Donnerstag, 28. Juli 2016


Imperial Black IPA
Brewed: Pinta (Poland)
Tested: bottle, July 2016

Free translation of the label: "...intensive bitterness from the Polish Magnum, and a very solid body from the German pale and roasted malts..."

I love bitter beer, so Hopus Jumbo sounds like a great option for me. In fact, it is a great beer, but not exactly what Pinta wants it to be...

Dear Pinta, I would like to ask where is the intensive bitter taste you have promised. Remember, Pinta put the "bitter part" in the first place of the beer description. Well, Hopus has 83 IBU, but it is also very, very malty (mostly chocolate and coffee) and aromatic. Bitter taste is extremely well balanced and is mostly gone. 
My description would be: an excellent, mild, well balanced beer, tasting and smelling of chocolate. Medium carbonation, leaves a decent bitter taste afterwards. 

I would dare to say that if you always wanted to try an imperial IPA and was afraid to do so, this may be the good start. Good job Pinta!

Sonntag, 24. Juli 2016

(big test of Earl Grey beers on the market).

Arcybrowar - Dark Earl Grey IPA
Revolta - Earl Grey AIPA
Olimp - Panakeja (Earl Grey IPA)

Brewed: All in Poland
Tested: bottles, 23.07.2016

Is it only my feeling, or the anno domini 2016 is the year of experiments in the polish craft? Instead of making sure that the beer you have already tested and like is accessible, anytime you want it, Polish beer crafters seems to be busy with the experimental work. Normally, I would say that there are some limits of what you can add to the beer (and to be still able to call it a beer), but the fact that 3 breweries in Poland (at least, please let me know if I miss something) have decided to add tea to the beer must mean something. 

I think that they want to solve the beer-tea dilema.

OK, I will stop the bullshit. How does this combinations taste? Specific.
If you are not a fan of Earl Grey tea, you dont even need to read further. A looooooot of Earl Grey was added here and you will not like it at all. Otherwise you are good to go.

First is the Dark Earl Grey IPA brewed by Arcybrowar. The Force (Earl Grey) is rather strong in this one. The amount of bergamotte added is solid and its strong in taste and aroma. However, still there are some citrus and possibly cardamon. The bergamotte is very well ballanced by some malt aroma and hops. Rather bitter combination and low carbonated. All together very good beer. Ex aequo place 1.

What about the AIPA? Things are getting interesting here - Revolta brewed a beer rather amber in colour (I suspect more bergamotte oil and less tea as such). This or that way, there is a clearly citrus aroma here and a lot of cardammon. Medium carbonation and solid but not overwhelming hopping are doing the job. In fact, its much more close to what I have expected to be a beer with earl grey flavout than the other competitors here. Really good beer. Ex aequo place 1.

Olimp Panakeja was a surprise (it was so surprising that I had two bottles, on two different days, from two different shops, just to see if I was right). And not a good one. Whereas two other beers in the test were clearly beers with earl grey. Panakeja is for me earl grey tee with hops. Concentrated tee is rather bitter + high hopping = really heavy piece of crafted ...tea. Bergamote and bitter aromas are really killing this one. All together not a beer I would ever taste again.

Donnerstag, 21. Juli 2016


Style: Belgian IPA
Brewed: Brussels Beer Project
Tested: bottle, July 2016

Belgium is the beer centre of the world (some people really believe this), but the small dirty little secret of Belgian brewers is that they have serious problems with interpretation of the new world beers - IPAs, stouts etc...

On average, 90%+ of Belgian efforts to produce drinkable IPA is a failure. Therefore, local brewers have invented the new style. Belgian IPA. Its like IPA, but has much more CO2, and lets not forget to kill all the hops with a lot of yeast aroma. Delta is exactly like that - loooooot of foam (see picture), hardly bitter in taste. If I would not read the label, I would say that its another Belgian Ale, but would never come to the idea of calling it IPA.

Final verdict depends on your preferences - do you like Belgian Ales? Well, it is another pretty nice one for you. Do you like IPA? Stay away from Delta.

Mittwoch, 20. Juli 2016


Style: Smoked Chili IPA
Brewed: Browar Kraftwerk, Poland
Tested: bottle, July 2017

I will be honest  - I do not really like “smoked” beers. But I like chili. So it is getting complicated – would the smoke kill chili, or would chili kill the smoke.

After trying Citrinitas, the answer happened to be not so simple. First of all  -the beer has really beautiful color. Dark red is rather unusual and pleasant to see. Low carbonation is sufficient to produce nice head. On the firs view its not heavy smoked, smells bit of it, but also pepper and mango. After tasting – one thing is clear – smoke has killed the chili. No matter how I try, I cannot detect neither chili aroma nor its taste. It’s a bit disappointing. But the real surprise comes from the hops – they in fact have overwhelmed the smoke, or at least made it more balanced. This could be the best “smoked” beer I have ever had.

I would dare to suggest it as a start point for anybody wanting to try smoked beers. Just close your eyes a bit for the lack of chili, and you get a great (decently) smoked IPA worth trying.


Style: Cherry russian imperial stout
Brewed: Browar Spółdzielczy, Puck, Poland
Tested: 13 July 2016

Short comment - Browar Spoldzielczy is the first brewery in Poland that has only handicapped people in their crew (one of the few in the world). Therefore - big respect Guys.

OK, so far so good, but how is the beer. The guys from the brewery say on the label (+ for honesty) that the beer is gone wild when they have added cherries. They are wrong. That beer has become evil. I swear that it was laughing when I was drinking it, and it was certainly laughing for the next two day when I was suffering from acidosis. Next time, please check if the cherries were from Chernobyl or Fukushima. Summa summarum - overwhelming sour cherry taste and aroma. Taste of Stout is killed; any other taste is killed in fact.
Sorry. Unless you have stomach made out of concrete, stay away from it...

