Thursday, 26 July 2012

Laughing Skull Amber Ale

After a long day on a hot beach, there is nothing better than a cold beer.

So, back in December, when a sandy day of shell hunting on Sanibel Island, Florida, came to an end, we headed over to our favourite restaurant in the area, RC Otter’s on neighbouring Captiva Island.

I’m not sure what it is about the place. Is it just that every time we go there we’ve got that post-outdoorsy ravenousness, or is it that their fishy fare is so drool-inducing? Well, probably both, but their beer list helps too...

I chose a Laughing Skull Amber Ale, which hails from Red Brick Brewing Company in Atlanta.

It arrives on the table with an inviting dark red to copper colour. The aroma has a light lemony hint, and that carries on into the taste. Surrounding the citrus note is a strong maltiness. It’s not overly complex to be honest, but it’s excellent with a blackened tuna sandwich or a sloppy yet delicious grilled grouper rueben.

And it’s perfect for a day after the beach.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Storms in Indonesia

When someone mentions Indonesian beer, I typically used to think of warm-climate lagers like Bintang. That, however, was before my last visit a few months ago, when my friends introduced me to Storm beers.

The Storm brewery is apparently located on the island of Bali, but I’ve never managed to get to that bit of paradise. So, I tried two of their beers in a shopping mall in the capital, Jakarta.

Almost as good, I’m sure...

Storm Pale Ale is light and thinnish in mouthfeel, with a gentle hop bitterness in the finish. There’s a grassy note that’s very welcome and would stand up well to a spicy curry.

Storm Bronze Ale takes a slightly darker route, with a coppery hue and a maltier taste. Hops are present clearly, but it’s slightly sweeter than I’d like.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

AkuAku Lemongrass Ale

From the land of the most expensive beer imaginable comes a refreshing concoction: AkuAku Lemongrass Ale.

This Norwegian brew was another one I tried down at Chez Moeder Lambic the other day, and it does much what you’d expect.

It’s a crisp ale with notes of citrus and grassiness. It comes on slightly sweet but leads into a lasting light bitter note. Think lavender with a light limoncello.

Very nice...

Friday, 6 July 2012

Tilquin Lambic Blend

I went down to Chez Moeder Lambic Fontainas on Monday to have a chat with a journalist writing a piece on beer and food in Brussels for an airline’s in-flight magazine. It’s about the sweetest gig a hack can get, I’d imagine: spending a few hours sampling fine beers in the best bar in Brussels and, well, getting paid to write about it.

We tried a healthy variety of Belgian beers to understand different styles, tastes and histories. I’d had most of them before, but one name was new. Or, more accurately, it had been sitting in my mental “to try” category since I’d read about it coming on to the market last year.

Tilquin Lambic Blend, from the Tilquin Gueuzerie just a bit outside Brussels, is an awesome addition to the wild fermentation tradition around these parts. With typically low carbonation and a very sharp tartness, it is, to use a very technical term, yummy.

I’ve been on a kick lately for wild fermentation beers, and this is a welcome new brand. If I had to compare it to anything, I suppose it’s somewhere between Cantillon Gueuze and Cuvée de Ranke. Still, that may be a bit unfair to all three, as they are all worthy. I’m going to have to hold a proper side-by-side blind tasting of these someday.

For more on Tilquin, have a look at Chuck Cook’s piece on it, in which he describes the grand opening of the brewery -- sorry, gueuzerie! Wait, is there an English word "gueuzery"?