Why are our cats reviewing the beer? Well, here at Esbrew, we prefer to bottle-condition our beers.
Because the fermentation in the bottle produces gas, the beer becomes fizzy and the bottle becomes pressurised. The occasional bottle or two isn't strong enough to cope and will explode during conditioning.
When we started brewing this presented a bit of a mystery. We would often find broken bottles on the shelves in the conditioning cupboard, but hardly ever found much of a puddle on the floor. Where was the beer going?
So, as it would be immodest for the Esbrewers to review our own products, our resident experts have agreed to give their unbiased, authoritative and uniquely furry opinions on our back catalogue of beers.
- Porters and dark ales
- Lambic beer
- Esme's seedlings
- People who say 'A whole nother...'
- Golden Ales
- Rolling around on her back so that her hairs go right into the carpet.
- Wheat beer
Ale Dorado: Golden ale single hopped with El Dorado hops
I often find golden ales somewhat insubstantial, and single-hop beers sometimes lack the depth and complexity of flavour demanded by my sophisticated palate. So naturally I approached this no small degree of trepidation. However, our gormless food-dispensers have made this a quite passable beer. A light touch of pale and cara malts hold up well under a delicate balance of bitterness and refreshing zing from the hops. Light and easy-drinking, but still full of flavour.
Golden ales are always my favourite in the summer. I can sit in a sunbeam and drink them all day, which is why I usually need so many naps. And this is perfect sunbeam-drinking; nice and pale, full of lovely hops, and not too strong so I can still make it across the room when the sun moves.
Imperial Amaretto Stout: Dark, rich stout with a hint of sweet amaretto from Nispero seeds
Now this is exactly what a cat of my outstanding taste and refinement demands in a beer. Rich dark malts, subtle but fragrant hops, and intriguing nutty overtones from the addition of nispero seeds, along with impressive strength and body. The blundering bipeds have managed to produce an ale truly worthy of such fine and distinguished cats as me and (to a lesser extent) my sister.
Dark beers aren't usually my favourite thing, but I do love a beer that has everything turned up to 11. This stout has a full-bodied chocolatey richness, with a touch of amaretto flavour and the hops balanced out by the sweetness you get from a high abv. Strong, rich and a bit nutty, just as I like my toms.
Boho Lager: Traditional lager malt and hops finished with lemon and rosemary
Drinking lager is, of course, usually beneath a connoisseur of my standing. But since I reject dogmatism, for reasons which I hope are obvious, I am prepared to countenance the occasional traditionally-brewed pilsner. This is rather lacking the effervescence I would expect, but is well flavoured with bohemian malt and hops with the unusual addition of zesty lemon and earthy rosemary. Pleasant enough after a long, hot afternoon nap, but not quite sufficient to make a lager-drinker of me.
Don't tell Frankie, but I actually really like lager, so I was excited when the humans went to all the trouble of making this and cold-fermenting it outside for weeks in the winter. The result is very refreshing and I like the subtle herbal taste of rosemary in it. But they forgot the fizz! Lager should be as fizzy as me when I'm chasing my knitted mouse, but this is as flat as me when I'm asleep in a cupboard five minutes later. Silly humans!
Saison's Greetings: A Christmas Ale with mixed malts, Oranges and Spice
I must say that I remember when I was a kittten learning about the German purity laws, whereby beer can only be made of malt, hops, water and yeast. I am not sure I entirely condone our humans' flagrancy in flouting these noble conventions in many of their beers. Nonetheless, this beer has its roots in some fine traditions of Continental brewing, with the use of pale barley and wheat malts with flavours from noble hops, coriander and orange peel, reminiscent of a some fine Belgian witbiers. The addition of fresh orange pulp and mulled-wine spices give an original and, I would venture to say, festive dimension to the flavour profile. Joyeaux Noel, beer-lovers.
Well, I don't usually like wheat beer very much, as they're often a little bit sweet for my taste. But I do like a bit of fruit in my pint and I really like the orange in this. It's not all bitterness from the zest, the fruity taste really comes out with the lovely Christmassy spices. There's not much of the hops there, but it's got just enough bitterness to make a nice, well-rounded beer that I could keep on drinking right through to Boxing day. I'll need a few drinks to deal with the Christmas catnip-comedown and this one will just hit the spot if I can hide a couple of bottles from the big people. Merry Christmas everyone!
T.E.A: A refreshing minty light ale made with Morroccan Tea herbs.
On a recent trip to Morocco, the shambling food-dispensers apparently developed a fondness for the local tea, a made with a mixture of black tea, mint and lemon-balm. For reasons best known to their own tiny ape-minds, they felt that the best way to express this fondness would be bring home these ingredients and to incorporate them into their next beer. The resulting brew is a difficult one to love. I feel that the Moroccan ingredients are drastically overused, to the point of overpowering any other taste in the beer with an astringent, aggressively herbal flavour which comes as an unpleasant surprise to anyone expecting to taste malt and hops.
When I first tried this,I really didn't like it. But I had nothing else and Frankie wanted to tell me stories about his younger days travelling in the far East (so boring! He went to Thailand and didn't even go clubbing!) so I kept drinking. And the more I drank, the more I found I quite like this. Once the surprise of it tasting a bit like medicine had worn off, I started enjoying the clean, mentholy taste of it. It's weird, yes. But not altogether bad.
Fresh Hopper: A golden ale made with fresh Leyton Allotment Hops
This otherwise rather traditional bitter is distinguished by the sheer volume and freshness of the hops used. I understand that the humans have something called an 'allotment', which as far as I can gather is somewhere they go to produce green things that do not interest me and the occasional wriggling thing which upsets my stomach. So I was pleased that something useful, in the form of fresh-grown hops, justifies all the time they spend there and not at home tending to my whims and wants. The resulting beer has a round, malty body with that pleasant catch of bitterness in the back of the throat, but these inevitably play second fiddle to the symphony of resinous, herbal and deliciously zingy hop flavours which sing on the palate. Bravissimo!
