A few weeks ago, I was up with Steve Lamond for a beer tasting at his house. He had been sent some beer by Revelation Cat in Italy to try. There was two of each so he kept half of them for me to try and share with TheBeerNut. You can read Steve's thoughts here.
There was only one thing to do. Organise a beer tasting at my place and invite a select few. Not everyone who was initially invited could make it on the day so alternatives had to be found. In the end; I had fellow Beoir members: TheBeerNut, Richard Lubell and Brian Condron. I had home made salsa, store bought chips and a cheese board with bread / crackers. Everything you need for a beer tasting. We also had the weather and sat outside in my tiny back yard.
Richard brought along a couple of Moor beers. This was exciting because I haven't had them before. We started with Nor'Hop, a 4.3% pale ale. An aroma of straw and citric in the form of grapefruit. It tasted quite bitter, especially for a beer of such a low ABV. It was very nice, A little citrus overload perhaps, if there is such a thing. There's very little else going on but that's not the point. It's not a big fancy beer with lots of interesting flavours. It's a fantastic summer session beer and it plays that role immeasurably well.
Moving on to the first of six Revelation Cat beers. Take My Adweisse is as you might expect from the name. A weisse beer of sorts, think Schneider Weisse Tap 5 Meine Hopfen-Weisse but at 4.5%. On the nose we have wheat and some citrus hops. It tasted slightly medicinal? I can't be sure, will see what TheBeerNut though. It was a little hoppy, I know that's a hated term but I can't think of a better one for this beer. I could taste hops but no single character came out other than some sort of citrus. It went down well and was tasty but it was no Hopfen Weisse.
Dry Hop Thriller came next, a 4.5% slightly catty pale ale. It's not too bad but it does seem a little one sided. This would be their sessionable pale ale, the equivalent to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale but weaker.
To HopAddendum next and a 6% IPA. Aroma wise, there was SFA. that was odd. It tasted nice enough but again, very catty. I wonder how many, if any of their beers they use Citra in. It's quite sweet and very acidic. To be honest, I enjoyed it but not as much as I probably should. I also suspect that these beers have lost something. Steve tried his back in December and they came from Italy so I don't know how long they have been sitting and losing hop aroma.
California Moonset is another IPA, this time a percentage point higher at 7%. A little black current on the nose with a strong caramel backbone. Yet again, it was rather ammonia like. I enjoyed it but again, this is the sort of beer I adore and I could take or leave it.
F.R.E.S.H is yet another IPA and also 7% but this time we are going for a German and British feel rather than an American one. As the name suggests, the hops are thrown in fresh. I wonder does that mean wet (freshly picked) rather than dried? Considering the age of the beers and what I believe is a lot of lost hop aroma, I suspected we might be in trouble here. We were because by all accounts, this beer is all about the fresh hop aroma and taste but there was little of that for me. Some slight grassiness and fresh cut hay. The beer was bitter of course but the aroma was just gone.
Last of the Revelation Cat beers is Hop Animal. This is their double IPA and when they say double, they mean it! Obviously the Italians took the word double as being literal so they doubled an IPA strength to 13% in a moment of magical insanity. The aroma was sort of winey or port like. On tasting, I found it spicy, very sweet with a fantastic prune juice. It was absolutely gorgeous and I didn't mind that the hop aroma had been lost.
Steve got an extra bottle called Black Knight so be sure to read his account. He also had them when they were fresh so his account is going to be far more accurate. This does beg the question, why would I buy a hop forward beer that has been imported when I don't know when it was bottled and how much hop aroma has been lost?
Back to Moor now and a beer called Hoppiness. There's a sort of a theme to our tasting it seems. With the UK being so close, this 6.7% IPA had no loss to aroma. This is what F.R.E.S.H should have tasted like. The one word I can use to describe it is "Yum". There was a huge caramel malt backbone to this with marmalade, pine resin and..... never mind... This beer was about the fresh hops. It really did smell like my hop freezer (yes I have one) and tastes like a fresh hop tea.
That's quite enough with the hop forward beers. Time for something different. De Dochter showed up in the TARDIS with Charbon, a 7% smoked vanilla stout. I love stout and I usually enjoy a smoked beer but vanilla? Not so much I'm afraid. I'm all for vanilla notes from oak ageing but actually adding vanilla to a beer tends to make it sickly to me. This was no exception, however it was not as bad as many others. Other than the annoying vanilla, there was a little ash, a little chocolate and a hint of coffee but to be honest, the base stout was a little disappointing. I believe I have TheBeerNut to thank for this bottle?
You might notice from the pictures that we had now moved inside as the evening chill was starting to kick in and we were now in the shade.
Steve also gave me two Thornbridge beers. First up was Heather Honey, a 10% imperial stout infused with honey with heather qualities due to the beehives being located in the middle of a heather field I believe. It's a bottle sublime loveliness. As well as the honey, it's aged in three different barrels before being bottled. Now I'm sure there was plenty of subtlety that was lost on me. My palate was fatigued from a day of drinking but I had enough wits to know that this was a superb beer.
And finally, there was one beer left. Imperial Oatmeal Stout. I wonder how good a breakfast beer this would be? An expensive one probably. This is an 11% imperial stout that has been barrel aged in bourbon barrels for 6 months. About all I could manage to write at this point was OMG that's good!
I had been at a homebrew meet/BBQ before the tasting and by now it was time I went to bed but not before what I can vaguely recall as being one of the best imperial stouts I have ever had. Keep an eye out for TheBeerNut's review because he was probably a little more sensible than me and not had anything to drink before an epic beer tasting. By all accounts he wasn't so sensible afterwards though. I went to sleep but he had a few pints in two pubs before going home.
Thank's to Steve for providing most of the beers and thanks to everyone who came to my house and helped me drink them.
Oh and you might wonder about the reference to "lost cat"? Well it's not exactly to do with the beer. On the night in question, one of my cats disappeared for two nights. She showed up again on Monday morning. I think the beer drinkers scared her as she is not sociable with strangers, unlike the other cat.