Wychwood Brewery is owned by Marston’s. They practice the liberal use of the term ‘craft’ on their website, and give the impression of being a cutting edge craft brewer. Alas, their beers aren’t all that interesting. This, perhaps their most famous, tastes pretty mass produced, I’m afraid. It’s made with chocolate and crystal malts and Styrian, Goldings and Fuggles hops.
Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin Amber Ale
Bronze/brown in colour. Sweet malty, spicy nose. The fresh, toffeed palate has a herby bite and some earthy notes, with a lemony finish. Tastes a tiny bit chemical. 5/10
I had these on a recent trip to the Netherlands. I was on my way to the airport, but I had an hour to spare so my host, the wonderful Lars Daniels, took me to a beer shop, we bought three interesting looking bottles, and then drank them at his place while he was interviewing me for an article.
Rooie Dop Chica Americana IPA
This is brewed at de Molen, a famous craft brewery in NL, by Rooie Dop. They’re based in Utrecht, and their website is here. Very sweet nose is rich and malty with some lively floral notes, and some honeyed character. Rich but balanced on the palate with subtle bitterness on the finish. Very appealing, but maybe too much toffee and honey character? It’s really good, but potentially could be even better. 8/10
Rat Ale Green Hops
This is an amber ale that’s a collaboration between De Eem (from Amersfoort) and Hommeles (from Houten, Amsterdam), brewed at De Leckere (Utrecht). A full brown colour, this is powerful stuff with treacle and malt notes, as well as some tar and caramel. It’s a bold, characterful beer that’s really attractive. 7.5/10
Pampus/ De Eem Dark Hops Edition 2014
A collaboration between Pampus and de Eem, this is a Black IPA of real character. Six kinds of malt were used, and it’s a dark, almost opaque colour. Powerful and dense with notes of roast coffee, iodine, treacle and dark chocolate, this is such a concentrated beer. It’s lovely, but not all that easy to drink. 8.5/10
Malteni Beer, is based in Northern France very close to the brewery in Belgium. It was started by 2 cycling enthusiasts with branding for cycling fans. The beer is organic and gluten free.
Amber Beer, Malteni Brewery, Brunehaut, France
Pours with a huge amount of foam, very carbonated. This is an agreeable malty amber ale, without any serious complexity of flavour or a memorable finish, but good to drink nonetheless. Certainly head and shoulders above any mass produced French lager for example. 6.0/10
Moncada is another new-ish (2011) London brewery, located in Notting Hill, west London. I’ve tried the blond before, and it’s fabulous, but this amber is approaching perfection, at least to my palate. Such a well crafted beer, and the website usefully gives a full list of stockists.
Moncada Brewery Notting Hill Amber
Gold/bronze colour. Amazing aromatics of perfumed, floral peach and passionfruit characters. The palate is warm and herby with some spiciness. Really nice balance here: hoppy for sure, but with a lovely grassy, herby, tea-like finish. 9/10