Welcome back to a slightly overdue write-up of the second tasting session of Hutch’s Craft Beer Club! A quick note on the scoring – we realized quite early during this session that drinkability is weighted far too heavily. That’s been changed for future editions, but for this one stays as a 30 weight score.
This week we had a guest member, Fork! Not a huge beer fan so it will be interesting to see how her scores compare to others! Let’s get to it!
Bloom (Verdant / IPA / 6.5%)
Verdant are a lovely brewery from Falmouth in Cornwall, with Bloom being a punchy IPA coming in at 6.5%, whenever I think of Bloom I immediately expect fresh and juicy beers so let’s see if this one meets those expectations!
By popular demand ‘Brett’s Corner’ is back and with an interesting one to kick us off – Taste described as ‘Smokey, Thick and Hoppy’. Did not expect this one to be described as Smokey but each to their own!
An average score of 54.5 puts it solidly in decent beer territory, and it was pretty well received by all members present this week with a diversity of only 23 between top and bottom marks.
To be honest this is a difficult one to write about as pretty much all the categories were just solid scores across the board! All the categories had an average score within 1 mark of 50%, and to me that shows that it is a very decent beer for all tastes.
Andy’s Take – Scored it 57 – It’s very drinkable, and does have a nice hoppy floral twang. I got hints of liquorice as well which was an interesting twist. Decent beer!
Position on the night – 6th (out of 8)
Disliked most by – Fork
Liked most by – Brett
Favourite of – No-one!
Wye (Thornbridge / Cucumber Pale Ale / 4.7%)
We move on now to Wye from Thornbridge. A very interesting proposition this, a cucumber pale ale! To me, cucumber is one of those tastes that are so difficult to impart into beer because its so tasteless to begin with!
When it comes to aftertaste I believe Brett isn’t a fan saying he is ‘Still searching’ for a hint of aftertaste! However, he does follow that up by saying it is ‘very easy to drink’ so clearly that isn’t a problem!
Again we have a beer that isn’t particularly divisive and scores good marks across the board with a steady 59.4 average. Diversity coming in at 23 meaning it’s exactly the same as Bloom!
Drinkability is really where this beer shone, clearly one for a summers evening straight out the fridge with everyone scoring it above 20 in this category. However, if you are looking for a drink with a strong finish you won’t find it here with that carrying the lowest average. This was Fork’s favourite beer, so if you are looking for a drink to ease someone into beer, this could be it!
Andy’s Take – Scored it 49 – Very unusually for this group, I actually scored this beer the lowest out of everyone. Its a good beer, but its the complete lack of finish that disappointed me, I like my beers to linger. Special mention though, because the initial taste really does hit you with cucumber.
Position on the night – 5th
Disliked Most By – Andy
Liked Most By – Fork
Favorite of – Fork
Garlic Beer (The Garlic Farm / Amber Ale / 4.1%)
Well, this interesting specimen was brought to the table by Brett so we are already on uncertain footing. The name says it all really, this is a normal amber ale infused with more garlic than is probably necessary!
So Brett, what do you think of this beers drinkability – “well, it’s not really at all is it”. Not great then! The smell is also described simply as “boring” and somehow the taste is “not garlic-y enough”?!
So this beer averaged a 46.0 and that places it in the ‘Tolerable, but probably wouldn’t buy again” category. 16 points separate its best and worst scores, but no single score gave it more than 54.
It fared pretty poorly in drinkability, averaging only 12.8/30. The smell also put a fair few people off and I have to say that isn’t surprising considering intense garlic isn’t generally associated with good beer!
Andy’s Take – Scored it 50 – When you consider i gave Wye a 49 and then this a 50, i think we get a decent idea that I’m not so keen on the ‘Novelty beers’. Keep an eye out for part 2 which contains the 3rd and final novelty beer and see how that fared. Back to the beer at hand, its OK, just not something I would go out and choose for myself. Try if you’re curious.
Position on the night – 7th
Disliked most by – Alex
Liked most by – Fork
Favorite of – No-one!
Banoffee Porter (North Riding Brewery/5%)
Part 1 concludes with a North Riding Brewery beer, their Banoffee porter. now i must say, they have done some of my favourite dark beers of recent years, not least the Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ski Sundae they did in collaboration with the fantastic ‘Beer Central’ in Sheffield. If you are based in Sheffield, head down to the Moor Market to check out their extensive range of local and exotic beers.
So as i look through Brett’s book, I usually just pick out his highlights. This one contains so many gems I’ve just printed it all below;
Appearance – Dark and Sexy
Smell – Banoffee, obviously
Taste – Smooth, Well balanced
Aftertaste – Long, So so long
Drinkability – Mmmmmmm
There are two relevant averages for this beer. The overall average is a very tidy 73.8, putting it up there as the highest rated beer we have reviewed so far. However, when you consider it was given a measly 39 by Fork, the average without that outlier is a huge 80.8! That obviously means it was also very divisive, 49 separating top and bottom!
The initial taste is absolutely the highlight of this beer, with 3/5 tasters giving it over 25/30! Surprisingly for a porter it also got really high marks across the board for drinkability, with Alex (who does admittedly love dark beer) giving it 26/30.
Andy’s Take – Scored it 82 – Never ceases to amaze me the wizardry that NRB perform on all their dark beer. Delicious stuff this, I actually got a sort of raisin aftertaste which was very nice. It’s just exactly what you would want from a Banoffee Porter. Great work.
Position on the night – 3rd
Most liked by – Alex (Surprise Surprise…)
Least liked by – Fork
Favourite of – Alex, Tom, Andy
That’s it for Part 1 of the second meeting, still to come next time are the last placed beer and both of the top two! Should be some interesting results! Check out the gallery below for the stats break-down with graphs and remember to follow on Twitter, Facebook and Untappd for all the latest beer news and reviews!
- Banoffee Porter
- Garlic Beer