Sunday, April 22, 2012

Beer Review - Hornbeam Mary Rose (Bottle)

A Chestnut red bitter. It is a developmental product, no two batches have been exactly the same. We are seeking to replace Hornbeam Bitter 3.8% with a new core bitter at the same strength. The Name of the new core bitter is to be confirmed.

Hornbeam Mary Rose
Another beer sent over by a mate of mine back in the UK.

4.2% abv

This beer grew on me quickly. To begin with I thought it was rather too sharp and bitter and although the general carbonation was very gentle there was a little too much fizziness on the tongue for my liking at first. It did settle down.

BUT lovely, lovely hops on the nose. I am quickly becoming a big fan of American hops, in this case Amarillo and Cascade.

I've used Cascade in a couple of brews of All Grain Brewer's Pride taken from this book Home Brew Self Sufficiency.

The thing is I moved to France in 2005 from the UK and having only been back a handful of times, I've missed out on the re-emerging micro brewery scene and the explosion of American hopped beers creeping into the market. France is a little way behind the rest of the world when it comes to beer. I have yet to be impressed by any local brews and the shops and supermarkets are filled with an array of over carbonated, too sweet blonde piss. Amber and darker beers are a sad rarity. Not so long ago a friend told me about the wonderful new beer called Guinness and asked if I'd heard of it!!!! FFS I don't know what is taught in schools here but I'm sure the general population are somehow convinced that the rest of the world has only just come into being. "Do you have radio and FAX machines in England yet?"

The good news is, it is beginning to change and there is an awakening happening here, more and more French people are realizing beers can be more than just a fizzy, lagery glass of bubbles and sugar and so it is quite an exciting time to be brewing here. Shops and bars are springing up that trade exclusively in good beers either from craft breweries around France - there's a growing home brew community - and Belgian, German and even, Dieu forbid, English beers - although not enough of the latter yet. Like their wine, American beers do not appear to exist here other than the occasional Budweiser.

Also, and this is criminal, hand pulled real ale doesn't seem to exist here either. From what I've seen, even in the micro breweries that have a bar built on, it's all force carbonated, keg beer. GAS, GAS, GAS, SUGAR, hint of malt or hops, GAS!!! Oh yes, and always served way too cold!

Back on topic. The fruitiness on the nose increases as the beer rests in the glass to the point that I couldn't really pick out any malt aromas, plenty in the flavour don't get me wrong but the hop aroma took centre stage and it was a bloody good hop aroma. Grapefruit, citrus. The label mentions tangerines which I couldn't pick out, but then again I'm no pro.

Nice reddy amber colour and clarity - even when I did manage to allow a little of the yeast into the glass.

Note, the yeast is easily disturbed and rests as a few lumpy pieces on the bottle bottom.  This may be due to it having been posted here though I did give it a couple of days resting.

I'm not sure what yeast they use and their website is a little new and lacking in much info at all really, not to mention a few dead or broken links - as a freelance web designer I notice these things - so I am trying to culture some up from the recovered dregs.

So, do I like Mary Rose? Yes I do. I'd buy it, I'd be keen to try a cask version and at 4.2% I could see myself having a good session on it too. All in all, a good all-rounder but I have to say again, I'm loving the hop aromas in this one.


Kevin Rothwell said...

The hops used in Dark and Divine are Nelson Sauvin and Pacific Gem with BRX in the finish. The yeast used in all the beers is slurry from Robinsons

Steve189 said...

Thanks for that Kevin, I also reviewed a bottle of Hornbeam Dark and Devine and I did guess at Nelson Sauvin in there. I thought I was wrong so it's nice to read that they are in there. I'm looking forward to trying some more of Hornbeam's beers as I'm liking them. Are you connected with the brewery?

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