Beer 52 Beer Box Review

Posted: 21st September 2015 by santobugtio in Writing

P1180825In the second of my Beer Club box reviews this month, I’m revisiting Beer 52 who sent me a box to review previously.  Lets see how they get on second time.  The box contains 6 bottles, 2 cans, a pack of chili popcorn chips and a copy of Ferment magazine.  Not quite as good presentation as Flavourly lacking the glass, bottle opener and beer mats, but the box is well packaged and protected and the beers look interesting at first glance, with only one beer I’ve drank before.   Lack of any mainstream brands is good and it is good to see that one of my current favourite brewers has been included in the package.  As a note I was offered a complimentary box to review by the company.

First, the beers on offer.

  • Brewfist (Italy) and Brewhere (Denmark) – Caterpillar Pale Ale – 5.8%
  • Cloudwater – Grissette (Summer Range) – 3.5%
  • Beer Project Brussels – Dark Sister Black IPA – 6.66%
  • Bronher (Spain) – The Drunk Hop – Large Lager – 4.7%
  • Six Degrees North – HopClassic Belgian IPA – 6.6%
  • Gosnells – London Mead – 5.5%
  • Lucky Jack (Norway) – American Pale Ale – 4.7%
  • Vocation – Heart and Soul – Session IPA – 4.4%

Concentrating more on the IPA’s and pale ales, the box has a nice range of geographic sources as well as Vocation which was brewed 10 miles from my house.  The initial impression is certainly better than the previous box I got from them.

I’ll start with Vocation Heart and Soul.  I’m a massive fan of their beers, having tried all 6 currently on offer, so this beer is a bit like a bus mans holiday.  The can says this is a fruity beer with tropical aroma, and it’s right, filling the glass with a lovely sweet pineapple like aroma.  A good stable head lasts a nice amount of time.   The citrus fruit notes rush over the tongue, the bitter and more sweet tastes balanced wonderfully, leaving an aftertaste of both on the tongue at the same time.   After a brief rest the sharper notes of the citrus family begin to come through more, later more bitterness coming out.  The beer is absolutely packed with interesting flavour, the well blended hops shining through.  It’s good to see that Vocation Brewery can keep the quality up in cans and on pump. (9.5/10)

Next up is Six Degrees North Hop Classic Belgian IPA.    Forming a nice head on the pour, which fades after a few minutes.  The nose is a bit indistinct.   The taste is quite earthy, but with a decent mix of flavours, some citrus notes emerge and the beer is generally well balanced with a bitter edge.   The impression is of a refreshing well brewed beer at 6.66%.   When the sediment is mixed in prior to pouring as I did, the appearance is of a cloudy amber-ish color, and you can taste it in the beer, the strength of flavour commensurate with the ABV.  Overall a very nice beer I could drink a number of happily. (8/10)

Next up is the Brewfist and Brewhere colab Caterpillar Pale Ale.  Orange / Red in colour, the odour is of the more citrus hops.  A nice solid head forms, settling down in a few minutes.   A nice blend of bitter and lighter hop tastes is the first impression.   The strength tastes about right for its 5.8%.   Aftertaste goes quickly from bitter to sweet, but maybe lasts a little shorter than I would like.   After a rest it settles down to quite an earthy flavour which is tinged with lighter citrus notes.  Overall a thoroughly pleasant beer to drink, but it doesn’t stand out against the beers sampled previously. (7/10)

Fourth is Lucky Jack American Pale Ale at 4.7%.   Pale as expected in colour, nose is a bit indistinct, some sweeter odours emerging.  Initial tasting show both bitter and citrus hops but not a lot of either really.  Aftertaste much the same, but disappearing off the tongue too quickly.  After a while the citrus hops start to come through more, but it is still lacking something flavour wise.  There is nothing wrong with beer per-se, it just isn’t particularly good in any aspect and distinctly average overall. (6/10)

As we enter the second half of th box we open Cloudwater from Grissette (Summer Range) at 3.5%.  A pale slightly yellow body holding a loose head which disappears quickly.  Odour is more citrus, but a little weak.  The initial taste is quite lemony, with citrus tastes definitely to the fore.   It settles slighty from the citrus high, but the same tastes still dominate.  This uses a saison yeast so is naturally cloudy.   I found this beer really refreshing and light on the palette.  As the “summer range” label suggests would be great for an afternoons drinking in the warm sun.  This beer could be a bit of marmite beer, if you don’t like lemon, it won’t be for you, if you do, then this would probably suit you down to the ground.  I do like lemon hence the score. (8/10)

Overall score is 38.5 / 50 so far.  The rival box I tested the other week was at 38/50 by the same stage, so there is really nothing in it so far.  The last three beers will decide the winner.

Beer Project Brussels Dark Sister Black IPA at 6.66% leads out these beers.  A good creamy long lasting head. Deep brown in colour with nicely balanced odour.  Intial flavours are a good mix of maltiness, citrus and bitter hops, tasting its 6.66%.  The beer is quite light to drink making it quite refreshing.  On second taste the beer still gives a good impression, citrus followed by bitter hop followed by malty taste, aftertaste following a similar pattern lasting a decent period.  The beer is a bit lively out of the bottle, so make sure you have the glass at hand when you open it.  Overall this is a very decent beer, but not an all day beer which the strength reflects. (7.5/10)

Our penultimate beer is Bronhers The Drunk Hop, a “large lager” with a 4.7% ABV.  A classic lager look in the glass, pale golden in colour and tall gassy head with sustains itself.  The nose is like most continental lagers as well, refreshing but with nothing in particular coming through.  However on the taste, this comes across as stronger than it’s 4.7%, more like a 5.5% beer.   A nice range of hops with citrus and bitter balanced well dominating the overall taste of the beer, it is not overpowering, keeping the beer light and refreshing.  As a “lager” style beer they have done a good job on this and if we ever had a summer then a few pints of this would go down nicely in the beer garden.   The aftertaste goes from slightly bitter to citrus on the tongue and hangs around a while on it. (7.5/10)

The final beer is Gosnells London Mead at 5.5%.   A sort of cloudy apple juice colour, the fizzy head disappears quickly.   Nose is mix of apple and lemon.  The taste is sweet from the honey, but not overpoweringly so, almost a good sweet cider like balance.  A nice sharp bite on the taste compliments the sweetness well.   A nice little bit of natural gas keeps the drink light and refreshing and it lines your mouth quite nicely.   Some nice citrus notes, with undertones of the rich honey taste coming more to the fore as the drink rests and starts to warm to ambient temperature.  My first mead I’ve tasted and I enjoyed it.   It’s probably not something I could do a session on, but happy to have one or two (7.5/10)

So an average score of 7.6/10, with a good set of beers, only one disappointing, I’d say this was a well selected box by Beer 52 and wouldn’t be disappointed if I have paid for it.  The Chili Popcorn Chips were decent enough and the Ferment magazine had some good articles by the likes of Melissa Code and Mark Dredge and was an interesting read.

If you want to order a box from beer52.com, then please use promo code “LIQUORISH10” which will give you £10 towards your first purchase, the usual cost being between £24 and £21 per months according on how long you take the subscription for.  I’ll repeat my comment on beer box clubs from the other review.   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.