Ben Dean-Titterrell

1001 Beers: 14. Goose Island IPA

Goose Island IPA

Goose Island IPA

From: USA

Brewed by: Goose Island

First brewed: 1993

ABV: 5.9%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

I’d been looking forward to this one for some time. I’d seen and read and heard good things about it. So, it was with a sense of optimism that I went into this, with the abiding memories of my previous tasting from Goose Island positive ones.

The first thing that hits me: citrus. There was a strong citrusy taste that came immediately to my mind. Then came the hoppiness a mere moment later. To my taste, they were both strong and forceful, but they played off each other well. They complimented one another and balanced out nicely.

There was also a sharpness to this beer. From my very limited experienced IPAs can often have less of an edge to them, blunter somewhat they a crisp lager. But this one had a sharpness that I liked. It added to the refreshing nature of the beer.

Bottle CapAnother nice thing about this beer was the colour. It seems almost silly and unimportant but I really believe the colour of a beer adds a lot to how much you enjoy it. The glowing golden colour was a lovely thing to look at. Never underestimate colour in a beer.

This was great. (Though my memories of it, for now, might be somewhat soured by the fact I dropped and broke one of my favourite glasses while drinking it.)

Broken Glass

I could drink pints of this all night long. A certain four.

4 out of 5

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An update on my MP weekly series

Those of you who read this blog regularly, or have at least read it once, will likely be aware that I used to publish a weekly blog on the activities of my local MP. At first, it was about James Heappey, and then, for a while, it was about Bernard Jenkin. Now is the time where I should be posting about my new MP, Will Quince. However, I will not be posting blogs about Will Quince’s weekly activities in Parliament on this website. I will instead be publishing them on a different website.

Rebel is the University of Essex’s student media organisation. And from (hopefully) this Sunday I’ll be posting two weekly blogs about the activities of two local MPs, Will Quince and Bernard Jenkin. The first will be for students, like myself, living off campus and in Colchester, the second for those on campus and, I believe, in Wivenhoe. As a new Deputy News Editor (online) for Rebel, I’ll be publishing these straight to the website every Sunday (hopefully).

This is fairly big news for me. A little project I started two years ago that was read by almost no one on my own website will now be read by (hopefully) a few more people on someone else’s website. Three cheers for perseverance.

1001 Beers: 13. Goose Island Matilda

Matilda

Matilda

From: United States

Brewed by: Goose Island Brewing Company

First brewed: 2005

ABV: 7%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

Matilda by Goose Island is, at first glance, unlike any other beer I’ve had before. That’s because it comes in a bottle ordinarily used for wine, not beer. Safe to say this Belgian Style Pale Ale was a brand new kind of beer experience for me.

First thing that you notice upon taking a sip of this beer is the fruitiness. The second thing you notice is the dryness. It was odd for me that a liquid could have such a dry taste. The dryness stays in the mouth from start to finish. Upon reading the bottle’s label I deduced that this came from the dry fruit used in the brewing process. After much thought I believe the fruit to be dried apricot, but I cannot know for sure.

Bottle Cap

The colour of the beer was something I noticed particularly here as well. My quite poor quality photograph doesn’t show it but this was a deep rich orange that had a strong haziness to it.

When I do these reviews I like to think of where I’d see myself most enjoying each beer. This example would best be had in a group. The size of the bottle and the general feel of the beer suggests to me it would be best suited as a social beer. I tried this beer in the company of a couple of other people, and the discussion about the beer greatly improved the overall experience.

This was another strong showing. I enjoyed this a lot. Four out of five pints.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: 12. Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor Steam Beer

From: United States

Brewed by: Anchor Brewing Company

First brewed: 1896

ABV: 4.9%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

A steam beer is apparently something that uses lager yeast but ferments at an ale temperature. Apparently all the rage many years ago, Anchor have been pumping this beer out for years to ensure it has a place in contemporary brewing.

It’s taste is full bodied and rich from the very first sip. The intensity of the flavours is apparent immediately and there is no delay in realising the strength of taste this beer has to offer. It’s also got a lovely strong sweetness to it. As a particular fan of beers that have an overall sweetness to them this was an certain positive.

