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Great British Beer Festival Tasting Notes - 2009

Previous Years are here: 2000/2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.

Okay, I've been shockingly bad this year with getting the notes out – it's taken 51 weeks. So, belated thanks to last year's co-conspirators: [livejournal.com profile] clanwilliam, [livejournal.com profile] gmh, [livejournal.com profile] hano, Rob, Ed and David. Oh and the fabulous [livejournal.com profile] cuvalwen, without which any beer festival would not be complete.

But without further ado to the stars of the show, the beers.

Amber Chocolate Orange Stout (4.0%)
A rich, dark stout with roasted orange and vanilla chocolate flavours. Dark bitterness with a smooth finish. This had a wonderful bitter orange taste to it, not so chocolatey though. For a "rich" stout, it had a remarkably thin flavour. **

Dunham Massey Chocolate Cherry Mild (3.8%)
A traditional dark mild, enhanced with a dry cherry flavour that cuts through the aroma, flavour and after taste. This was fantastically fruity, although with quite surprising banana overtones. ***

Flowerpots Elder Ale (3.8%)
A dry beer, very light in colour with a hint of elderflower, refreshing and fragrant. Fantastically refreshing, especially chilled. Had a light sparkle to it, with a nice elder flavour. Similar to Cairngorms Trade Winds. *****

Great Heck Dave (3.8%)
A smooth, very dark velvety bitter made with finest Maris Otter malted barley and copious quantities of chocolate and crystal malt. I'm not sure whether this one was named after the TV show or not. However, disappointingly weak flavour, more coffee-like than chocolate. *

Harwich Town Redoubt Stout (4.2%)
A biscuity, grainy aroma of dark chocolate is echoed in the crisp biscuity, grainy and drying taste of bitter chocolate in the mouth which also has a hint of raisin and a good airy texture; bitter chocolate lingers in the dry finish. Not sure what the reviewer was drinking at the time, this was nice with quite a dry smoky flavour. ****

Milestone Raspberry Wheat Beer (5.6%)
Review was in pictures, so here's the paraphrase: Clear, strong wheat beer, titian gold with a fresh raspberry nose and taste, sweet. Regular readers will know of my quest for the perfect Raspberry Wheat and it looks like Iceni have been trumped by this brew. A lovely raspberry taste without being cloying. My beer of the festival, I think. *****

Nethergate Umbel Magna (5.0%)
Smooth, creamy porter infused with coriander. Roast grain supported by caramel and butterscotch with some bubblegum character by the coriander dominates. I had this back at the 2007 festival, where the main flavour dominated quite a bit more. This half had a mild flavour with a surprisingly spicy aftertaste. ****

North Cotswold Vanilla Bumble Beer (4.5%)
Pale, balanced wheat beer, local honey and a touch of vanilla. Incredibly disappointing. Very sweet with rather a distressing nose. *

Potbelly Yellerbelly (4.4%)
A goldn bitter with a refreshing grapefruit bitterness. I had to try this, being a yellerbelly myself! Not bad, a nice session beer, pale and not to in your face. ***

St. Austell Black Prince (4.0%)
Another picture book review. A dark mahogany brew with toffee and caramel scents. Molasses and dark coffee taste. An amazingly deep and complex beer. Incredibly nice, if you like deep and complex. ****

Theakstons Grousebeater (4.2%)
Picture book review says: Speciality, eye is golden brown, nose is fruity hop and taste is blueberry, malty. What do they know, eh?! For a start although the beer is brewed with blueberries, it actually has quite an apricot flavour.This beer has been banned from my "best of the festival" list now. It's just too good to keep winning. That said, there was a very mild custardy flavour to the brew this year. Is Simon trying to dominate the dessert market? *****


Ciders

No ciders this year. To be honest, it was quite a short list all round in 2009!

I did try a couple of very nice continental brews, only one of which I noted: Birrifico del Ducato's Verdi which is brewed with chilli and is utterly gorgeous.

Well, it's one week to go until the 2010 festival! Place your bets now on how quickly I'll get that write-up done!!!
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