I'm a big fan of hops so this one is just about as far up my alley as you can get, and if you've ever seen me having a wash, you'll know that's quite a long way! This looks like a best bitter, with that rich brown colour, but the taste is hops hops hops hops hops and hops! It's got a strong bitterness, but aside form that you can really taste all the fresh, flowery, tangy deliciousness of the buds coming straight off the hop plant. It's just a shame that they can only make this once a year, because I don't want to drink anything else!
Last Mango in Paris: A light, Dry Ale with Mango Pulp
When I saw the humans making this beer, I assumed that they had come up with the groanworthy pun of a name before considering an actual recipe. Who, I asked myself (for alas, the lack of discerning company in my domicile leaves me with nobody else to consult) puts mango in beer? Well, I am a cat of integrity as well as taste, so on this one occasion I am bound to admit that I was in error. To my surprise, the humans produced a golden ale, light on the bitterness but well aroma-hopped, and with the flavours of the new-world hops deliciously complemented by the fruity tang of mango. The effect is subtle, but certainly pleasing. Maybe these ape creatures are not quite as cretinous as they appear.
I like fruity beers and I love golden ales, so this is certainly a beer for me. Still, I would have liked to have tasted more of the mango in this one. It's not very different from a regular golden ale, with not much malt taste, but light and refreshing and with lots of hops. I can taste the mango, and it brings out some of the flavours nicely, but I wouldn't call this a fruity beer really. Still, it's a good easy-drinking beer and I really like it!
Fem-Ale no.2: A golden ale with a strong coffee aroma and a sweet vanilla finish.
To my mind, and it is a rather brilliant mind though I say so myself, this is a lovely drink, but I am hard-pressed to call it beer. Certainly, it has a good, rounded malty body flavour, but the hops are barely detectable at all. Instead, the bald apes have used vanilla and espresso to make a quite different flavour profile to anything I have tasted before in a beer. Hardly what one expects to find in a pint glass, but the surprise turns out to be a pleasant one.
Cats don't often get to drink coffee, but I do enjoy a cappuccino when one of the big people puts one down and leaves the room. This beer is a bit like that; slightly sweet with lots of coffee and creamy vanilla flavours. It's not like a normal beer at all but it's a very easy to drink and the coffee in it meant I could stay up for nearly an hour without napping, which is a personal record.
Citra: A twist on a classic golden ale, made exclusively with citra hops and fresh root ginger.
Well, this beer is certainly full of flavour. The citra hops provide an aromatic, lemon-tinged sharpness, which balances the spicy-sweet kick of ginger. The hops have been used sparingly for bittering but concentrated at the end of the boil, so it lacks that catch of bitterness on the back of one's throat, but is full of fresh, floral tastes. I heard the humans say it's based on a non-alcoholic cocktail, but that can't be right, surely that's an oxymoron.
I love a nice hoppy golden ale and this beer has everything I like in one of those, plus ginger. Which I also love! It has just enough of the ginger to give a little tingle in the mouth, but not so much that you can't taste the lovely citra hops. I couldn't be happier unless the big people filled it with catnip and mouse-parts!
Fem-Ale no.1: A light refreshing breakfast ale with grapefruit and vanilla.
This seems to be the shambling apes new twist on the classic IPA. I will not comment on how feminine or otherwise it might be as, having had my balls cut off at an early age, I rarely concern myself with issues of gender. I can say, however, that this is an inspired combination of flavours. The grapefruit adds a dry, sharp overtone to the hops, whilst the vanilla sweetly leavens the bitterness to make for a satisfyingly complex but easy-drinking beer.
Yum! This is a lovely. It's nice and hoppy but mellow and just a little bit fruity. It's got lots of flavours in it and it's tremendously refreshing without being too bitter. A nice cold one of these be just the thing for a long afternoon on a hot windowsill.
The Alliterator: A limeflower and lemongrass lager.
As a true connoisseur, I am reluctant to imperil my exquisite palate by drinking lager. But the bald apes seem to have made another pilsner, so to give this beer a fair review I saved some of it to give to my niece to try. Phyllis is of a different character to myself, you understand; more inclined to select her preferred beverage by the colourful labels on the bottle rather than being versed in the quality of the brew within. But whatever her flaws she is more versed than I in the ways of the yellow and fizzy. I present her response below:
"Thx frnky m8, wkd drink. omg got propr munted but t8sed well gd. Lik ti fd innit. Betr thn Bacardi lolz :)"
There it is. I weep for the youth of today.
I was looking forward to another lager and the humans kept us in suspense for ages when they were making it but it is not like I expected at all, really. I mean, it tastes like lager, but weird. The lemongrass is very strong but it is quite nice really once you get used to it.
Space Hopper: A traditional pale ale with Simcoe hops.
To my, not inconsiderable, mind, this tipple is superior to the shambling bipeds first go at an IPA. Their decision to aroma-hop using the Citra flowers has proved to be a laudable one. The result is a well-balanced beer with that pleasant catch of bitterness in the back of the throat offset by the rounded malt tones and just a little citrus twang in the aftertaste. Bravo.
Oh, Frankie is right, this is just yummy. It is very refreshing and easy to drink, just the thing after a hard day of sleeping and scratching. It is nice when our humans decide to jut make a normal beer for a change. My only problems is that they only made it a little bit fizzy so there was not nearly enough of this one on the floor.