Bottle Cap

The colour was something I noted. It was a dark coppery colour that glowed a deep orange in the path of direct light. It certainly seemed a halfway house between lager and ale in terms of its colour.

I also greatly appreciated how mellow in the mouth this beer could be with regards to how fizzy it was. It hit what I thought of as a good balance that made it ever more enjoyable. One of the best compliments I can pay this beer was just how drinkable it was; it was easy to drink, something that shouldn’t be undervalued in beer.

Really liked this one. A strong four.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: 11. Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Boston Lager

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

From: United States

Brewed by: Boston Beer Company

First brewed: 1985

ABV: 4.9%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

Sam Adams. Another of the instantly recognisable beers that features in this project. Having heard good things in advance I went in with reasonably high expectations. The first sip starts of a path from a crisp fist taste to a rich finish. Its sweet and cold and refreshing at first, but it proceeds to feel rich and fragrant with a nice, palatable bitterness.

I particularly noticed the colour of this beer. It was considerably darker than I’m used to in a lager. That colour seemed to run in parallel with the overall taste. It felt a bit fuller than other lagers I’ve drank. It’s hard to pin down exactly what this difference was but it made the beer taste a little more substantial.

Bottle Cap

This lager was also something that I felt I could drink a fair amount of. I could sit for an evening and have several pints worth of this. It was relaxed enough to be consumed again and again in one night.

Hard to nail down what to give this. It’s certainly a good beer, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call it great. Don’t get me wrong though, I recommend it. Three out of five.

3 out of 5

1001 Beers: 10. Thornbridge Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg Imperial Russian Stout

From: England

Brewed by: Thornbridge Brewery

First brewed: 2005

ABV: 7.4%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

I’d never tried a stout before I picked out this beer. It already felt like it was more than about time I did so. And yet I tasted this beer with some trepidation. As a well established fan of lighter, hoppier, fruitier beers I had the lingering belief that stout may be too adverse a taste for my liking. Yet I tried as best I could to take this beer as it was rather than how I thought it would be.

My first thought remained my overriding thought: “Damn that’s bitter.” The bitterness was deep and strong, it descended into something of a sourness. It was incredibly full bodied and dominated the mouth, almost burning on the tongue. The north of 7% strength left a kick in the back of the throat that stayed for some time.

Bottle Cap

Speaking of the strength of this beer; it may have been a mistake to start off with such a strong stout as my first. Having say for instance an IPA that was 7% as mys first IPA may have warranted a similar reaction. Starting with stronger beers seems like quite a backwards way of doing things; like putting the stabilisers on a bike after learning to ride unaided.

So a mistake on my part possibly. But the strength of this stout doesn’t change the simple and unavoidable fact that I just don’t really like bitterness in beer.

This really wasn’t for me. It’s nothing personal, but a two out of five.

2 out of 5

1001 Beers: 9. BrewDog Punk IPA

Punk IPA

Punk IPA

From: Scottish

Brewed by: BrewDog

First brewed: 2007

ABV: 5.6%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

When you read of BrewDog you read of a brewery that started with the goal of pushing the boundaries of brewing. They were rebels that didn’t care for established order of things. I care little for mythologising the history of beer and its makers, so I’ll take Punk IPA on its merits.

The hoppiness is rich and far-reaching. The mix of hops is strong and forceful, but not so strong as to be off-putting. The flavours are complex and they give you a lot to think about. I definitely found the hop flavours more prominent than the malt ones; its a personal preference but I think this ranks as a positive aspect to the beer.

Bottle Cap

One of the things I noticed first about this IPA was how fizzy it was. It seems like an odd thing to make note of, but the fizz in this beer was more prominent than many others I’ve tried. It gave each sip a real edge to it. This strong fizz worked well with the tropical fruit flavours that I’m also a big fan of in beers generally.

A strong showing here from Punk IPA. There’s a definite re-drinkability. A well deserved four pints.4 out of 5