Friday, 28 March 2014

BRAND NEW BEER: Hillside Brewery

This week, the kind folk up at the brand new Hillside Brewery in Gloucester have kindly sent us (me) some beers to sample. They really are fresh out of the brewery - they only announced their first beer LAST WEEK! - but the talented team's previous credentials means they are seen as ones to watch in the brewing scene. And we're bringing it to you first...

The two beers that I will be reviewing today are Centurion & Over the Hill. So here is what I thought!

Centurion- American IPA

From those that have read my beer reviews in the past, I have not spoken particularly highly of a number of IPAs that I have reviewed. However, just from the nose of the Centurion I can tell that it is a well-crafted, trained and battle-ready beer that is certainly worth its salt.

The nose is strong with instant kicks of wheat, beautifully fresh hops and an underlying note of citrus. In the glass is it bright copper with plenty of fizz and a nice thick head. Even though I followed the note on the bottle 'pour gently' you're still getting plenty of froth. Something I like to refer to as a 'tash-tickler' with my current face fluff. So far so good.

On the palate the first thing I notice is the body and weight of this beer. There is plenty of substance which isn't particularly surprising given the strength  (7%). The second is the hops. Jam packed full of them giving it a really smooth almost savoury taste that is followed up with that tangy citrus fruit found on the nose. Sharp, bitter, dry and full. Just what you want in a hearty IPA.

The finish is long and flavoursome. Although you can taste the alcohol, the weight of flavour and mouth-feel far outweigh it which is very impressive. A real standard bearer.

Cracking drop. But more than 2 and you'd be a bit like Russell Crowe at the end of Gladiator. Pretty ****ed.

Can be purchased in Favourite Beers- Cheltenham 


Over the Hill

Now for something slightly lighter with this 'Single hopped, malty dark mild'. Now people always say you should never judge a book by its cover but this looks right up my street. Although I love big, hoppy buggers like the Centurion; smooth, dark malty hugs is what I always crave.

In the glass it is a deep, rich-looking brown with a short foam. The nose doesn't leap out of the glass, you have to search for it a bit but once you do you're welcomed in with hints of brown sugar, dark chocolaty malts, coffee beans and a touch of molasses.

The palate is smooth and rounded with just a tickle on the tongue from the light pettiance. Lightly hopped, most of the flavour is coming from the malt as you would expect. Lighter in body (3.5%) it is still flavour forward with those roasted coffee, cocoa and almost charred notes that really put a smile on my face.

Hillside are really onto something good here. Two well structured, flavour focused and enjoyable beers that really put into context how exciting craft beer and up and coming brewers in general are in this country.

It's not quite veni, vidi, vici yet but I am sure we will be hearing more from Hillside in the future.

To find out where to buy these beers first, we recommend checking out the shiny new Hillside Brewery Facebook page.

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