Tag Archives: American Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (from draught)


This is one of the classics: a pale ale that helped launch the craft beer revolution in the USA. I had it from draught at the Anglers in Teddington after a cycle ride, and it was just the ticket (from an otherwise slightly uninspiring list of beers on offer). The draught version is a little lower in alcohol and a bit less bitter than the original, with more colour and a sweeter malty character. It means you can sink a pint of it. This isn’t the world’s best ever beer, but it’s really good.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
(Draught) 5%
Lively bright and balanced, with some toffee sweetness from the malt well balanced by a twist of citrus and pine hoppiness. Satisfying, quite complex and drinkable. 8/10

Some great beers from Beavertown


We’ve reviewed a couple of Beavertown’s offerings on Beeranorak already (here) – well, at least Daniel has. I thought it was time for me to add some views on their range, which I think is really exciting. They’re based in Hackney, in a part known as De Beauvoir Town, hence ‘Beavertown’, which is the cockney reference to this area, which in Victorian times was known for its bars and breweries.

The brewery was established by Logan Plant and Byron Knight in 2011, and in 2012 they opened a brew pub, Duke’s Brew & Que. Everything I have tried from them so far has been excellent.

Beavertown Gamma Ray American Pale Ale
5.4% alcohol
This is a beer on which Daniel and I disagree. It’s beautifully aromatic, floral and tangy, with grapefruit and herbs in the mix, too. It has a lovely savoury, tangy palate with grapefruit, lemon and spice. Real precision and focus here. 8.5/10


Beavertown 8 Ball Rye IPA
6.2% alcohol
Malts: Simpsons Best, Rye, Crystal Rye, CaraGold, Low colour Crystal. Hops: Magnum, Columbus, Cascade, Citra, Galaxy. 50 IBUs. There’s about 20% rye in this delicious, distinctive beer. Rich, warm and textured with a nice sweet, tangy, malty base, and precise citrus and herb notes, finishing rich, warm and spicy. 8.5/10


Beavertown Bloody Ell Blood Orange IPA
7.4% alcohol
This is a really creative beer, brewed with 25 kg of blood oranges, which were hand-peeled, with the squeezed juice added at the end of the boil. An extra pale malt was used. Amazing aromas of orange peel, lemons, spice and tropical fruits. Lovely palate with sweet tangerine notes, as well as some lemon. Powerful, intense and amazingly fruity with real personality. 8.5/10


Beavertown Black Betty Black IPA
7.4% alcohol
Malt: Simpsons Best, Caragold, Caramalt, Carafa II, Carafa III. Hops: Magnum, Columbus, Chinook, Citra. 60 IBUs. Rich, powerful, bold and dense with lovely sweet, subtly chocolatey notes and some malt. Amazing depth of flavour combining the rich notes with a tangy citrus freshness. 8/10

Beavertown Smog Rocket Smoked Porter
5.4% alcohol
Malt: Simpsons Best, Smoke, Caramalt, Crystal, Oats, Munich, Brown, Chocolate, Black. Hops: Magnum, Chinook. 23 IBUs. Amazingly rich and dense with chocolatey richness and some bitter notes. Intense with sweet dark maltiness, combining richness and intensity with lovely detail. 8/10

Dominion Hop Mountain Pale Ale

dominion hop mountain

Dominion started life in Ashburn, Virginia, back in 1989. In 2007 they merged with Fordham and relocated to Dover, Delaware, where the brewery is now called Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company. This beer brings together Kiwi hop Nelson Sauvin, assisted by Cascade and Columbus, with a caramel malt background, and it works really well. [This beer was drunk in the wonderful Rake, Borough Market.]

Dominion Hop Mountain Pale Ale
6.3% alcohol
Hailing from Dover, Delaware, this is a deliciously rich, malty, bold, hoppy pale ale. The distinctive feature is the way the hoppiness (from a Kiwi plus two USA hops) is countered by lovely sweet fudgy notes. It also has some nice bite on the finish. Really malty as well as hoppy, in a way that works well. 8.5/10

Some beers from Renaissance, Marlborough, New Zealand

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’ve come across Renaissance Brewing Company beers a few times before on my trips to New Zealand. They’re based in Blenheim, which is in Marlborough, the largest of the Kiwi wine regions, and you can get the beers on tap at Dodsons (which is next door to the brewery) – as well as in bottle across most of the country. Here I tried a few in London with Roger Kerrison, at the Craft Beer Rising show where these beers made their UK debut.

Renaissance Discovery American Pale Ale
4.5% alcohol
Lovely fresh, bright citrussy beer with nice hoppiness. A bright, lemony style with some herbiness. 8/10

Renaissance Voyager India Pale Ale
6% alcohol
Some sweet noes. Rich, tangy and a bit spicy with powerful flavours and lovely spicy depth. Fresh, tangy and intense. 8/5/10

Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale
7% alcohol
Made from nine malts, blended together, to produce what they call the ‘red wine’ of their range. It’s not my favourite, but it is food friendly. Malty and rich with some weight. Sweet, tangy and herby with some toffee and spice notes. Richly textured. 7/10

Renaissance Abundance Baltic Cherry Porter
7.6% alcohol
Brewed with cherries. Powerful and intense with spice and chocolate notes, as well as herbs and black cherries, with a hint of sourness. Rich but a little odd. Amazingly complex. 8/10

renaissance black IPA Ripa Renaissance Enlightenment Black IPA The RIPA
6.5% alcohol
A black ale brewed with rye. Powerful, fresh and tangy with a lively citrus edge to the malty, chocolatey stout character. Nice depth and balance here. 8.5/10

You can see some pictures of Dodsons (effectively the brewery tap, in Blenheim, New Zealand) at the bottom of this blog post from my last visit to Kiwi land.

