THE BREWSKI REPORT Tommy Brewski: My Beer. My Life.

January 29, 2011

Belhaven Brewery’s Scottish Ale Beer Review 1.29.2011

Belhaven Brewery's Scottish Ale

Belhaven Brewery's Scottish Ale

The Brewski Report Reviews Belhaven’s Scottish Ale
File Date: 1.29.2011

File Name: Free will to drink whatever you want.
The Beer: Scottish Ale
Type: Scottish Ale
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.2% ABV
Brewer: Belhaven Brewery Co. Ltd. (Greene King)
Web Site: www.belhaven.co.uk
State/Country of Origin: UK (Scotland)
Brewer Info: While 1719 may be the earliest documented evidence of the Belhaven Brewery, there may well have been beer production on the site pre-16th century as the wells and certain cellar vaults are known to date from around the time of the Reformation. Monks (noted for brewing skills) settled in the area from the 12th century. Luckily they had access to both fine water and top quality local barley. John Johnstone took ownership of the site in 1719 and it’s widely accepted that under his ownership the brewery started brewing for commercial sale. Commercial rail made it to Dunbar in 1846 both opening Belhaven up to a wider audience but conversely exposing the brewery to competition from further afield. At this time, Dudgeons diversified the business to focus on the maltings side (while still producing beer but in smaller quantities). It is thought that this diversification enabled Dudgeons to survive the widespread changes affecting other smaller Scottish breweries whose numbers dwindled as a result of closure or amalgamation. Through both world wars, Dudgeon continued malting and brewing for the military with a notable key customer – Belhaven Beers. By the 1970s, the malting side of the business that had seen the company survive two world wars, was feeling the strain of competition from modern automated plants. In 1972, family ownership came to an end as the business was sold. But this end was just the beginning of a twenty-year vibrant and significant period of growth for Belhaven. 1993 and a Management buy-out led by Stuart Ross enabled the management team to further expand and develop the business resulting in a successful flotation on the London Stock Exchange in 1996. Most recently (2005), Belhaven was bought by Greene King. 

tbr-scot-ale-logoBrewer Brand Hype: Malty and hoppy, we at Belhaven love the classic Scottish Ale and we’ve been brewing it longer than any of the other beers we produce. Delivering a sweet, smooth and creamy finish, Scottish Ale has a stunning ruby colour in the glass. Magic.
Label: The Belhaven Brewery is one of Scotland’s oldest surviving breweries, dating back to 1719. Belhaven Scottish Ale is a fully rounded ale, a complex mix of malt and hop producing Belhaven’s easily recognised malted and nutty flavour. The Belhaven Brewery Company, Dunbar, Scotland.

The Brewski Review: I read an article the other day about free will. The article was loosly implying that we don’t have free will if, for example, we eat that delicious looking chocolate covered Bavarian cream filled straight. But, you have free will if you don’t eat it. Huh? People have free will to do whatever they want; whether it’s to commit a crime (which, to some, is eating a donut) or performing a good deed for someone in need. (Sweets, by the way, are my kryptonite.) Basically, people make daily, conscious decisions about how to manage their life: from what words to assemble into a sentence to how one reacts in any given situation. Some decisions may not jive with your moral compass but that doesn’t make it any less free will than if the final outcome did line up with your perception of what’s right. If the negative internal consequences were that great, you wouldn’t have made the decision you made. Obviously, you were willing to absorb the risk for the perceived reward. Sometimes you make the right call, sometimes you don’t. Take this beer for example. I think I made the right call. I liked the smooth creaminess of it. Sure there was a nice, roasted malty taste but it just seemed to go down so well. I exercised some pretty darn good free will on this one. Why don’t you do the same?

Drinkability: Would surely drink again.
Appearance: Medium ruby brown w/ muddy color head.
The Buds: Nice smooth, malty taste.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.25 rating out of 5.

Everyone's Favorite Scot.

