Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Yorkshire Ales Part 2 - Axholme Brewing Company

The second brewery to be reviewed from my big box of Yorkshire Ales is actually from Lincolnshire.  Axholme Brewing Company began brewing in 2012 with a small 2.5 barrel plant so this operation is very much in its infancy.  The name comes from an area known as the Isle of Axholme which straddles the Lincolnshire / Nottinghamshire border between the towns of Doncaster, Scunthorpe and Gainsborough.  

Last week Revolutions Brewing Company were the first brewery to be reviewed and they came up with a score of 28 from a possible 40.  If you failed to see the start of my little competition between the brewers of Yorkshire then you can catch up here.  Let's get supping to see if Axholme can beat that total.
Clearwater Pale Ale (4.3% ABV)

This pale beer was probably a bit too restrained for my liking.  There was a citrussy floral hoppiness to it with hints of lemon and elderflower above anything else but it was far from overpowering.  It was very crisp and refreshing though with a little bit of grapefruit cropping up in the finish and it would make for an excellent session ale.  It is certainly a decent enough beer but my wife found a bit bland and it was one which did not excite me too much either.  This scored a very solid 6/10. 

Pumpkin Porter (4.3% ABV)

My wife was looking forward to this one after I had poured it but the aroma was certainly more smoky than both of us expected.  There was plenty of roasted malt here but this was added to an underlying bitterness that was actually quite smooth and very pleasant.  My wife did not go overboard about it but she said it was OK.  There was no sweetness to it at all really which is what I was expecting for some reason but it didn't take me long to adjust to what is actually a very smooth porter with lots of lovely coffee bitterness which lingered well into the finish.  I liked this one very much and I scored it 8/10.    

Special Reserve (7.2% ABV)

This high ABV beer looks very inviting.  I wasn't too sure about the aroma.  It gave the impression of sweet oranges and I was thinking it may be a little too sweet and sickly perhaps.  My wife took first sip and was loathe to give it back to me.  This was definitely to her liking and she would have happily finished it off.  I didn't give her the chance of course.  It was a little sweet but it struck just the right balance between sweet and bitter.  It tastes very strong for sure and you know you need to treat it with care.  It is one to enjoy at a more leisurely pace and that is exactly what I did.  Definitely oranges in the taste along with apricot and peach but there was quite a bitter tang in there which was quite complex and lasting into the finish.  This beer would be perfect at Christmas.  One to leave out for Santa to enjoy and he would certainly remember his visit.  I was finding it hard to decide whether to award this beer a 7 or an 8 but as my wife loved it so much I gave it the higher mark so it's an 8/10.

Branding is a difficult one to judge and it is all down to my personal taste of course.  The website certainly has an amateur look to it which did not impress me at all but although the labelling is simple I do like them in the same way I like the brown paper labels from Kernel.  A clear easy-to-read font in black on a white background actually stands out well and they would be easy to spot on the shelves of your local bottle shop.  Overall I would award them 6/10 for the branding.  

In round two of this 'Come Drink With Me' competition we have a tie with Axholme also posting a score of 28.  The beers scored higher and my wife certainly enjoyed the Axholme beers considerably more than those from Revolution but the branding let them down.  In the event of a tie though the beer scores take precedence so Axholme take the lead.

Leaderboard after round 2 with the beer scores in brackets

1.  Axholme Brewing Company 28 (22)
2.  Revolutions Brewing Company 28 (20) 

Next week we have Geeves Brewery stepping up to the plate.  


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