Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Melville's Strawberry Craft Lager

Melville’s Strawberry Craft Lager

Innis & Gunn


“Melville’s. Finally a fruit beer for people who like great beer.”

The label spiel on a bottle of Melville’s throws down the glove to the beer critic, and appears to set the scene for a dramatic fall. Then the label announces that this beer comes from the Innis and Gunn brewery and the beer critic foresees the phrase “fair play” in his near future.

Melville’s pours a rampantly carbonated dusky red-pink, with hordes of bubbles clinging to the walls of the glass. The head simmers down quickly to a minimal ring around the circumference and a paltry few islands of bubbles.

The nose is obviously strawberries, and lots of them. At first the scent seems skewed towards the bitter end of the spectrum before a further inhale sees the sweetness present itself.

The first taste is fruitier than expected, the notes of hops are well concealed behind the rows of rich strawberries and really only show themselves in the aftertaste. Even then it’s a spectral presence.

All the other components of this lager are almost completely eclipsed by the rich (and richer by the taste) hit of strawberries, and the texture is smooth and a little thick, edging towards chewiness with the sticky taste of the natural sugar bulking up the mouthfeel nicely. The taste of strawberries remains all the way to the bottom of the glass, and it is only with the final aftertaste that it even begins to feel like a lager beer.

Melville’s is a great fruity lager- refreshing, simple and at an abv that makes it easily sessioned on a summer day without ending up in the back of a police car yelling about fruit and partially dressed.

It really is a fruit beer for people who like great beer, and fair play to it.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Newcastle Seasonal Beers Double Bill

Spring is here! It's that weird time of the year when it's almost okay to wear sunglasses unironically, and the weather's not quite bad enough to make suicide a viable breakfast option any more, but there's still a few more weeks before the local meatheads are walking to the social club shirtless with creatine-drowned abandon.

It's a good time of the year to look at Newcastle Summer Ale and Newcastle Winter IPA, as we find ourselves just leaving one season and hoping that the other comes really, really early because we have a great gas barbecue we want to fire up.


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sixpoint Bengali Tiger IPA

Sixpoint Brewery

6.4% abv

“Wetherspoon’s sells canned craft beer from a fridge”

Say it out loud around a dedicated CAMRA member who wears socks with his sandals and just watch the sparks fly and the eyes swivel.

JD Wetherspoon has made a big deal of their launch of a range of canned craft beers from New York City brewery Sixpoint. It’s all over their free magazine and comes hand in hand with a two for a fiver offer on other craft beers (Goose Island IPA and BrewDog Punk IPA among them) and I could honestly not think of anything more likely to get a real ale purist furious than this article’s opening sentence.

Fond as I am of introducing felines to pigeons, I’ve hunted out this particular big cat with a vengeance.


For years this blog, which I cybersquatted shortly after university in case another journalism graduate with exactly the same name as me wanted an unoriginally titled website, served only as a dumping ground for links to my online work for various Newcastle newspapers.

Time makes fools of us all, and those links are all dead now, which sounds really dramatic but has a bit more gravitas and finality than “they all just redirect to the Evening Chronicle homepage”.

Might as well spruce this place up and put it to some use, then!

I’ll mainly be putting my beer writing here. I spent a couple of years writing for Rum and Reviews, which is a great site with some talented writers, but it’s on hiatus now as we all run after freelance stuff, fight crime, herd cats and play Mario Kart.

You can probably expect at least one beer review to appear here each week.

I’m not going to make any promises further than that, except that reading my blog reverses the aging process, makes receding hairlines regrow ten times thicker, and may cause side effects of laser vision and the ability to stop a moving train with your fist.

Speak soon.