Revisionist beers from Tesco


It’s time for the big brewers and supermarkets to jump on the craft beer bandwagon.

Guys, clamber aboard, but be aware that your beers will be subject to scrutiny. I’ve nothing against larger brewers when they make great beer. But I can’t stand it when they make boring beer and use distribution and marketing clout to put it in front of poor suckers who don’t have much in the way of alternatives.

Tesco has just launched a range of ‘craft beers’, which they’ve called ‘Revisionist’. The packaging is great, and all but one is made by Marston’s (the odd one out is from Wychwood). How do they fare?

Revisionist Craft Lager
5% alcohol
Dry hopped with Admiral and Boadicea, made by Marston’s. Yellow/gold colour. Full flavoured lager with notes of herbs, straw and hay, with some citrus and bitter hop characters. Real personality here. 7/10

Revisionist Dark India Pale Ale
4.8% alcohol
Made by Jon Tillison and Dave Carter at Wychwood, dry hopped with chinook and citra. Full brown colour. Malty and warm but with fresh tangy citrus and herb hoppiness. Some bitter black chocolate notes too, and some floral characters. An odd beer that doesn’t quite know what to do with itself. 6/10

Revisionist Pacific Hop Red Ale
4.2% alcohol
Made by Simon Yates at Marston’s, hopped at four stages with Waimea and Pacific Gem. Red brown colour. Sweet, malty and quite rich with some warm herbiness and contrasting bitter hop notes, as well as a bit of roast coffee and chocolate. Despite the hops this is a slightly cowardly beer, a little afraid of flavour. 6.5/10


Revisionist American Hop Rye Pale Ale
‘Craft brewed by Marston’s’ and dry hopped with Amarillo and Citra, made using rye crystal malt. Spicy and slightly toffeed, with a rich nose that has floral herby notes. There’s a hint of roast coffee on the savoury, tangy palate as well as some bright, spicy notes. Could do with more richness and hoppiness? 7/10

Revisionist Belgian Saison Beer
5% alcohol
Made by Marston’s, dry hopped with Styrian and Lubeski. This is interesting: it tastes Belgian, a bit like Leffe Blonde, with lovely spiciness and a rich, sweet core, coupled with bracing citrus freshness. Real interest. 7.5/10

Revisionist California Common Steam Beer
4.7% alcohol
Made by Marston’s. This is a lager fermented at higher temperatures to produce a sort of lager/ale hybrid. Gold/bronze colour. Simple, a bit spicy, with nice fresh hoppy bite and some malty richness. A bit boring. 5.5/10

Lakeside American Pale Ale, South Africa

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is interesting. It’s a beer made in Muizenberg, near Cape Town, and sampled locally at a restaurant in Kalk Bay from draught. The brewery is Lakeside Beer Works, and they are a new brewer, starting out in 2012. In 2013 they bought the Valley Brewery in Kommetjie. It’s really good to see South African craft beers begin to emerge: in the past it has been a difficult country to drink decent beer in.

Lakeside American Pale Ale, South Africa
4.5% alcohol. Lovely beer: fresh, nicely hoppy with some savoury herb notes and a bit of bitterness, but also a really nice balanced sweet malty backbone. There’s citrus freshness and a tangy quality to the finish. Not too heavy. 8/10


Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

SierraNevada It’s a classic. A legend among craft beers. It tastes OK.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: the beer that started the explosion in US craft beer in 1980. Today, Sierra Nevada tastes quite tame: it’s nice, well balanced and has attractive hoppy flavours, but compared with the current crop of US IPAs, it comes across as shy and reserved. But this beer would have seemed extreme 34 years ago.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, California
5.6% alcohol
Orange/bronze colour. Sweet and balanced nose with some herby, aromatic, floral hop notes as well as sweet malty characters. The palate is smooth and textured with just a hint of sweetness and lovely spicy, herby hoppiness. Quite restrained, showing balance. Tame by modern standards, but very drinkable. 7.5/10

Gamma Ray, Beavertown Brewery

Gamma Ray, Beavertown Brewery

Gamma Ray, Beavertown Brewery

Beavertown Brewery was founded in 2011 in Hackney. Beavertown was the old cockney name given to the historic ‘de beauvoir’ area, famed across Victorian London for its rich characters and infinite revelry.

Gamma Ray, Beavertown Brewery, London
5.4% alcohol
I’ve been to Beavertown on several occasions, but this was my first taste of beer from there. Gamma Ray is in keeping with a great many of London’s craft beers in that the bitter oils from the hops are front and centre. There is not a lot of weight to the mouthfeel. The hops are grassy and there is a top note of an elderly gentleman’s cologne. It’s done well if you like this style, it is not subtle and I couldn’t finish the bottle. 5/10