This post is a bit of a mash-up of a number of other posts that I was planning while the show was off the air. Basically, I ran out of time to write all the blogs I wanted to and not wishing to clog up the blogginator, I think I’ve found a way of getting it all down in the one post.

The theme of this post is ‘gratitude’ – all of the beers in this post have been sent or given to me, and I am very much appreciative of the generosity that exists within the beer community.

Anyway. Enough pre-amble, here’s some bite-size reviews with personal thanks along the way…

Blacks Of Kinsale ‘Kinsale Pale Ale (KPA)’ 5% ABV
Slight copper aroma with a tickle of citrus in the background. Pours a light orange colour with little carbonation and gentle white foamy head. Very bitter profile from start to finish with deep earthy, almost peaty hints. Currently only available in Ireland, I’m grateful to Sam Black who runs the brewery with his wife for getting this beer to me when he was on a flying visit to England. More information is available from www.kinsalecraftbrewery.com

Nethergate ‘IPA’ (Ian & Paul’s Ale) 3.9% ABV
We had originally planned to feature Growler/Nethergate Brewery as part of the first part of season 4, but when things became difficult for them, we made the call not to feature them. As many of you will now know, former owner Dick Burge has stepped in with as part of a consortium to buy the brewery back. As part of the consortium deal, the brand has returned to simply the Nethergate Brewery. The beer has a malty biscuit aroma with a slight hint of citrus in the background. It pours a deep golden colour and is well carbonated with a one finger head. It has a very light mouthfeel and refreshes the palate on the way down. There are earthy tones that remain throughout the drink. Not what you would consider your standard IPA, but a solid enough beer and one that I could imagine being much better on cask than from the bottle. Many thanks to the guys at Nethergate for this and other beers that they gave me when I visited earlier on in the year. More details from www.growlerbrewery.com

Stringers ‘IPA’ 5.5% ABV
Many thanks to Philip Kelly for this one – Philip is my undercover agent who I send on various operations from time to time to source me the best northern beer. On opening the bottle there is an instant waft of lemon which follower through as a hint on the flavour with an earthy bitter finish.  This one’s a guzzler, a real thirst quencher with bitterness that hangs around to keep cutting through your thirst. More information from www.stringersbeer.co.uk

Cheers

Brewdog ‘Hello My Name Is Ze’ 6.4% ABV
I feel rather lucky to have got my hands on a bottle of this as the bottles were intended as special releases for share holders only. Thanks to Clay Chisholm for sharing one of his share holders stash with me. If you don’t know this is a collaboration with 2Cabecas brewers from Brazil to coincide with either the Brewdog Brazil opening or the World Cup. Or possibly both. It’s got that typical ‘brewdoggy’ signature IPA aroma – thick and strong with pine needles and citrus peel. There’s little passion fruit aroma but comes through like a ribbon of pure fruit juice on the taste.

Hillside Brewery Centurion IPA VII% ABV
This is an American IPA that comes from a fairly new brewery that we’ll be featuring on the show in a few weeks. Paul Williamson from Hillside got in touch to send some samples and this was one of the samples he sent over, so thanks to Paul for this one. It’s branded as a ‘craft special’ and on opening has aromas of lemon sherbet. It pours a hazy orange colour with excited carbonation that races to form a thick, foamy white head. In the glass it smells like someone has dropped a bag of Haribo Tangfastics into my glass (not a bad thing) and the taste gives a big bitter hit that gives way to a dry, sweet finish. It’s like drinking a boozy, liquified lemon tart. More will be available from www.hillsidebrewery.com in time.

Harviestoun ‘Ola Dubh 21’ 8% ABV
I love Harviestoun beers. I particularly love the Ola Dubh series and was absolutely blown away last year when I got to try the 30. You can therefore imagine my delight upon receiving an email from Ewan at Harviestoun informing me that their latest addition to the series was on its way to me to try. Unwrapping the foil top (these beers really are presented in the most beautiful way) and cracking the cap there is a deep sweet, boozy aroma. Then there’s chocolate with a very slight hint of roasted coffee. It’s very smooth and there’s an initial rush of bitterness followed by sweet vanilla, and caramel flavours, this is amazing and it’s better than the 30. Thanks to Harviestoun for sending these beers through to us, it is very much appreciated. More details will be available from www.harviestoun.com in due course.

The show returns at 6pm Friday 30 May with a feature and reviews on Camden Town Brewery.

For the full season 4 (part 2) beer list, click here