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This blog is the second on Batemans beers. There is a great write-up on their beers and the history of the brewery by Jon, which you can find HERE. It’s certainly worth a read. I will be tasting the new Bohemian Range, and also a couple of their specialist bottled beers that are worth a mention.
One thing to point out, the caps for these beers name them as the ‘Sovereign Range’ yet on their website they are the ‘Bohemian Range’. Oversight, or marketing mistake? Who knows.
Now we do love Bateman beers, which are very good, so this blog may be slightly controversial, as this first part I’m writing before the tasting.
They have brought out a range of Bohemian Craft Beers. Orange Barley, Hazelnut Brownie, Mocha, and Mocha Amaretto. Mocha being their award-winning coffee and chocolate beer found in Sainsburys, re-branded into this range.
So they are all sold in smaller 33oml bottles, all 6.0% or over, and have had a marketing brand change away from their usual look, and gone for a more ‘craft’ beer look. This causes massive alarm bells to start ringing for me, it looks like another large brewery has jumped into the craft beer scene with both feet to get a bit of profit. Nothing wrong with that, as long as they do it right. From first appearances, it seems that they are following other bigger guys ideas. Bring out some wacky and fancy flavours, make them slightly stronger, and re-brand them with a quirky new look and slap ‘craft’ somewhere on the label.
Luckily, Batemans have some fantastic brews to back these up, so it will all be down to taste. I personally would much rather see these bigger breweries concentrate on making their core beers fantastic, and now and again bring out a wacky outrageous beer to see if it works. Not jump on whatever is ‘trendy’ at the time. However, it’s all business, and they’re going to go with whatever they see the biggest profit in, which you can’t grumble at, ONLY if the beers are up to scratch. So I shall take a short break and finish this when I have tasted them!
Mocha 6.0% – Now, I didn’t have the small 330ml of this beer, but it is the same beer so I’m told. The aroma is of strong coffee and slight chocolate. I rather like it, its dark, chocolatey, with a good hint of coffee coming through. If you like coffee and chocolate beers, this is great. It’s not overly chocolate, but there’s certainly enough to coat the mouth, and then a lovely hit of coffee comes through. Full bodied, and very drinkable, especially cold out of the fridge.
Mocha Amaretto 6.5% – I had high hopes since I liked the Mocha so much! It has the same chocolate and coffee nose, with a distinct hint of amaretto. I do enjoy a nice amaretto, so so far so good. The first sip certainly had a very strong amaretto almondy flavour, and didn’t work for me. It has less body, and the carbonation isn’t as smooth as the Mocha, and it has no head retention. It’s slightly stronger too, which makes me think. Do they just add amaretto to the Mocha to make this beer? Uunfortunately, in this case, more flavours is not better. It’s not great, and any more than 330ml I would struggle to drink.
Hazelnut Brownie 6.3% – The first aroma from this was nothing I’ve smelt in a beer before, it was sweet and very nutty! It follows with a very nutty flavour, and is very sweet. The first sip is fantastic, but the more I drink the more sweet it becomes, until it becomes a little too much. I prefer it over the amaretto, however it has a slight ‘fake’ flavour taste. I’m starting to ponder the use of flavoured syrups added, for the sweetness and intense nutty flavour. I could have cause be very wrong. Would like to be corrected! It’s not a bad beer at all, more body than the last, but again not much head and that didn’t stick around.
Orange Barley 6.2% – This pours a lovely orange colour. It has again, a nice full aroma, of zesty oranges. It is much more drinkable than the last two. It is still however, rather sweet! It has zesty orange taste, but again it tasted ‘fake’. More and more I think the flavours are added after fermentation, to a standard beer. The description says cane sugar is added, so this confirms it is sweetened once the yeast has been removed. Again, not a bad beer, but not something to shout about. Easier to drink to the end, but again it seems thin with harsh carbonation.
Now, I personally am very disappointed. It seems, with exception to the Mocha, that they have brewed standard beers, then just flavoured them at bottling. The flavours are very strong, taste artificial, and so overly sweet. The Orange Barley is the only one that’s near balanced with some bitterness to go against the sweetness, but it still feels someone stirred a spoonful of sugar in my glass! I am very disappointed as Batemans usually produce such good quality beers.
Ok, like I mentioned earlier I also tried a couple of their speciality bottles they had on offer. The English B Bock, and Black Pepper Ale.
English B Bock 6.0% – This is a top fermented Bavarian style beer. Poured a lovely dark colour, and fantastic malty aroma. It was strong, malty, and full-bodied, an excellent tasting beer. Not too malty, with a good hop finish coming through, just enough, and lingering flavours of dark fruits and raisins. Proof of Batemans ability to make a great beer.
Black Pepper Ale 5.1% – This ale comes with a sachet of black pepper. I did as instructed, poured some of it in the bottom of the glass before pouring, and then sprinkled the rest on top. Something I never thought I would do with a beer. It looked, like a pale ale, with pepper on top. It smells like a nice hopped pale ale, the pepper certainly adds character! It very subtle. It’s a very drinkable tasty pale ale, good malt body with a great foamy head, and lovely spicy hop flavour. The pepper just adds one more element, and this time it works. You get a slow forming heat from it, which adds to the flavour, I wouldn’t suggest putting pepper in all beers though! Word of warning, the more you drink, the more pepper you get every sip, so it gets hotter and hotter, and gets stuck in your teeth. All in all, a wacky beer, that has worked!
So that’s the review of Batemans newer beers. Some good, some not so good. Again, these are just my opinions on these beers, Our member of Pubcask Dan loves the Hazelnut beer!