The First Meeting – Part 2

We carry on where we left off in Part 1 and after a bit of feedback this one will be a bit less Graph heavy with more actual beer chat! Awards from the first night are at the end of the post. Lets get going!

Disclaimer – Even if we give a beer a low rating that doesn’t necessarily mean its a bad beer. All these reviews are done spur of the moment on one evening and we try to be as objective as possible. Don’t take our word as gospel, go out there and try new and exciting beers yourself!


Full Guard  (Marble Beers / DIPA / 8.5%)

Beer 5 of the night is a DIPA from Marble Brewery which as you would expect is a big blast of hoppiness. The twist on this one is the addition of lactose giving rise to a nice subtly creamy mouthfeel.

Brett has a couple of  excellent tidbits in his review for this beer, smells like ‘”An old pub”and keeps it simple for aftertaste simply saying “long”! 

This beer had a perfectly respectable average score of 67.3 putting it towards the top of  the ‘Good’ category.  Once again we have a large divide between best and worst score with 43 points seperating top and bottom reviews.

Everyone scored it very highly in appearance, it has a lovely thick hazy consistency. Almost everyone scored it highly in Taste and Aftertaste as well though drinkability wasn’t fantastic. I for one couldn’t have drank another, but would probably buy it again.

Andy’s Take – Scored it 66 – A nicely fresh and hoppy drink which has a good creamy mouthfeel.  Doesn’t taste nearly as strong as it is however I think I would only ever really want to drink it in 1/3rds. Only issue is it doesn’t do anything to particularly set it apart. 

Position on the night – 4th (out of 8)
Disliked most by – Liv
Liked most by – Tom
Favourite of – Tom

Tulum (Burnt Mill / Pineapple Gose / 4.5%)

Next up is Tulum, a Pineapple Gose from Burnt Mill, brewed in collaboration with an award winning home brewer.  It mixes gentle sourness with a definite saltiness and light pineapple taste.

I can definitely appreciate Brett’s deduction for smell for this beer “Veg with meat in the background” which is actually kind of spot on!

Massively divisive beer this one, varying from two scores below 20, to 4 above 70!  The highest score given was 82, with the lowest being given a measly 13. The average score of this one was 55.9 putting it in the ‘Average’ zone. However, take away the extreme scores and this would change to 68.4 so its clearly very dependent on personal taste.

Interestingly enough, we had scores of 1 and 2 of drinkability at one end of the scale and scores of 26 and 28 at the other end! 3 cracking scores of 18/20 in after taste as well which i wholeheartedly agree with, the aftertaste is where all the flavor comes through.

Andy’s Take – Scored it 70 – Just makes it into the ‘Great’ category for me, appearance and smell aren’t great but its taste is very nice and complex. However I have to say i was a little disappointing as i expected better. It’s also a bit too salty in my opinion, but still worth seeking out.

Position on the night – 8th
Disliked Most By – Liv
Liked Most By – Alex
Favorite of – Nobody 😦

Bury Me In Smoke (Black Iris & Torrside Collab / Smoked Beer / 5.5%)

A smoked beer from Black Iris and Torrside, this one promised to be something special but did it live up to expectations?! The answer is an unequivocal yes! The smoke hits you hard but isn’t overpowering.

Once again Brett’s reviews are both entertaining and on the nose, for taste we have “Smoky BBQ meat – delish”. 

As was always going to be the case with this beer, we have one significant outlier giving the beer a miserly 13. The rest of the ratings are almost all above 70. An average score of  68.3 puts this high up in the ‘Good’ category. Take out the outlier and you have a beastly average score of 76.1 which shows you just how good this beer is.

Strongest categories for this beer were Taste and Aftertaste (probably the most important two!) whilst it fared worst in appearance, not an unfair assessment to be honest. Of course it also scored modestly in drinkability but that is no surprise considering the smokiness of it.

