BeerCast #49 – The MrBCast

Posted by on Jun 3, 2010 in American Beer, BeerCasts, Scottish Beer | No Comments

As we rapidly approach our 50th podcast, we’ve decided to throw number 49 over to that homebrewing raconteur MrB – he was briefed to find four or five (he found five) beers that would get us talking. He’s certainly come back with an interesting selection, and we begin the MrBCast with a small-scale Scottish producer and end with an American giant. Our first beer is Ale of Atholl (4.5%) from the Moulin Inn Brewery in Pitlochry, one of the first microbreweries in Scotland. We then sample another from our home country, Larbert’s Tryst Brewery Raj IPA (5.5%), located a couple of miles from MrB’s birthplace. Our third beer is the start of the American ales – Odell’s Cutthroat Porter (4.8%), named after the state fish of Colorado. Next it’s the first canned beer to be sampled on the BeerCast – Caldera IPA (6.1%) from Ashland, Oregon. We end the podcast with a bang; Dogfish Head’s wood-aged brown ale Palo Santo Marron (12.0%). Joining MrB are Richard, Shovels and Grooben, and as Grooben says – expect “the most hoptastic, hoppiest hopcast that ever hopped”.

1. Ale of Atholl (4.5%abv)
Moulin Inn Brewery, Pitlochry, Perth and Kinross. 500ml glass bottle

The Moulin Inn dates from 1695 and was originally a coach house for services between Pitlochry and Kirkmichael. The brewery was established in 1995 and were therefore one of the first microbreweries in Scotland. Their first beers were called simply A and B, and were priced at 50p a pint in the pub. Holding a competition for more inspiring names, a local won a bottle of whisky for suggesting Ale of Atholl, a Geographic pun on the Inn’s location.

** Unfortunately the Moulin Inn’s offering may have been off – there were strange aromas and tastes coming from the bottle that didn’t really seem intentional. We carried on reviewing and scoring it, but may have to get another bottle of Ale of Atholl to get a true reflection on it’s taste. **

What They Say
“The name of this full-bodied, mellow, red-coloured ale is a pun on the Vale of Atholl, which lies close to Moulin Village.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Grooben – It doesn’t taste quite right to me 4
Richard – May be a good beer under there, too much tartness 3
MrB – This isn’t their best beer by a long shot 3
Shovels – There’s a hint of raspberries and vinegar about it 2

2. Raj IPA (5.5%abv)
Tryst Brewery, Larbert, Stirlingshire. 500ml glass bottle

Falkirk’s Tryst Brewery grew from the ashes of another producer, as the closure of Manchester’s Berkley Brewery saw their gear bought by enthusiastic homebrewer John McGarva and relocated to Scotland. He’d taken a chance when the twin co-incidences of prospective downsizing at work and part-time work in a brewpub gave him serious thoughts of a career change. Tryst began life on an industrial estate in Larbert in 2004, initially concentrating on cask ales, they now put out a range of bottle-conditioned beers.

What They Say
“This India Pale Ale marks a slight change in direction of Tryst Ales, away from low alcohol session ales to rather more substantial and serious Real Ale. This IPA is hopped with three popular British hops to produce a deep lingering taste, complementing the underlying malts for a memorable pint.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Got a fantastic tropical fruit/mango aroma
Grooben – Fruity but it packs a real bitterness though 8
MrB – It’s fruity rather than floral for an IPA 8
Shovels – Smells golden, tastes really very good indeed 8

3. Cutthroat Porter (4.8%abv)
Odell Brewing Co, Fort Collins, Colorado. 355ml glass bottle

In 1989 Doug Odell decided to take his passion for home brewing into something more commercial (like John McGarva a few years later). Together with his wife Wynne they left Seattle (where Doug had been brewing in his kitchen) and moved to Colorado to be nearer to his sister Corkie and start a brewery together. This they did in that same year, producing beer for the thirsty college town. In 1996 they acquired the facility to bottle their output, and shipped across the United States. They have a large range of English-style classics and seasonals, with a special oak-aged series running from 2007 thanks to the arrival of some Kentucky oak barrels.

