When Beer52 contacted me to see if we would like to review their craft beer subscription service, I knew just the man for the job. Mr Hubby is the beer drinker in our house and I think he was quite happy when a box of beer arrived. Apparently I am the best wife ever! So I will hand over to Mr Hubby (doing his first review!).
I arrived home from work to find that the beer fairies had delivered the Beer52 box containing eight craft beers, specially selected to give a variety from microbreweries around the world. Rather splendidly, there was a free snack included too!
I wouldn’t class myself as an expert by any means but I have attended the occasional beer festival with judge 2 in my time (I feel it is my duty to support local businesses whenever I can) and was fairly confident I knew the gist of the judging process. Turns out, there may be a tad more to it than I gave them credit for (as you’ll see if you read on).
In a vain attempt to make the process a bit scientific we decided to judge on colour, taste and smell (which may have been a mistake as we both had a touch of man flu which, incidentally, we were fortunate enough to survive – probably due to the health-giving properties of the beer*).
Our first contender was the Orkney IPA; orangey/amber in colour and whilst we could detect no distinguishing smell (told you it may have been a mistake), we could definitely taste the hops and at just shy of 5% it was a very good start.
Next to be opened was the Citra from Oakham Ales; this one had a distinctly fruity smell (man flu getting better already) and was lighter in colour than the IPA. Maybe unsurprisingly given the name, it had a citrusy taste with grapefruit being prominent. The quirky labelling appealed to us too; we both thought that, if faced with shelves of untried beer, this would stand out. At 4.6% it would make a good session beer (ooh, get me with my fancy lingo).
The Steph Weiss wheat beer was the next to be plucked form the fridge. This was a departure from my usual beer style but I was pleasantly surprised. The taste was completely different from the first two and, to my uneducated palate, had a hint of baked bean! Judge number 2 was far more accustomed to wheat beer than me and was very complimentary also. Unfortunately, by this point we had abandoned the smell category as we were struggling to detect much.
All this hard work had made us peckish so we decided to open the Coulls lager and the complimentary Bbq pop chips next! Once again, we were impressed with both. The lager was distinctly lagery in colour (stop me if I get too technical) and I thought I could smell peaches (from the lager, not the crisps). The taste was far more complex than your bog-standard (quite literally for some of them) lager and led me to come up with my favourite line of the evening; wait for it – “a beer drinker’s lager”!! It’s fair to say I was far more impressed with this line than judge 2, but he does have previous for being grumpy. The pop chips were a great accompaniment.
We spiritually travelled up north next for the Corby Fox Brown Ale. Dark brown in colour (as you may expect from a brown ale) it had a very smooth and mellow taste and was noticeably less gassy than anything we’d tasted.
As beer tasting can be a very personal thing, we expressed surprise that we had both enjoyed everything so far and moved on to the Centurion American IPA. Brewed by the Hillside brewery, this was another winner. It too, tasted like a potential session beer but, having noticed the alcohol content is 7%, the session could be relatively short!
The penultimate tipple was Killer Cat Manga (I should point out that the ‘killer cat’ in the photo didn’t come in the box with the beer but is resident with judge 2). This one promised to be different and so it turned out – noticeably more bitter than the rest.
The Grozet Gooseberry and Chocolate beer we saved until the end as the concept concerned us somewhat! However, it turns out that the clever people at Beer52 don’t just pluck any old stuff from the beer world, they certainly know their business. With a malty taste and a little tartness, it was a lovely way to end the session.
In conclusion (stay with me, I’m nearly finished), I realise that we may not have done justice to the seasoned beer reviewer but I’ve always thought that the blurb written in reviews was, quite frankly, a load of rubbish; ‘a hint of hedgerow’ and ‘essence of Badger’ don’t mean much to me (but that may say more about me than the reviewers) – maybe I should educate myself and take in a tasting course when I have some time (probably in about 16 years time).
We both agreed that all the beers were highly recommended but, for us, the champion ale was the Oakham Ales Citra.
Beer52 are offering all of my readers 10% off the first box, just use code YOUBABY10
* I’m pretty sure this is true but I doubt it would stand up in a court of law.
The Beer52 subscription is £24 per month for 8 beers.
Disclosure: We were sent these beers in return for an honest review.