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I was recently sent a box of selected beers to review from the**craft beer club, you may remember them from Dragons Den a few years ago. * I’ve reviewed a box of beers from a rival beer club previously, so it will be interesting to see how it compares to the rival company. * *The package sent included 9 beers (8 x bottles and 1 x can), a pack of gourmet tortillas and 2 bags of corn kernels. *Along side these I was sent a Hardknott glass, branded beer mats and a branded wooden bottle opener. *Overall I was quite impressed by the contents, which were well protected for transit. *Click on the images below for bigger versions.

Lets take a quick look at the beers before we go into detail.

  • Tempest – Marmalade on Rye – 9% DIPA
  • Seven Brothers – India Pale Ale – 5% IPA
  • Tickety Brew – Rose Wheat Beer – 4.7% Wheat Beer
  • Stewart – Black IPA – 5%
  • Firebrand – Black Saison – 5% Saison Beer
  • Eden Mill – 19th Brew – 3.9% Golden Ale
  • Hiver – The Honey Ale – 4.5% Honey Brown Ale
  • Innis and Gunn – Spiced Rum Finish Oak Aged Beer – 4.7%
  • Four Pure – Amber Ale – 5.1%

The snacks are Manomasa White Cheddar Tortillas and Darling Corn Salted Corn Kernels, but lets get to the important things, the beer. *Initial reaction is good, 8 beers I’ve never tried before and most of breweries I not come across in my “drinking career”. *A nice range of styles, with only one beer you could consider mainstream sourced (Innis and Gunn).
The first beer I tried was the solitary can in the box, the Four Pure Amber Ale. * More towards red in color, it forms a nice head. *First taste is good, the flavour about what I would expect from a beer of its strength (5.1%). *The beer is inspired by the American beers of Colorado and whilst I can’t pin it down that locally, it certainly pays homage to the country. *Nicely hopped and a good interesting taste, well balanced between bitter and citrus, moving towards the citrus end as it coats the tongue. *A pleasant odour in the glass and good solid aftertaste doesn’t do this any harm at all either. *All in all a good solid start to the box, whilst not going to win any awards, it is a thoroughly pleasant beer. (7.5/10)
The next beer under discussion is*Tempest Marmalade on Rye, the strongest in the box at 9%. *Again another beer tending towards the red. *A nice rich smell in the glass, the head clearing quickly. *The hops hit straight away, but are not overpowering. *The depth of flavour is good, initially bitter hops taking the lead, with citrus coming afterwards, although not as strongly as you would expect a beer which claims “the zest of 200 oranges and 70lbs of your favourite orangey hops”. *Give it time and it settles slightly more into those flavours although never reaching where you want it to go. *Not a beer you could do a session on obviously at 9%, but OK as a bottle as part of a wider session. *I’ve had Rye ales before and really enjoyed them, however this wasn’t quite on the mark. (6.5/10)
The third beer out of the box is Tickety Brew Rose Wheat Beer (subtitled “with a spicy kick”). *A pale*cloudy appearance and long lasting loose head is as expected for the style. *The floral notes come through in the aroma and the initial taste is of citrus hops and an slight underlying floral element. *Once on the tongue it is rather pleasant and refreshing. *After a rest, more of the bitter hops come through, but citrus still dominates. *It is a definitely a light beer to drink, but still full of flavour. * The aftertaste is also from the citrus element and sticks around nicely in the mouth. *All in all, the best beer in the box so far and at 4.7% one you could enjoy a few of. (8.5/10)
Beer number 4 is Eden Mill 19th Brew Golden Ale at 3.9%. *Describing itself as a “a well balanced golden beer with a hint of citrus and slightly hoppy character. *Colour is as it states, forming a nice head which doesn’t disappear quickly. *The flavour is exactly as it says on the bottle as well. *The aftertaste disappears fairly quickly and is nothing special. *The beer is a pleasant brew, but a little bland for my tastes, coming across as fairly standard session ale. *There is nothing wrong with the beer, but it does nothing to stand out from the realm of session ales out there. *OK for a pint, I’d move on to another beer if in the pub. *(6.5/10)
