If you know me or of me, you will know I like beer. Over the last few years I have been collecting photos of every new beer I have.
I now have over 2,000 individual beers photographed and have realised that many beers that I assumed I have photos of, I haven't.

This blog will be therefore be an account of my quest for new beers to photo and how I enjoyed them (or not).
My email is ralphgant@sky.com.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Beer Posters

I once did a picture of several of my beer photos to make a collage, several people commented that it looked like a poster and that I should make some and sell them.  I never did but now I have been thinking that it might not be such a bad idea.  So I would like to ask, do you think anyone would buy them? This is the picture I did at the time.

Beer Cans

It was made up of beer cans but they could be many different versions of it, bottles, beers by country, different styles of beer, etc.  Like this one of Beer Pumps/Taps.

Beer Pumps/Taps, poster example

I would be grateful for for your thoughts, either comment on here or email me at, ralph-dot@live.com

Monday, 10 December 2012

Christmas beer so far this year

I have only had three Christmas beers so far this year and I am not sure I really liked any of them, but it is still early. I am hopeful I will find some good ones when I am in York next week.

Shepherd Neame, Christmas Ale from England

7.0%, amber with a good head, chocolate hop aroma, the taste is fruity plumb, I think it is slightly to bitter for a Christmas Ale, I usually like the Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale a lot more than this.  Having read my notes on the 2009 version, it was better as it warmed slightly, so maybe I should give it another go.

Oxfordshire Ales, Uncle Scrooge from England

4.5% amber colour with a thin head, malt aroma, bitter caramel taste, not bad at all, but nothing different from any other bitter.

Arcobräu, Winterbier from Germany

5.5% gold colour with a good head, not much aroma, sweet and fizzy not very wintry at all, I think a winter beer should be warming this wasn't.  I did try another bottle and it was just the same, shame as their wheat beer is very nice.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

My Top Ten German Beers

As with my other Top Ten's, I have had quite a few beers in and from Germany but not enough to make a definitive top ten list of German beers (I have said the same for each Top Ten).   However what I can do, is make a list of those German beers I really like and actively seek out to drink whenever I get half a chance.

Pilsners are very popular in Germany and many people world wide would drink nothing less but I am not a fan of that style, so my Top Ten will not include any or will it?  After all it is My Top Ten German Beers and not the definitive ten best beers in Germany as voted by the public.  I have just had a sneaky looks at my choice of beers and maybe it should just be my top ten wheat beers.

A quick note on the "German Beer Purity Law", many people quote this law but is doesn't really exist, well not in the way it is quoted anyway.  As the law is often quoted, German beer should only be made from Water, Barley and Hops, well my favourite German beers are mainly wheat beers and wheat is not one of the ingredients allowed in that version.   For more info see the Wikipedia page on the Reinheitsgebot.

Remember, this is my list, my top ten, my personal opinion, so please do not get upset if you favourite German beer is not included.   In fact I wonder if I will include anything but wheat beer in this list.

As usual I do not know where to start but my other main blog is Low Budget Motorhoming, so why not start with a very low budget beer.

Grafenwalder, Hefe Weissbier

5.0% cloudy gold with a thin head, normal weissbier aroma, taste is bitter citrus but slightly lacking in body although still very nice. I have had it in a recyclable Plastic bottle and it was still good and it is also very cheap as well.

I have read reviews that put this beer down just because it is cheap, well it is a lot better than many expensive beers.

Usually buy this beer in Lidl, it was available in the UK but not seen it for a couple of years now, last had it from Lidl in Holland in May 2012 (lots of it). 

Erdinger, Weißbier

5.3% cloudy gold colour with a thin head, good yeasty wheat beer aroma and taste is yeast, banana and some citrus, one of my all-time favourites, it is gorgeous.

Erdinger gets its name from the town where it is brewed, Erding in in Bavaria and is the world's largest wheat beer brewery.

Franziskaner, Hefe-Weissbier

5.0% cloudy cold colour with a good but fading head, banana aroma, slightly dry yeasty banana taste, so smells like and tastes like a good German Hefe Weissbier, if it didn't I would let you know, this is another good one. Brewed in Munich.

Krombacher, Krombacher Dark

4.3% black colour with a thin head, roast malt aroma, raisin and roasted malt taste. The first one that is not a wheat beer but a Schwarzbier, Schwarzbier or "black beer", is a German dark lager beer.

Krombacher Brauerei is one of the largest privately owned breweries in Germany and ranks number two among Germany's best selling breweries.

Licher, Weizen

5.4% cloudy yellow with a good but fading head, yeast and light banana aroma, banana and and some citrus flavor with wheat and yeast taste.

The commercial description says, it was launched after trial runs at the Bitburger parent companies micro brewinstallation and I for one am glad they did.

Weihenstephan, Kristall Weissbier

5.4% pale golden colour with a thin head, sweet aroma, usual nice banana wheat beer taste, good.

The Hefe or cloudy version is much the same and is also very good indeed, as are the Kristall versions of some of the other wheat beers I have noted here. Only I do not have the photos of them or I would have included them with the hefe versions, this it something I plan to put right as soon as I possibly can.