What They Say
“Not quite a stout but definitely no lightweight, Cutthroat Porter is smooth and robust. Inspired by the classic London porters, we use dark roasted malts to create a deep, rich color and flavor [sic] that hint at chocolate and coffee.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – A little bit roasty, not much coffee, it’s good to see an American brewery showing some restraint
MrB – A great session porter with no Lactose sweetness
Shovels – In a porter podcast this would be right up there 7
Grooben – I’m not sold on it, it doesn’t punish the mouth, it doesn’t excite me enough 6

4. Caldera IPA (6.1%abv)
Caldera Brewing, Ashland, Oregon. 355ml aluminium can

Caldera produced their first brew on the 4th of July 1997, after having been incorporated as a company in March the previous year. For their first eight years they concentrated on draught beers until June 2005 when the question of distribution arose. Unlike Odell, Tryst and Moulin they decided to go for cans – reasons why include portability, cost, refrigeration, and the elimination of oxidation. Caldera like to use plenty of hops in their products (which is presumably what attracted MrB), taking advantage of the ideal growing conditions in the Pacific Northwest.

What They Say“An American-style India Pale Ale brewed with plenty of body and an assertive hop profile. Malts: Premium Two Row, Munich, Crystal. Hops: Crystal, Galena, Centennial.” [Official Website]

What We Say
MrB – One of the primary reasons this is so good for me is it’s 6% and almost sessiony, you could really drink a few of these 10
Shovels – On taste I prefer Ruination IPA, on drinkability I prefer this 9
Grooben – Really good, it’s got expertly balanced IPA flavours 9
Richard – Flowery and smooth with a pine aftertaste, any way you cut it this is a great beer 9

5. Pablo Santo Marron (12.0%abv)
Dogfish Head, Milton, Delaware. 355ml glass bottle

One of the pillars of the American craft brewing scene, Dogfish Head were founded by Sam Calagione in 1995 in the Delaware town of Milton. They revel in the unpredictable, producing beers with unusual ingredients – one of which was a green beer called Verdi Verdi Good – naturally coloured by blue-green algae Spirulina. Their signature line are their IPA’s – 60, 90 and 120 minute IPA, referring to the length of time hops are added to the wort. They also have a rare 75 minute IPA, which is a mix of 60 and 90 with maple syrup. We reviewed their astonishing 90min IPA here – today we’re sampling their wood-aged monster brown ale Pablo Santo Marron.

What They Say“Big Brown Ale aged on palo santo wood from Paraguay. This beer is a 12% abv, highly roasty, and malty brown ale aged on the wood of the Palo Santo tree from Paraguay. Palo Santo means “holy tree” and it’s wood has been used in South American wine-making communities. We were lucky enough to get our hands on 20 blocks of the super-dense wood and the wood was added to the ageing tank after fermentation.” [Official Website]

What We Say
MrB – It’s like a fortified beer for sipping and appreciating 7
Richard – Sweetness is more confectionary than caramel
Grooben – Got a sherry thing going on, I got a slam of alcohol at the end, but it’s just too sweet for my personal tastes 5
Shovels – I have a sweet tooth and that’s too sweet for me 4

– (clockwise from top left) Grooben, MrB, Shovels, Richard

BeerCast panel verdict
Caldera IPA (37/40)
Tryst Raj IPA (32½/40)
Odell Cutthroat Porter (28/40)
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron (22½/40)
Moulin Ale of Atholl (12/40)

  • Listen to the episode here: BeerCast #49 – The MrBCast
  • Subscribe to the podcasts in iTunes or our Site Feed
  • Next up is a true milestone as we reach BeerCast #50. Not many of us expected to still be recording beer podcasts three years after we started, but we have reached our half century. We’ll be doing something special, with some one-off celebration beers. Stay tuned, and thanks to everyone who has downloaded or followed us over the years…

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