Ben Dean-Titterrell

Politics and beer. Travel content coming soon…

Month: April, 2017

1001 Beers: 4. British Bulldog

British Bulldog

British Bulldog

From: British

Brewed by: Westerham Brewery Co.

First brewed: 2004

ABV: 4.3%

Obtained from: Beers of Europe

I was cautious about British Bulldog. Cautious about the thought of trying my first bitter in general. I like sweeter beers, I like beers that are light on the tongue. Bitter, to my mind, seemed the complete opposite of what I like. So I took my first sip with extreme caution.

I have to say I was more than pleasantly surprised. There was a lovely balance to this beer with regard to the bitterness and sweetness. Westerham included a handy little bitterness and sweetness scale on the back of the bottle – this beer got a rating of 3 out of 5 on both factors. I think the balance worked well in this beer’s favour, perhaps it defeats the point of a bitter to be so, well, un-bitter but I liked it and that’s all that really matters on this blog.

Bottle Top

In terms of the strength of beer, I feel it hit a more or less perfect balance at 4.3%. It had a seriousness about its strength but it didn’t come close to being overpowering. It had a little kick in the back of the throat which made it a little coarse to swallow.

I liked this beer but I couldn’t fall in love with it. As only my first bitter it was never going to win me over from my sweet, light lager loving ways. It wasn’t the nice chilled beers I’m most accustomed to, but perhaps with time I’ll come to appreciate it more. I give British Bulldog a solid 3 out of 5.

3 out of 5

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1001 Beers: 3. EKU 28

EKU 28

EKU 28

From: Germany 

Brewed by: Kulmbacher Brauerei

First brewed: 1954

ABV: 11%

Obtained from: Beers of Europe

“Oh my god!” I exclaimed as I swallowed my first sip EKU 28. A beer of 11% is an impressive achievement, and the taste of this beer is just as strong as the double digit ABV suggests it should be. The full nature of the taste hits you immediately, but it takes a few moments to figure out what it actually tastes like. For me , it tasted like syrup.

EKU 28 is so strong and so incredibly sweet that it reminded me of maple syrup more that anything else. I don’t mean to be rude to the people who make this beer, but to me it tasted like diluted maple syrup with a a shot or two of vodka in it. I like sweet beers, but this was more sickly that anything else.

Bottle Top

I wan’t to be able to say something good about EKU 28, but nothing really comes out at me as particularly great about it. It wasn’t intolerable by any means, I finished it, but I just really didn’t enjoy it. Overall it’s a 2 out of 5 from me.

2 out of 5

1001 Beers: 2. La Chouffe

La Chouffe

La Chouffe

From: Belgium

Brewed by: Brasserie d’Achouffe

First brewed: 1982

ABV: 8%

Obtained from: Beers of Europe

The beer that comes in this charming little bottle is a strong one, 8% is not to be sniffed at as far as I’m concerned. The strength of La Chouffe is the first thing that hits you. From the start I knew I was having a beer that if consumed by the pint could do some pretty serious damage, but this isn’t to my mind automatically a good thing. This beer was strong but it felt somewhat harsh on the tongue, which made it a bit less enjoyable.

There’s also an inescapable hint of spice to it – having checked the ingredients of the bottle I’ve found this to the coriander in the beer. The use of coriander is definitely interesting and gives this beer a sense of character, but I also feel like this contributes to the harshness on the tongue that I can’t help but dislike.

Bottle Top

This beer is without a doubt refreshing and its interesting how this can occur when it lacks the sense of being light on the palette. It seems “light” and “refreshing” are not inseparable. In terms of where I’d envisage drinking this beer I see this as something to drink in a beer garden on a sunny day with friends.

La Chouffe is a good beer which I’d drink again, I just didn’t fall in love with the mix of strength and hints of spice. A well earned 3 out of 5.

3 out of 5

1001 Beers: 1. 13 Guns

13 Guns

13 Guns

From: England

Brewed by: Thwaites

First brewed: 2011

ABV: 5.5%

Obtained from: Wetherspoons (The LantokayStreet, Somerset)

This English tribute to an American twist on Indian Pale Ale (IPA) packs a serious punch. The flavour of the beer is very intense, you really don’t have to wait a moment to get the full body of the taste. This beer is like when someone gives you a very firm pat on the back, it’s not so intense as to knock you over but you will be a little taken aback.

In terms of the tastes and smells that hit you a few seconds after you take a sip there’s an obvious fruitiness to this American IPA. It feels tangy on the back of the tongue and has sweetness to it that I really enjoyed. The fruitiness stays with you after each sip, lingering on the tongue. This is a beer to savour in the evening somewhere warm and cosy.

A final thing I liked about this may at first seems inconsequential, but I felt it made a difference. The colour. Yeah it sounds silly but this beer had a lovely colour. It had beautiful amber glow when the light hit it and this made the experience ever more enjoyable.

The inaugural beer for this 1001 beers project was a lovely one. Certainly makes it onto the list of better IPA’s I’ve tried. I’d definitely drink 13 Guns again. Out of 5, it gets a 4.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: The Beer-ginning

This is the beginning, or beer-ginning, of a new project, a project to drink 1001 different beers before I die. I’ll drink each beer, whether it comes in a bottle, can, or draught and write a review before rating each beer on a scale of five. These aren’t just any beers, they’re specially selected and collected in a book quite conveniently called 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die.

The book was put together by journalist Adrian Tierney-Jones back in 2013. He stresses in his introduction that the book is far from a list of the world’s best beers. He says “It is a a list of the beers you really should try before you shuffle off this mortal coil – if only to discover what you dislike.”

Book

My girlfriend bought this volume of beer excellence for me for Valentines Day this year and now, after a prolonged period of putting it off I’m finally going to start making my way through this book. I’m going to try and drink four of the beers every month (mainly because doing any more would be too harsh on my wallet), that way it should only take me…um…about 20 years.

This project, this journey if you will, will take me around the world. Through 68 countries from every continent but Antarctica I’ll be drinking light beers, amber beers and dark beers. Lagers, ales, pale ales, Indian pale ales, bitters and stouts. Weak beers with ABVs in single figures and strong beers with ABVs in double figures. Beers brewed in abbeys by monks and beers brewed in microbreweries by hipsters. Beers first brewed this decade and beers first brewed in the century before last. Famous beers and beers so obscure sounding you wonder if they’re even real. Beers in bottles and beers in cans. Beers upon beers upon beers.

There’s an inconvenient truth about this project that I’ve been doing my best to avoid. Many of these beers are very hard, some seemingly impossible, to get hold of. Importing beer is difficult and complicated, and beers from countries like Palestine, Ethiopia, and Laos may prove too hard to obtain. Also, many of the beers in this book may simply stop being brewed, or the breweries could go totally out of business, or this country might revert to prohibition. Basically in all the years this is gonna take a lot of things could happen that would make this project a hell of a lot harder or even straight up impossible. I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t get through all 1001 beers, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

For now, join me on the first step of this journey by reading the review of beer number one. Just click here and we’ll get started.

Cheers.

Cheers