Archive for December, 2007

Beer Review: Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer

31 December, 2007

WE begin this post with a greeting to my growing list of readers and respondents. Recommendations of your own, information and advice (especially if you’ve got the authority of actually being from a brewer (thank you Alex from Viru Beer)) are strongly encouraged. If you haven’t left a comment yet, then what are you waiting for! Be part of the phenomenon that is my Bloggy Woggy right after you’ve finished reading this post.

Now onto today’s post. And it is, surprise surprise, a review of a bottle of beer. This time however, it’s the most difficult bottle yet. How can a bottle of beer be difficult to sum up? By being a bottle of Innis & Gun Oak Aged Beer. Let me explain… This is a beer that thinks it’s a Scotch Whisky. Or a Scotch Whisky that thinks it’s a beer. You need only look at the bottle to see what I mean.
Bottle of Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer

The bottle shape, the Innis & Gunn label and the colour of the contents within are all Scotch Whisky-esque.

Let me make something clear at this point. I am not a drinker of Scotch, Whiske, Bourbon or whatever you care to call it. That stuff makes me wretch. But in the interests of beer drinking, I’m prepared to approach this with an open mind and enjoy it for what it is. Even if I will probably never get as much from it as a Scotch Whisky drinker would.

If you are not one for label reading, then make this the exception to your rule. To understand what this brew is all about you don’t just need to read it, but study it. Brewed and bonded (what does bonded mean?) in Edinburgh, this drink was the 2004 International Beer Competition Supreme Champion. I’ve not heard of it either, but it’s the sort of accolade I would want on a beer. So what makes it so special? A process apparently discovered by accident. The drink spends all of 77 days including time maturing in an oak barrel (a la whiskey) and in a marrying tun, whatever that is. It is this that makes this the most complicated smelling and tasting beer I’ve ever tasted.

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer front label

Poured into a glass, this has a good beer-like head. That’s one beer trait I’m glad they kept. Here is also where the description on the bottle label comes into its own; in helping you to make sense of that incredibly complicated smell. The label describes aromas of vanilla, toffee and “hints of citrus”. I can’t disagree with that, but without the explanation, I wouldn’t have had a clue what it all was.

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer poured into a glass

It’s a similar story with the taste. That is to say, complicated. But once again, the label is there to help you decipher it’s complicated, whisky-ish taste. The label goes with “malty, lightly oaked” and “warming”. There’s no way to expand on that, really. It truly smells and taste like whisky in beer form. Or vice-versa.

At 6.6% volume, it’s also gratifyingly strong. And modestly priced too, at least from my local Tesco.

To sum up then, Innis & Gunn have produced something apparently unique in the beer world with their Oak Aged Beer. Everything about the smell and taste is complicated in a whisky-like way. Even though I’m not a whisky fan, I’m going to try this one again. Even if it’s only to try and make more sense out of this complex brew. A lot like those films that you have to watch more than once to fully understand who did what, and why.

Rating: 4 (or thereabouts)

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Blog Update: Find My Stuff More Easily

29 December, 2007

With a growing number of posts and content, it seemed fair to make it easier for you to find what you are looking for. To that end, I have added a search box, calender, an achives link and links to my posts by category. That should make your lives that little bit easier.

If it doesn’t and you’d do things differently, then put your ideas in the comments.

Disclaimer: I’m too tired to write a proper post today, which is why you’re getting this housekeeping instead. Complaints in the comments as usual please.

Beer Review: Viru Premium Extra Beer

28 December, 2007

This is the sort of drink I started these beer reviews for! An obscure imported beer, I bought this Estonian import from Tesco. Visually, the nine sided cone like bottle means you can’t very easily miss it. Yes, I know one mustn’t judge things (or people) by their outward appearance, but I’d be lying if I said I chose this beer without being impressed by the way it looked. I’ve had a go at including an image with this post, so with any luck, you’ll be able to judge it for yourself, too.
Bottle of Viru

Other semi-interesting things about the bottle are that it has a screw top that looks like a normal bottle top. And that the bottle top and small wrap around label feature three lions, the significance of which I have no idea. If you do, then leave a comment!

Poured into a half-pint glass, the colour is light yellow or even golden in colour. To tell the truth, it’s hard to tell from behind all the bubbles. Head was almost non-existent. And the smell was nothing remarkable.  At 5% volume, maybe this was to be expected.

Finally we arrive at the taste. Which was somewhat largery in it’s bitterness which came as a bit of a surprise. It didn’t taste too cheap, and was very drinkable. The entire contents of the bottle disappeared very quickly. After an all too brief drink, my main complaint was that there wasn’t more of it.

To sum this up then, I would have to say try it if you can find it. It was very reasonably priced and an excellent little known beer. I’ll try this one again, and hopefully, in a larger quantity.

Rating: 4

Beer Review: Tesco Strong Dry Cider

27 December, 2007

TWO posts in one day? There’s a simple reason for suddenly becoming so prolific; I’ve got a lot to get through. It’s Christmas, which means I’ve been getting through much more than usual. I want to open the next bottle, but before I do, the last one I tried has to be reviewed first. So without further ado, let us begin a Bloggy Woggy first: a cider review.

Yet another Tesco own brand, this follows the patter we know and love; lots of quantity for a surprisingly minuscule price. £2.69 in this case for a gigantic 3 litre bottle. That’s around five pints worth cider. Or to put it another way, less than 54 pence per pint!

As far as taste goes, it’s hard to fault it. It’s everything it says it will be on it’s oversize exterior. It’s sweet. It’s refreshing. It’s dry, but not undrinkably so. And tastes, mildly of apples. Albeit, not as much of apples as some of the more premium ciders on the market, which did disappoint me somewhat.