Maisel's, Weisse Original

5.4%, hazy yellow with a thin head, banana, yeast, citrus and slightly tart, another very good wheat beer, will get it again.

Brewed in Bayreuth in Northern Bavaria.

Paulaner, Hefe-Weißbier

5.6% hazy gold colour with a nice head, yest and banana aroma and taste, it is all that a good wheat beer should be.

The brewery, established in the early 17th century in Munich by the Minim friars of the Neudeck ob der Au cloister. The mendicant order and the brewery are named after Francis of Paola, the founder of the order.

Paulaner ranks number 8 among Germany's best selling breweries.

Schneider, Schneider Weisse Tap 5 Meine Hopfen-Weisse

Schneider, Schneider Weisse Tap 5 Meine Hopfen-Weisse, Germany Schneider, Schneider Weisse Tap 5 Meine Hopfen-Weisse, Germany

8.3% hazy orange colour with a good head, banana yeast aroma, fruity yeasty taste, a stronger than usual wheat beer and very nice. I also love the 5.4% Schneider, TAP7 Unser Original, very much.

After the Schneider breweries in Munich were destroyed in 1944, production was relocated to Kelheim.

Warsteiner, Premium Verum

4.8% pale yellow with a thin head, sweet hops aroma, sweet malt with bitter hop taste and slightly nutty, not too bad for a pilsner.  Who said that?  It wasn't me, was it?

Warsteiner beer is brewed in the Arnsberg Forest Nature Park outside of Warstein, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany.

Warsteiner ranks number 4 among Germany's best selling breweries.

Lastly the top selling beer in Germany, Krombacher may only rank number two among Germany's best selling breweries but Krombacher Pils is the number one best seller.  Not included in My Top Ten but I wouldn't turn it down, in fact there are not many beers I would turn down.

4.8% gold colour with a thin head, sweet malt aroma, bitter sweet pils taste. As I said at the beginning, I am not a fan of Pilsners.

Some of my other Top Tens

My Top Ten French Beers

Another Ten French Beers

My Top Ten English Beers

My Top Ten Belgian Beers

My Top Ten Dutch Beers 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Contrasts this weekend

This weekend I had three beers that although they looked similar, they were all very different. The fact is, I had a few more that three but the others were all old favourites and mentioned on here many times before.

First we had KEO, KEO from Cyprus

KEO, KEO, Cyprus KEO, KEO, Cyprus

4.5% pale yellow colour with a thin head, low in aroma, sweet malt taste.  Very ordinary lager but I do like that Cyprus is making its own beer and not just importing it from outside also I would drink it on holiday there.

Robinsons, Dizzy Blonde from England

Robinsons, Dizzy Blonde, England Robinsons, Dizzy Blonde, England

3.8% gold colour with a thin head, hop aroma, slightly sweet citrus hop taste.  A nice refreshing session beer, unfortunately I only had the one.

Greene King, IPA Gold from England

Greene King, IPA Gold, England Greene King, IPA Gold, England

4.1% gold colour with a thin head, citrus hop aroma, smooth and mild citrus hop taste.  Although is sounds very similar to the previous beer it was on fact quite different and very smooth.

Friday, 2 November 2012

My Top Ten Belgian Beers

Well here it is, I decided to have a go at, My Top Ten Belgian Beers.

I have had quite a few beers from Belgium but not enough to make a definitive top ten list of Belgian beers.  However what I can do is, make a list of those Belgian beers I really like and actively seek out to drink whenever I get half a chance.

As you know my descriptive talent for taste is practically none existent and that is why these blogs rely so much on photographs. But I am going to make an extra effort to try and say what it is that I like so much about the following beers.

Remember, this is my list, my top ten, my personal opinion, so please do not get upset if you favourite Belgian beer is not included.

Where to start? Well the Belgian beer I drink on the most regular basis is:-

Leffe, Blond from Belgium

6.6% deep gold colour with a thin head, sweet malt and bubblegum aroma, sweet strong bubbly malt taste and a slightly bitter aftertaste.  I love it and it is always a pleasure to have one, especially after a particularly bad beer tasting.  The label has changed over the years but I still prefer the old one.

Besides Stella Artois, Leffe is probably the next best known Belgian beer outside Belgium, strangely all Leffe brands are now brewed at the Stella Artois brewery in Leuven.  There are many other Leffe beers besides the blonde, I have blogged about them before, see here.

Van Steenberge, Gulden Draak

10.5% very dark red in colour with a thin head, lot of fruit in the aroma and the taste is very complex, it was like eating a quarter pound of Midget Gems in one go (this is a UK thing I think), Lyons Midget Gems that is, not Maynards and it is strong, a new favourite for me.  Gulden Draak is a beer for savouring, not a session beer.

Brouwerij Van Steenberge brewery is in Ertvelde, East Flanders. The beer is named after the golden dragon at the top of the belfry in Ghent.

