I was recently sent a box of selected beers to review from the flavourly.com 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 flavourly.com, you will receive £12 off your first box, normally costing £20 + £4 delivery.