What this strong, dry cider was not, was strong. At 5.3%, it simply didn’t have the kick of other ciders. And that disappointed me. I went through about three pints of this in rapid succession last night, but barely felt tipsy. Let alone like I had just drunk a substantial quantity of strong cider.

Trying to sum up this cider, is therefore a challenge. It tastes quite good and it is cheaper than air. But if it fails in the ‘getting you drunk quickly’ stakes, then what good is it? I would have to say, good enough. Buy it if you’re on a budget or for a drink the whole family can enjoy when you buy a take away or prepare a big family meal. The biggest problem you’ll have with this drink at family occasions is finding a place to store the fuel tanker sized bottle.

Rating: 3

Beer Review: Tesco Imported Larger

27 December, 2007

FOLLOWING the stunning success of my first beer review (thank you to the 2 people who read it), a follow up seemed in order. This time, it’s a move up market (by a few pence to £2.49) to a 4-pack of Tesco Imported Larger.

This no-name brew from the Netherlands is an unremarkable 4% in volume. It also aims low by promising to be Clean, Crisp and Refreshing. Does it reach these lofty aims? I’d have to say mission accomplished. But that’s not saying much.

So long as you drink this cheap larger straight from the fridge, it is indeed crisp and refreshing. It’s also easy to drink a lot of it. All of this is no bad thing, but there’s more to it than that.

That bitter taste that all cheap largers have is there. Mind you, at this price, you’d better be expecting it. You’d also have to drink well over four cans to feel even modestly intoxicated. This is very weak stuff. And when you look at the helpfully clear ingredients, you begin to understand why. The chief ingredient is water. When you realise that, it becomes completely obvious – you are drinking water!

With this in mind, it is a mystery then, why this cheap watery drink makes you so thirsty. I know, I know, all alcoholic drinks make you at least a little bit dehydrated, but this takes it further than any I’ve had before. With this, you’d better have at least the same quantity of water nearby as you have of this larger. Unless you drink the same amount in water right afterwards, you’ll begin to feel very uncomfortable.

So there we have it. Cheap Tesco Imported Larger. Weak, watery and makes you thirsty, yet crisp, easy to drink and very cheap to buy. Buy it if you value quantity of quality, or if you are poor.

Rating: 1.5

Back to Normal in the (St.) Nick of Time

24 December, 2007

I have been ill over the weekend.

On Saturday lunchtime, I made the easy decision to enjoy some Heinz Original Sandwich Spread. It was an easy decision because I have only two bread spreads in the cupboard.

Anyone who has opened a jar of sandwich spread and given the contents a whiff will know that the contents naturally have a strong vinegary odour. It was only after I had finished the admittedly odd tasting sandwich that I elected to re-sniff the contents. By following this scientific process, my gurning facial  expressions led me to conclude that the otherwise healthy and delicious contents were going off.

Arguably, this was entirely my own fault. The label helpfully advises that after opening, you store it in a refrigerator. This is not something I’ve ever had a problem with in the past. Indeed, I usually store things in the fridge that don’t even need refrigerating. But with this jar, I threw caution to the food storage wind. Consequently I threw the toxic jar in the bin.

By late afternoon, my stomach was feeling a little unsettled,  but okay. At this point, only the most appalling choice of foodstuff or beverage would make matters worse. I was doomed.

Destined to always choose the worse dish available, my dinner consisted of a burger and chips from the local chicken place. The different people behind the counter should have been my clue to go somewhere else. Yet this tried and trusted purveyor of unhealthy yet excellent value fast food. How bad could it be?

After the first bite of their usually delicious burger, something was wrong. What it was I couldn’t be sure, but it wasn’t going down well. Maybe it had been undercooked? Maybe I was eating it wrongly? Whatever it was didn’t want to stay down for long. The meal then proceeded to ruin a lovely evening with a marathon of puking and wretching in to the early morning. To answer the question I am sure you are wandering, yes, this does not look good when you have a date with you.
My questions to you are these:
Who was to blame for this weekend culinary fiasco?
And what would you have done differently had you been in my situation?

Beer Review: Murphy’s Draught Irish Stout

22 December, 2007

Last week, I bought a bottle of Guinness Foreign Extra. Not being a stout drinker, the extra strong Nigerian (no, seriously, this Guinness WAS imported from Nigeria of all places) overwhelmed me. In the sort of way an oil slick overwhelms a sea gull.

Reliably informed by television that a lot of people do like stout, I thought it was worth another try. This time, I opted for a bunch of Murphy’s Draught Irish Stout cans from Tesco. At £2.44p and costing less than water, I was already happy with the choice.

Then can the time to try it. At such a low price, I should have seen this coming. It was the cheap larger of the stout world. Right down to the bitter taste, watery consistency and generic alcohol odour. If you take the time to pour it into a glass, it does at least look the right colour. But don’t believe it. This is cheap larger dressed in black and wearing a white baseball cap.

That said, it is very cheap. And being cheap myself, I shall probably buy it again.

In conclusion, buy this if you are broke or want some variation on cheap supermarket larger.

Rating: 2

Welcome to My Rambly Wambly Bloggy Woggy

19 December, 2007

IF you can read this, you have made it to my rambly wambly bloggy woggy. Congratulations! This means that you can pat yourself on the back, safe in the knowledge that you have more intrepidity and swashbuckle than your fellow blog readers.
This first post is the ideal place to introduce myself to you. But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I will remain an enigma, but if you check back here regularly, you’ll pick up enough to get an emerging picture of who I actually am. To get the ball rolling, I’m male, 25 and recently moved to London’s East end in search of my fortune.
On this blog, I will share with you all kinds of thoughts, stories and opinionated reviews.
Let me know what your thoughts and opinions are by leaving a comment. Infact, go and do that right now!

Hello world!

19 December, 2007

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!


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