Andy’s Take – Scored it 86 – Definitely my kind of beer, very savoury with an almost bacon like aftertaste. The smoke shines through and is never overpowering. I would only ever drink one pint of an evening, but i would definitely buy it again. More suitable to a snowy evening than a hot summers afternoon. I would urge you to go and seek out this beer!

Position on the night – 2nd
Disliked most by – Tim
Liked most by – Me / Brett
Favorite of – Me!

Deeper Water (LHG / Salted Caramel Milk Stout / 5.1%)

Well well well, we finish with another absolute belter.  A salted caramel milk stout from the geniuses at Left Handed Giant, brewed with cacoa nibs, vanilla and lactose to once again give us that creamy mouthfeel.

The final nuggets of wisdom from Brett for the night, an aftertaste of “fair” (not sure what that means!) drinkability of “3 pints”  and smell of “Cake, Sweets and nutella”. Thank you to Brett for providing a nice non-numerical rating system!

So we once again have one outlier ruining an otherwise excellent average score! As it stands, the average is 72 but if we continue analyzing the ‘normalized’ score, we get an average of a huge 80! We vary between 88 of a top score and 16 of a bottom score!

Appearance and smell both scored very highly, taste and aftertaste are up there. Slightly let down by its drinkability, it does come off slightly as an ‘event’ beer and the general feeling on the night was that whilst its a delicious, fantastic beer, nobody would be in a rush to drink it every night.

Andy’s Take – Scored it 85 – Stunning beer that really lives up to its description. It would be hard to think of a beer trying to do the same thing and doing it better. The lactose gives it a properly creamy mouthfeel that only makes the caramel taste better. Just fantastic, go out and buy one now!

Position on the night – 1st
Most liked by – Brett
Least liked by – Liv
Favourite of – Brett, Alex, Sam, Sam R (So popular!!)

Final Word

What a great way to start HCBC! It’s been so interesting to see how divisive a lot of these beers can be and especially how different people have completely different tastes. I’ve decided to give out a few awards after each session so without further ado here we go!

Worst Beer – Unfortunately someone has to take home this prize and this week it’s Spirit Animal. By no means an awful beer with a 47.8 average but unfortunately was let down by a poor initial taste.

Best Beer – From a general sense, Deeper Water wins this with it’s highest average score however for me personally, Bury Me in Smoke was the best beer of the night and one I will actively look to have again.

Strongest Opinion – This weeks strongest opinion goes to Sam who varied between a whopping 85 for Deeper Water and a 13 for poor old Tulum! What can I say, the guy knows what he likes!

Beer Junkie – The one who would drink and enjoy anything put in front of him on the night, Brett! With a huge combined score of 573 for all 8 beers, the only two close were Tom (554) and myself (527).

‘Beer Isn’t For Me’ – Poor Old Liv on the other hand, only doled out 411 points over the course of the evening, even Alex gave out more than that and he missed two beers!

Least Divisive – This is slightly different to best beer (A title taken by Deeper Water), in that its the beer with the smallest difference between biggest and smallest scores. And finally Grinlow gets a bit of recognition with a clustered score of only 26 points different.

Most Divisive – Final award and it goes to Bury Me In Smoke! A huge 73 point swing between it’s highest and lowest scores, I’m definitely in the score it high camp!!

Our final table from Session 1 therefore looks like this;

  1. Deeper Water (Average 72.0)
  2. Tynt Meadow (70.3)
  3. Bury Me In Smoke (68.3)
  4. Full Guard (61.8)
  5. Grinlow (56.9)
  6. Robots Vs Clowns (56.4)
  7. Tulum (55.9)
  8. Spirit Animal (47.8)

I’ll update an overall league table as we sample more beers!! For those who want the info-dump of graphs and charts, there’s a gallery of graphs below with all the data 🙂 Check out the graph of all the average scores across the evening for a good visual representation of the disagreements in ratings!

Hope to see you next time, Cheers!

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