punchy aroma and flavour, that is then balanced by a selection of roasted malt varieties for a more satisfying finish.  A beer perfect to relax with by the ocean after a long day in the sun.”

Served in a shaker glass. The attractive crimson body is covered by a finger of beige foam that gradually reduced to a light film that settles on top. Lacing is scarce but streaky in random patches. The hop bill is made up of 2 of the USA’s best – Citra and Simcoe – that provides generous amounts of luscious tropical fruit and citrus while the experimental “Crosby #6” hop is providing this vinous, rotting leaves and resinous-like aroma. Quite a firm malt backing too, a delicately rich and caramelized toffee scent creeps in nicely. The aroma as a whole almost reminds us of a really good red IPA. Very encouraging start to this beer. In the mouth it’s super smooth with a mild developing dryness to the back end. Quite creamy in texture and moderate in both body and carbonation. Only 5% ABV so expectedly no alcohol warmth is detected. Excellent balance is procured from start to finish here. Upfront a healthy tussle between ripe tropical fruits and sweet caramelized malts plays out. As it progresses forward through the mid a delicate bitterness builds that in turn leads on to a slightly dry and malty finish. A succession of subtle yet delicious flavours all consolidate to produce this captivating number. A confident step forward from their ‘heart breaker’ red ale so this amber can bask in its own greatness. Solid offering.

Wineglass bay brewery ‘hazards ale’ Amber Ale

image“Hazards beer is a premium boutique beer brewed in accordance to the very old German purity law which states that only Barley, Hops, Water and Yeast can be used for brewing. There are no additives and the beer is not filtered or pasteurised.”

From the stunningly beautiful freycinet peninsula in Tasmania, this is our first review of this small microbrewery. This ale is brewed according to German purity laws so we not expecting anything amazing, from a craft perspective. There is very minimal on the nose.. some malt. Pouring an orange/golden, there is plenty of bubble, leaving an almost milky head. First sip yields very mild this case hallertau are used. Mostly malty grain is tasted. Not much else to be honest. Being an ale, it’s smooth and sessionable, and sits at 5.2% alc vol. It’s a tad watery in the mouth though. We would love to try what else this brewery has to offer, as this ale is standard, average only brewing. It’s was a nice drop, but that’s it.

Lost Coast brewing co. ‘Alley Cat’ Amber ale

image“A full-flavored amber ale made with roasted caremel malt. Richly colored and medium-bodied, Alleycat is an assertive blend of malts with a sprightly cascade of hops”.

Served in a shaker glass the amber pour boasts a gorgeous copper red hue. The foamy two finger head dissipates quite quickly to a rim of foam around the side of the glass. Laced poorly. A sweet bready malt-driven aroma is offering warming additions of toffee, almond, marmalade, maple syrup and fig. There is also a lovely spicy hop profile to balance it out. Respectable aroma. The mouth feel was smooth with mild-medium carbonation. Medium bodied. We found the flavour slightly subdued initially but once it warmed the flavours began to open up. Similar to the aroma, the palate was also mainly sweet/caramel malt driven. Toffee, honey and jam with a subtle hoppy background. Nice toasty finish. The 5.5% ABV is spot on. Essentially this isn’t a bad beer it’s just a little unconvincing. It’s slightly frustrating because it had had set the platform to be a really good brew but it seemed to lack that knock out punch. Good, but nothing great.

He’brew ‘Origin’ Pomegranate amber ale

image“Brewed with the juice of over 10,000 luscious pomegranates, ORIGIN is a complex, rich and balanced Imperial Amber Ale with a truly unique character. The pomegranate juice is added during fermentation, leaving only the residual sugars, which serve to balance the hop bitterness.”

Poured into a shaker glass the appearance displayed a murky mahogany with some copper red highlights. The fizzy 1 inch head dissipated quickly to a rim of foam around the inner edges of the glass. Minimal lacing. As to be expected the sweet aroma from the pomegranate is gorgeous and is further complimented by hints of tart berries, caramel and candy cane. The mouth feel was smooth, almost velvety with a mild carbonation level. Flavour boasts a good balance of sweetness coming from the pomegranate and a good touch of tart berry sourness. We also picked up hints of caramel, malt and a really subtle spice. The only downfall is its slightly one dimensional. Nevertheless the flavours here do marry together really well. The 8% ABV is so well hidden and also deserves credit. All up, it’s not bad but nothing overly special.

Hawthorn brewing co. Amber ale

image“Hawthorn Amber Ale is a rich malt flavoured ale, presenting itself as dark auburn coloured with hints of red. More British than the Queen’s corgi’s, our Amber Ale is meticulously brewed to the true Northern English style. The inclusion of the world famous base malt – Maris Otter, ensures a lovely rounded body, whilst a small addition of Chocolate Malt in the grain bill delivers a warm bittersweet roasted caramel flavour. Mild English hops balance the sweet malt nicely, and plenty of dry hopping after the fermentation infuses a floral and spice aroma. Hawthorn Amber Ale is an all malt beer with no added sugar, chemicals or preservatives. Smooth and well balanced, drink it a few degrees warmer than the fridge for the full flavoured experience. Best from a glass”.

Poured into a shaker glass the appearance offers a deep amber with a tight one and a half finger beige head. Good retention drawing some nice lace trails as the beer recedes. The aroma displays a gorgeous roasted character with hints of toffee, nuts and toast. An encompassing candy-like aroma adds depth and a sweet component to the nose that is really alluring. Medium carbonation with a frothy mouth feel. Medium body. Sweet malt, nuts and light, spicy hops initially make way for a subtle peppery mid-palate. Flashes of caramel malt move forward through to the nutty finish. Unfortunately the overall flavour becomes quite thin and one dimensional which is a real shame. The 4.7% ABV is quite modest, we feel the beer could have been lifted a bit if the percentage was higher. All in all, a good beer with the right foundations, just lacking the knock out blow for us.

Endeavour ‘2012 reserve’ amber ale

imageOur 2nd installment for this brewery. Poured into a shaker glass, the pour is displaying an amber/brown appearance with a compacted white head that swells to about a finger in height before slowly collapsing away leaving no head at all. No lacing whatsoever. Aroma shows a mild crystal malt-driven character with hints of nuts, fig, toffee, spice and brown sugar. Mild-medium carbonation with low bitterness. Slightly silky mouth feel with average body. Bordering on being too thin. The taste mirrors the aroma with a malt driven palate. Slightly earthy hints of biscuit, nuts and caramel outdo what little hops come through. A touch of citrus comes in late but has no real effect. Pretty average length. At 5.2% ABV we were hoping for a bit more oomph but it simply wasn’t there. We can’t work out what this beer is missing but what we can be certain of is that we’ve had plenty of better amber ales.