Showing posts with label henley amber. Show all posts
Showing posts with label henley amber. Show all posts

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fuggled Review of the Year - Amber and Dark Ales

This category is something of a catch all for those beers which don't really fit in the world of Pale Ale or in Stouts and Porters, and as such the beers presented here are all rather different from each other,

Without further ado then, the three contenders for Amber and Dark Ale of the Year are as follows:
I guess some would claim that the Henley Amber belonged in the Pale Ale category, but as it is a shade or two more red than most pale ales I chucked it into this category. To my mind, the work Jeff is doing at Lovibond's is as impressive as the likes of BrewDog. Sure he doesn't engage in strange marketing practices, but boy does he know how to make a great range of beers. Henley Amber is crisp, refreshing and with a long, lingering finish it is one of the best sessions beers I have had this year.

Hobgoblin is one of those beers that I simply adore and will drink whenever I have the opportunity, whether on cask or from the bottle, I am always left satisfied by the toffee sweetness and the smooth drinking of this wonderful beer. Best of all, it was readily available in Prague when I was there, and many a bottle shop in this neck of the woods have it as well. You really can't go wrong with Hobgoblin.

The beer that turned my head to traditionally crafted ales, Bishop's Finger is everything a strong English ale should be, full of Kentish hops, caramel flavours in the background and obscenely easy to drink - you are probably seeing a theme here, I like beers that are easy to drink rather than "extreme" beers which I tend to think of as "pivni penis envy" (pivni is the adjectival form of "beer" in Czech). Whenever I have a bottle of Bishop's Finger I wish I was sat in the beer garden of a Shepherd Neame pub near my brother's place in Ashford, listening to the test match and idling away the day.

Anyway, back to the cold reality of Charlottesville in December and expecting over a foot of snow today. The Fuggled Amber and Dark Ale of the Year is:
  1. Lovibond's Henley Amber
As I said earlier, drinkability is one of my big watch words when it comes to choosing beers to rave about, and Henley Amber is precisely that, a beer you could spend all evening downing with mates in the pub and then walk home. The good people of Henley-on-Thames are very lucky to have such a fantastic brewer on their doorstep and should acquaint themselves with Jeff's wears as soon as possible.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Regal Thing

Henley-on-Thames is one of those places that many people will have heard of, mainly because of the famous Regatta. One of the various places I have lived in was quite close to Henley and I still remember going on a school trip to the area and being told about the various legends of the white hart, including a story about Richard II and his huntsman called Herne. Henley also happens to be where my elder brother works, and is the home of the Lovibonds Brewery - well it had to be done really didn't it? So I duly asked my brother to pick up a couple of bottles for me, and being the top bloke he is, he turned up for Christmas with a bag of goodies - not just Lovibonds stuff either, but we'll get there in due time.

So on to the beers themselves, first up was the Henley Amber. Doing my Rolf Harris impression here, can you guess what colour it was? Quite right, it was amber, with a loose white head that threatened to disappear but then clung around doggedly. Described as a premium pale ale, it was certainly very refershing and nicely hoppy and with a long bitter finish which was just a delight. With the merest hint of sweetness in the background, and a light carbonation, I could happily drink this beer all day long, and at 3.4%ABV would drink many! Mrs Velkyal also heartily approved of it, pointing out that it was very similar to her beloved Primátor English Pale Ale.

One of my aims over Christmas was to try as many porters as I could lay my hands on as it is style I really want to understand and get to grips with. Lovibonds' porter is Henley Dark, and dark it is, pouring a very deep ruby colour topped with a big fluffy head. The nose was great, smokey coffee all over the place. Again this a grand beer to drink, the coffee wasn't overpowering, the body was smooth, velvety and laced with chocolate, and there was excellent dry bitterness with just set everything off nicely. Again I would happily sit in a pub all night drinking this, preferably near a roaring log fire and with an Irish wolfhound at my feet.

I have a very minor gripe, and it is a gripe I have made about many beers, but half a pint of these beers is simply not enough! Especially when talking about beers with the kind of ABV that makes them ideal for drinking pint after pint over an extended period of time.

I discovered Lovibonds when reading comments on blog - I am a big fan of Web 2.0 and like to read the conversations that go on. The comments in response to this post were discussing the relative merits of cask ale over kegged, and Lovibonds' owner, pointed out that the incredibly diverse world of American craft brew uses primarily kegs, so the whole idea that cask is good and keg is bad was a pile of outdated pants.

So if you are in the Henley area, you can find these lovely beers at any of these places. I strongly recommend you try them.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...