Next up is Seven Brothers India Pale Ale, a nice place beer as expected with a head which dies down quickly. *Nice crisp citrus aroma in glass, almost lemon juice like. * Citrus hops hit first, followed by the bitter hops coming through. *A really nicely balanced beer hop wise, with a good transition of taste in the mouth. * The aftertaste lingers pleasantly for a while on the tongue. * After the beer has rested for a bit, the hop flavours intensify really nicely, with the bitter and citrus notes presenting themselves more equally from initial wash over the tongue. *At 5%, this is would be a session beer I could drink all day. *The best beer of the box so far. *(9/10)
Hiver Honey Ale (4.5%) is next to be poured, marked “a brown ale brewed with raw British honey”. *Initial nose is slightly of honey, but is a bit weak overall. * The beer has the base of classic brown ale with a touch of sweetness coming through from the honey, but the honey doesn’t really do a lot to change the beer really initially. * The aftertaste lasts a reasonable amount of time, but the honey element disappears leaving the brown ale base. * Leaving the beer to rest brings out the honey slightly more in both the mouth*and aftertaste and this makes this a more interesting beer to drink. *I’ll admit this one grew on me over time, and although it doesn’t stand out, it is a pleasant brew for a bottle or two (7/10)
The seventh*beer is Firebrand Black Saison at 5%. * Deep in colour as expected with a thin head forming in the glass. *Smell is fresh, but nothing jumps out at you, but odours can be decieving. *The initial taste*is quite interesting, the malts coming through nicely and really is quite refreshing with the hops giving a*skim of sweetness*to the flavour. * It is light on the palette and the taste transitions from hints of *citrus freshness to the rich malts on the aftertaste, which lingers for a good time.* After letting the beer rest, the taste on the swill moves to a more earthy note, balancing the elements well. *This rather good beer is certainly equal best beer in the box along side the Seven Brothers India Pale Ale*and thus deserves the same mark (9/10)
The penultimate beer is Stewart Brewing Black IPA (5%). *I’m a big fan of this style, so expecting good things. *It’s a lively beer for sure. *Even from the froth you get a nice rich flavour. *The head forms a good “swiss cheese” structure which settles to a long lasting top. *The deeper malty tastes are nicely balanced by the well proportioned bitter and slight citrus note. *The nose of the beer is very similar to the taste. * The overall impression is of a really well brewed refreshing Black IPA which does its beer style justice and is at least as good as most I have tasted. *The taste moves slightly to the hoppy notes after resting, lightening slightly. *This is definitely on a par with the two top beers in the box so far, so deserves the following score (9/10)
To round off the box I left the only “mainstream” beer. * *The best presented beer in its own box,*Innis and Gunn Spiced Rum Finish Oak Aged Beer at 4.7% is a sister beer of some of their other oak aged beers I tried before. *The Spiced Rum comes through in the nose of the beer, forming a dense head which collapses after a few sips, the domination continuing into the taste of the beer initially. *Almost red in colour, the beer flavours themselves start to come through more after a short rest, with the spiced rum becoming an secondary*note which follows the shortly after the initial wash over the tongue. * The aftertaste is of a “bitter hop noted rum” which whilst not unpleasant becomes dominant on your taste buds after half a glass or so slightly clouding the other flavours in the beer as you drink it. *A drinkable beer for 1 or 2, but not for an extended session hence the score of (7/10)
The snacks are not too shabby either the Manomasa White Cheddar Tortillas hitting the spot with most of the family and the corn kernels quite satisfying. *The corn kernels were decent as well.
Overall the beers rank at 8/10 with four*very good beers and a couple letting the side down, not a bad score for a random selection of beers without knowing my tastes. *As a thought on the beer box model, 24 quid is what it would be for 8 beers, or £3 per bottle. * You could pay more or pay less according to where you shop and how close you buy to the brewer in the distribution chain. *If you want something different each month without having to source from multiple places, this is where this model works well, it is also a ideal for a gift. *For me personally, it isn’t something I’d do regularly, but as an occasional purchase certainly would be in my basket.
If you use the buddy*code “SEAN12″ at*, you will receive £12 off your first box, normally costing £20 + £4 delivery.