Everyone's Favorite Scot.

December 30, 2009

Greene King’s Old Speckled Hen English Pale Ale Beer Review 12.30.09

The Beer Named After a Car  - Moreland's Old Speckled Hen.

The Beer Named After a Car - Moreland's Old Speckled Hen.

The Brewski Report Reviews Greene King’s Old Speckled Hen and the President’s Popularity Slide.
File Date: 12.30.09

File Name:  A New Paint Job Doesn’t Make Something New Again.
The Beer: Old Speckled Hen
Type: English Pale Ale
Serving: Clear Bottle
Stats: 5.2% ABV
Brewer:  Greene King / Moreland Brewery
Country of Origin: UK (England)
Brewer Info: Morland was a brewery in Abingdon in the English county of Oxfordshire (formerly Berkshire). They first brewed in West Ilsley in 1711. It was purchased and closed by Greene King in 2000; and production of the Morland beers was moved to their brewery in Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.

Greene King has operated pubs and brewing for over 200 years. Combining successful traditional ale brands with modern forward thinking, Greene King has grown steadily from its base in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk to become a leading pub retailer and brewer.  Greene King brews all of its beers in Bury St Edmunds, where ale has been a feature of life since at least as far back as 1086. But we’ve taken the traditional art of brewing to new heights, producing what is arguably the finest range of cask ales in the country. Our beers are as much at home in city centre nightspots as they are in the cosy lounge of the village pub; we’ve taken the traditional craft of brewing and turned it into an art form. No other UK brewer is as committed to cask ale.

greene-king-tavern-plaque1Brewer Brand Hype: “Old Speckled Hen” was first brewed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the MG car factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Named after an old MG car which was used as the factory run around, they would park the old MG Featherweight Fabric Saloon outside the paint shop where it would normally get spattered in paint and so it became known as the ‘Owld Speckl’d Un’. This turned into “Old Speckled Hen” when the beer was unveiled. Since then the finely balanced beer with a distinctive rich malty taste and fruity aroma has attracted many fans, including the fox, who is always on the hunt for his Hen.

The Run-Around Car That Spawned the Name....

The Run-Around Car That Spawned the Name....

Label:  Named after an unusual speckled vintage MG car, Old Speckled Hen is a Pale Ale which owes it’s distinctive character and dry taste to a unique strain of yeast first used in 1896.  The complex flavour reflects skills developed across more than 280 years of independent brewing history.

 

The Brewski Review:  Here is an interesting, yet unqualified factoid I heard the other day: President Obama’s popularity has been declining due to FOX News’ use of attractive women commentators.  I found this comment to be rather interesting.  Now, I’m not sure if the gentleman who made the statement actually believed  what he said or if he was searching for any ammunition he could fire in a conversation he was quickly loosing regarding the correlation of the rise of FOX News and the freefall of the President’s popularity.  FOX News, as you may know, has been trouncing all the other news media outlets of late.  I have watched FOX News and yes, there are attractive women commentators on the show.  I will also agree that guys are visual creatures and wanting to watch attractive women wouldn’t be a big stretch.  But, a guy being swayed to switch his political affiliation while watching and listening to attractive women IS a stretch.  Either he’s of weak constitution or the women are VERY convincing.  That said, I do see a correlation: there is a rising discontent to what’s been happening in the country lately and those concerned individuals would rather opt to gather information from an outlet that doesn’t lean to the left.  FOX News isn’t accelerating the President’s popularity slide.  That blame rests squarely on the President and those decision makers he elected to surround himself with.  Speaking of FOX, the mascot for Moreland’s Old Speckled Hen is in fact a fox.  Their ads promo a fox in search of the ‘Hen’.  Ironic isn’t it.  I thought so.  Overall, the beer was average.  Poured with a nice head and maintained a nice amber color.  Taste was mildly bitter but not too much.  The ‘Hen’ didn’t grab my taste buds and surely didn’t leave them screaming for more.   

