Showing posts with label wheat wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wheat wine. Show all posts

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fuggled Review of the Year - Specialty Beer

The last of the beer style awards for this year is another rather large catch all category, basically the beers that don't fit in any of the other categories.

The top three in this category are as follows:

The Starr Hill Barleywine was a small batch made by Starr Hill back in the autumn and for a while was my favourite beer. Big sweet maltiness with a huge whack of spicy hops made this beer simply a magnificent drink. Of the Starr Hill beers I have had this year, the Barleywine was far and away the best and if I were in their shoes I would be doing this on a yearly basis and releasing it bottle conditioned in the same way Fullers do their Vintage Ale.

As I noted earlier this week, Lovibond's make excellent beers and the Gold Reserve is a notched up version of their Henley Gold wheat beer. Referred to as a "wheat wine" and with the brewer's weight in honey thrown in as well, this is a strong, sweet and yet a grassy noble hoppiness that just balances it out nicely.

Back in June, myself and Evan Rail got together to do a comparative tasting of Fuller's London Porter, Lovibond's Henley Dark and Ron Pattinson's re-creation of a 1914 London-style Porter recipe brewed in conjunction with De Molen. Rich and yet dry, it was a pleasure to try a re-created Edwardian beer.

As ever the decision is tricky, but for the pure pleasure of discovering a beer style I had never even heard of and it being a moreishly drinkable beer, the Fuggled Specialty Beer of the Year is:
  1. Lovibond's Gold Reserve
A second award there for the Lovibond's Brewery and my most keen wish for 2010 is that their beers somehow find their way to the USA, in particular this little corner of Virginia, where I know for sure they would be very much appreciated.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Unreservedly Golden

What do you get when you make a monster ale? Yes that's right, a barleywine. So I guess it is no surprise that , an imperialised version of their wheat beer should be called a wheat wine - a term I had not come across until I got a couple of bottles in the post recently, along with the very natty glasses which have starred in several pictures lately.

This really was a case of not knowing what to expect, whether it would be simply a stronger version of the Henley Gold or closer to something like a weizenbock from Germany. Therefore, I decided not to read the label for ingredients and other such blurb, but rather to let the beer do the talking first.

It pours a rich amber, with a slightly off-white head, which at first disappeared rather quickly but when I would top up my glass it came back and hung about - it was a 0.75l bottle and the glass is a half pint. The nose is full of rich fruity sweetness, which Mrs Velkyal immediately noted as honey, and there were also some banana and clove spicy notes coming through as the beer warmed up. The dominant flavour is the sweetness of honey, although with a noble hop background which prevented the sweetness from being overly cloying, in the background I could taste caramelised bananas - one of my favourite desserts.

Yes the Gold Reserve resembles barleywine to an extent, but it is lighter in body and much less sickly - I can't imagine drinking an entire 0.75l bottle of something like Durham Brewery's magnficent
Benedictus in one half hour sitting. This is quite simply a lovely, lovely beer - once again Jeff at Lovibond's has crafted something wonderful.

When I did look at the label, I allowed myself something of a smug moment as there is a rather copious amount of honey in the beer - apparently the weight of Jeff in honey (having never met the guy in the flesh I wouldn't like to hazard a guess at how much that would be). So there you have it, another superb beer from Henley-on-Thames, go to the website and order some today.

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...