On the bright side – these Guys are not shy of experiments. I will try more of their productions in the close future.

Dienstag, 19. Juli 2016

Pliny the Eldest

Werk testing special.
Style: double IPA
Brewed: Me with freindly support of my Family
Tested: 10 July 2016

Just a disclaimer, the beer will need still 2-3 weeks to stay in the bottle, to get to its final shape. But testing it now already gives an idea about the future product (and tells me, whether I have produced a beer or got a contamination). So lets go...

1. Pouring from one tank to the other to reduce the debris


2. A little shy before trying. OK, I seriously expect a lot. Would it match? Would it be good? Does it taste like beer?...

3. And the face after the firs sip...

...not yet sure...

...getting better...

...happines increase...

...YES... is very satisfying moment. The beer is still fresh and you can feel it still requires some maturation. But its already very aromatic, fruits, pine and you can clearly feel that it is bitter. On top carbonation is quite low. So all together it is very well done beer...

...OK, stop...

..I LOVE IT...

...I really do...

...I did it (so happy I could start crying)...

Montag, 18. Juli 2016


(visit at Toronado in San Francisco)

Finally, years of planning, hoping, begging and I am going to San Francisco. As the original song says “If you are going to San Francisco be sure to pour some Pliny in your throat”
Well, maybe not exactly the words.
Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger Were Roman philosophers and writers. But in the world of craft brewing these are the names of the world famous IPAs produced by the Russian River Brewery in the San Francisco Area.
If I understand it correctly – Pliny the younger is only available at the brewery local pub, whereas the Elder can be bought in the SF area. Arriving to San Francisco, I was all ready and have prepared with the list of local booze stores that were supposed to sell Russian River Beers. Whenever I could I got to the first one – and, it was like slap in the face “Pal, forget it, we only get few bottles and they are booked in a big advance…”

BANG, and my world crushed in pieces…

“…but there is this multitap called Toronado here in San Francisco, and I am sure they have it from the tap!”
Hell...YEAH. Big thanks to the sales person from K&L Wine Merchants. You really made my day (same guy, have offered me some great Belgian beers they have in stock, which was funny – I just arrived there from Brussels).
Quick check online, and I have found that Toronado may be an interesting place to be. They are a kind of famous for their amount of the beers and a kind of a meeting point for beer geeks. One unfortunate thing – it’s quite far from the centre of the town, but a quick cab ithe evening will do.
From this point I wanted to send my warm greetings to the taxi driver who brought me there. I hope that you have enjoyed the Jackie Chan action movie, you have watched instead of checking the road in front of you…

It was rather late evening/night and I have to admit that Toronado is not exactly in the tourist district. Therefore, I have tried to keep my camera visibility as low as possible. Still, there are some photos to see.

First impression – you have probably watched dozens of American movies, with a tourist coming in the local bar? Yeap, that was it. Bouncing door, rather dark inside. No smoke, but all together the atmosphere was not the most inviting one, I would say. Overall, it probably also didn’t help that the person sitting at the bar next to me was literally staring at me all the time. A yes, and don’t ever go to the toilet there. Gosh…

Still – one striking thing – their collection of the beers – its freaking awesome. Respect guys. Next time I will make sure to come with some support do not feel so lonely, because I have rarely seen so many beers at the same place.

What’s more important they had Pliny the Elder. From the moment on nothing was important (ok, the guy staring at me was kind of disturbing a little). For the ones that don’t know it – Pliny the Elder is an imperial (double) IPA that is (probably) the most awarded beer in America. Just recently it was voted the best beer in America for the 8th consecutive year. I know that their succes is probably a mix of an excellent beer and a marketing strategy based on limited production**, but one thing is undeniable – it’s really great.
First surprise was actually not positive. They serve it in a typical American Shaker glass. I personally dislike them, they may be nice to drink some Bud or Bud light, but drinking the piece of art like Pliny should be considered as a crime. Another surprise was that Pliny is a golden coloured beer, I was somehow expecting a little darker, amber colour. What is really special is the aroma – pine, citrus, hops all mixed together. No doubts that the IBU value is through the roof, but its overall well balanced with the slight malts. All together I have to admit that it was probably the best balanced IPA I have ever had, and for an IPA of this strength, it is a serious achievement. All together – it certainly matched all the expectations.

Thanks Toronado, Thanks Russian River, and big thanks for the sales person at K&L Wine Merchants for giving me a hint! 

** Same way Westvleteren was made the best beer in the world.

Freitag, 15. Juli 2016


Style: Belgian Ale
Brewed: Doctor Brew feat.Simon Martin (Poland)
Tested: bottles, earlier this year

I am surprised by the overall relatively negative reviews this beer has received on the web. People claim that Anabelle is rather cloggy, some complain about the high content of CO2, strong yeast taste overcoming the rest of the aromas, hops almost not detectable (apparently Anabelle has 100 IBU). On top that beer has a high foam and aroma of citrus and cloves. All together, majority of people claim that Anabelle is average to weird.

LOL (experts...)

All above is the typical description that I could give to any properly made Belgian Ale. Anabelle is absolutely true to the style. Alcoholic, CO2-heavy, sweet yeast in taste – BELGIAN ALE! And it’s a good one. How do I know (especially that I do not like Belgian Ales)? I have tested Anabelle on Belgians…and they love it. Really, no joke. Anabelle was a surprise of the day on our monthly beer tasting and before showing the bottle nobody believed that this beer could come from Poland.

The whole story just shows that its hard to be a prophet in your own country. Good job Doctor Brew.