Drinkability: Offered a choice, I’d probably try something else.
Appearance: Medium amber in color.
The Buds:  Crisp taste with medium bitterness.
TBR Cap Rating:  3.5 out of 5 caps.

August 23, 2009

Tanner’s Jack Ale Beer Review 8.23.09

TBR's Tanner's Jack Ale Beer Review

TBR's Tanner's Jack Ale Beer Review

Morland Brewery's (aka Greene King)Tanner's Jack in 6 Pack Form

Morland Brewery's (aka Greene King)Tanner's Jack in 6 Pack Form

The Brewski Report’s Review of UK’s Tanner’s Jack Ale.
File Date:  August 23, 2009

File Name:  The G-Man Jacks Us Around
The Beer:  Tanner’s Jack
Type: English Pale Ale
Serving:  Clear Bottle
Stats:  4.40% ABV
Brewer: Greene King / Morland Brewery
Brewer Info:  Morland was a brewery in Abingdon in the English county of Oxfordshire (formerly Berkshire). They first brewed in West Ilsley in 1711. It was purchased and closed by Greene King in 2000; and production of the Morland beers was moved to their brewery in Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.

Greene King Logo

Greene King Logo

Greene King has operated pubs and brewing for over 200 years. Combining successful traditional ale brands with modern forward thinking, Greene King has grown steadily from its base in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk to become a leading pub retailer and brewer. 

Greene King brews all of its beers in Bury St Edmunds, where ale has been a feature of life since at least as far back as 1086. But we’ve taken the traditional art of brewing to new heights, producing what is arguably the finest range of cask ales in the country.  Our beers are as much at home in city centre nightspots as they are in the cosy lounge of the village pub; we’ve taken the traditional craft of brewing and turned it into an art form. No other UK brewer is as committed to cask ale.

Morland's Tanner's Jack Fine Ale

Morland's Tanner's Jack Fine Ale

Brewer Brand Hype:  Tanner’s Jack was named after the old Tanner’s drinking vessels, which were known as Jacks. They were in common use from medieval times through to the 19th century. Leather was used because it was more readily available than pewter, decidedly less costly than glass, and did not break like pottery. Leather was also favored because of its strength allied with its light weight.

Tanner’s Jack is “A soft reddish brown ale with a nutty/malty palette, background sweetness and a smooth finish”.  A smooth tasting cask conditioned premium ale. It has a fuller sweeter taste than traditional ales with more character in the flavor than the aroma. There is background sweetness combined with nutty malty flavors to give a fuller bodied, yet easy drinking premium ale.

The Brewski Review:  Okay, now that the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program has come to an end we can ‘officially’ say that the recession is over and that everything is going to be A-Okay.  I was beginning to worry that he $700B in government handouts wasn’t going to work.  I can only figure figure that the catalyst for the whole government TARPS program to energize the economy was the measly $3B in CARS bailout.  Go figure. Anyway, enough about all this G spending.  If I continue to ramble on you’ll get to understand my real, non-sarcastic opinion on the matter: which, I’m sure, will quickly degrade into a blue streak of profanity.  I’d rather talk about the last beer I drank – Tanner’s Jack.  A UK imported ale that was rather tasty (to which my wife will agree).  I came in a clear bottle, which, doesn’t preserve the contents very well but does make for a nice retail presentation.  It poured with decent carbonation but it didn’t retain it’s head very long.  It went down smooth, wasn’t bitter and had minimal aftertaste.  I thought it was a worthy beverage.

Drinkability:  Yes.  Good ale.
Appearance:  Amber color – resembling the leached tannins at Tahquamenon Falls.
The Buds:  Smooth with minimal aftertaste.
TBR Cap Rating:  4.0 out of 5.

The Tannin Laced Waters of the Tahquamenon Falls State Park - Paradise, MI

The Tannin Laced Waters of the Tahquamenon Falls State Park - Paradise, MI

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