Grimbergen, Blond

6.7%, golden colour with a thin head, sweet fruity aroma and fruity yeasty malty taste, a really nice abbey beer. Grimbergen is made by the large Alken Maes brewery for a Norbertine abbey. For me this beer is a close second to Leffe, probably because it is not always as readily available.

Another one were the label has changed over the years and again I prefer the old one.  As with the Leffe, there are many other Grimbergen beers besides the blonde. I have blogged about them before, see here.

John Martin, Gordon Xmas

8.8% deep ruby red with a very thin head, roasted malt and port aroma, complex taste of roast malt, toffee, coffee, almost sweet sherry, very festive, like a Christmas party in your mouth. Absolutely loved it, the commercial description says "Created in the thirties, Gordon Xmas initiated the tradition of Christmas brews" I wish they were all this good.

But remember, just because I thought it was fantastic doesn't mean everyone will like it but in my opinion, if you are going to try a Xmas beer it should be different from the norm and taste festive.

Brouwerij Moortgat, Duvel

Brouwerij Moortgat, Duvel, Belgium

8.5% bubbly gold with a very good head, aroma is sweet and complicated, the taste is sweet malt with some citrus and bitter, very, very, good, it's a bit lively though sometimes, so have a glass ready.  Duvel is another of the beers widely available around the word and therefore, I can get this one whenever I want. .

Brouwerij Moortgat, is a Flemish family controlled brewery founded in 1871, Duvel is Brabantian, Ghent and Antwerp dialect for devil, the standard Dutch word being duivel.

Affligem, Blond, Belgium

Week 49-52, Affligem, Blond, Belgium

6.8% abbey blond, gold colour with a good head, hop aroma, although the commercial description says "low on bitterness" I found it to be bitter with a hoppy taste, not complaining though, I still thought it was very good.

Affligem is a classic abbey beer that was originally brewed by the Benedictine Abbey of Affligem. Since 1970, the beer has been brewery by the De Smedt brewery in Opwijk.

Alken-Maes, Brugs Biere Blanche

4.8% pale cloudy yellow colour with a thin but lasting head, slight citrus aroma and yeasty citrus taste, good refreshing white beer.  Also known as Brugs Tarwebier, as it derives its name from the Flemish "Brugs Tarwebier" which means "Blanche de Bruges", produced at the Alken-Maes brewery.

I struggled between Brugs and Hoegaarden Witbier, even though the Hoegaarden has greater availability and I really like it, I do prefer Brugs when I can get hold of it.

Van Honsebrouck, Kasteel Triple

Van Honsebrouck, Kasteel Triple, Belgium

11% gold colour with a good head, the aroma is sweet alcohol and fruitcake, taste is sweet fruits, I like this beer very much but only drink it occasionally, it is a bit too strong for everyday use.

They also brew a Donker and a Rouge, as well as some other very famous beers, maybe I will pick one of them next time.

The family Van Honsebrouck, own the castle on the label, Ingelmunster Castle, the brewery is also in the town of Ingelmunster.

Bosteels, Kwak

8.0% deep amber colour with a good head, fruity malt aroma, slightly sweet fruity caramel taste.
I don't think I can beat the Commercial Description though, "Full-bodied Belgian Specialty Ale. Amber in color with beautiful foam and slightly sweet, seductive malt character. Rich, satisfying Belgian experience."

The brewery was founded in 1791 and is still owned and operated by the same family, now its seventh generation. Bosteels Brewery is in Buggenhout, the beer is reputedly named after an 18th century innkeeper and brewer, Pauwel Kwak.

Palm, Brugge Triple

8.2% gold colour with a thin head, fruity malt aroma, sweet malty taste, very good beer.

Bruges Tripel was brewed by the De Gouden Boom brewery in Bruges but since the acquisition of the brewery by Palm, it is now brewed at one of their breweries.

Some of the brewers above belong to the Belgian Family Brewers.

Belgian Family Brewers

The members of the non-profit organization Belgian Family Brewers are Belgian breweries that have been brewing beer continuously for at least 50 years in Belgium. Together they represent 15% of the Belgian beer brewers, with a total of 1500 years of experience in brewing beer the traditional way. Currently 20 breweries are members.

The non-profit organization promotes the historical and independent family breweries, which truly provide added value to the identity and authenticity of the essence of Belgian beer brewing. It is a noble goal, because beer brewing has been passed on from generation to generation for centuries. That is why the authentic Belgian beers deserve a recognition that distinguishes them from other beers.

Lastly the top selling beer in Belgium it not Stella Artois which is by far the largest selling Belgian beer around the world but Jupiler.   Neither are included in My Top Ten but both are beers I wouldn't turn down, in fact there are not many beers I would turn down.

5.2% gold colour with a thin head, sweet malt aroma slightly bitter malt taste, actually better than I make it sound.

Well I could very easily do a second Ten Belgian Beers, and may do one day, depends what the reaction is to this one though.

Photos of my Belgian Beer Collection 

Some of my other Top Tens

My Top Ten French Beers

Another Ten French Beers

My Top Ten German Beers

My Top Ten English Beers

My Top Ten Dutch Beers