The first I’d heard of Montezuma’s was when I wandered past a new shop and was intrigued by the display in the window. And when I went in I wasn’t disappointed, there’s a lot of nice, unusual and interesting chocolate creations in there. And I’m not really a big fan of chocolate.
On that first visit I didn’t take much notice of whether they had any organic chocolate but when I was sent some beer to review by Organic Roots, they send me a nice little free gift of Montezuma’s 54% Coca: Milk Chocolate Butterscotch Organic Chocolate.
Just a 30g bar of it but that’s all you need really, it’s a heavy, rich chocolate that hits you with flavour as soon as you take a bite. Despite it being milk chocolate, the concentration of cocoa makes it more like a dark chocolate. In fact I found the strength of the cocoa a little overpowering so the actual taste of the butterscotch gets a little lost.
Still it’s an interesting blend and something a little different from the other chocolate out there. Montezuma’s has other organic chocolate in its collection such as Orange & Geranium Dark Chocolate, Very Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Chilli, and its 54% Milk Chocolate – all organic.
Montezuma’s 54% Coca: Milk Chocolate Butterscotch Organic Chocolate costs around 75p for a 30g bar and available instore or online.
I recently reviewed Santa Cruz’s Mountain Brewing’s Organic Amber Ale and liked it – after I got used to it. So another trip to Bev Mo! and I bought the brewery’s India Pale Ale, or IPA, which is also organic.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing inscribes the phrase ‘Think Organic, Drink Organic’ on its labels and serves its beers in a big 22oz glass bottles.
This India Pale Ale is a whopping 7.5% abv so I was expecting a hefty taste but it was surprisingly subtle. It was hoppy, but again not as much as I expected and actually found it smoother and more drinkable than the Amber Ale. It’s a little lighter in colour too, still quite cloudy though. Looking back at that review it’s probably hard to decide which I liked best, both are easy drinking and I think if you decide to go with an organic ale you can’t go far wrong with choosing one of these two.
Certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers, nothing in its Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery is automated.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Organic India Pale Ale costs $4.59 from Bev Mo!.
With the phrase, ‘Think Organic, Drink Organic’, this Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Organic Amber Ale was impossible to resit at BevMov! So I didn’t.
In a large bottle (a pint in the UK or a pint and six fluid ounces in the US), it pours with a slight head and is a dark, cloudy brown.
As with a lot of American handcrafted beers, it has a taste which takes a little getting used to, the first sip hits you in the back of the throat but then the flavour comes through and it settles down.
I like to drink my beers cold but you shouldn’t have this too cold, I found the flavours, hoppy and slightly fruity, came through much better when it warmed up and I’d got used to it. In fact I found it really easy drinking and was pleased it came in such a big bottle, but disappointed I’d opted to only buy one.
Brewed by Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing in California, the company calls it “the official Party Beer of the brewery”. Certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers, nothing in its brewery is automated, and the beer is a blend of organic malts with a primary base of Gambrinus pale malt.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Organic Amber Ale costs $4.59 from BevMov!
Trying organic ales from around the world brings some exciting flavours to the tastebuds. I often approach them with excitement but also trepidation – will this Bison Organic India Pale Ale from California delight or disappoint?
Bison Brewing is not a brewery I’d heard of before, but I was intrigued after reading the bottle. Certified organic, this IPA is part of its Single Hop Series, which means each time they brew it they try it with different hops, seeing which one they like the most and drinkers favour.
This one was made with Willamette hops, which is “a mid alpha hop bred decades ago from Fuggles”. It has “woody or grassy tones and a smooth bitterness”.
And it certainly is smooth. There’s not real sharp flavour or bitternesss to it which makes it very drinkable and a nice beer if you’re just starting with bitter or IPA. It has a nice head once poured and remains cloudy even when settled.
I liked the smoothness and subtle flavours, but at 6% alc/vol the only concern is drinking too much of it!
Bison Organic India Pale Ale is available from BevMo! costing around $3.99 for a 650ml (one pint, six fl. oz.) bottle.
Samuel Smith’s range of drinks are brewed in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire since 1758, and there are Sam Smith’s pubs across England offering beer, ale, lager, cider and spirits all under its own brand.
And it has also branched out to selling its wares in selected shops. I’ve reviewed its organic cider before but this is actually the first time I’ve ever had the brewery’s larger – if I’m not going for the cider I’m having a Sovereign Best Bitter.
Brewed using lightly-kilned lager malt from UK barley and organic hops, it has a slightly ‘hoppier’ taste that a lot of lagers and gives a nice head when poured. It’s still quite crisp despited being full bodied and very refreshing.
After drinking cheap and popular lager when the need arises (if I’m particularly thirsty or the bitter selection is poor), this reminds me that there are good lagers out there that are worth drinking. I don’t think anyone drinking this could be disappointed, I certainly wasn’t.
Samuel Smith’s Organic Lager is available from good alcoholic retailers like BevMo! in the US (costing around $3.50) and supermarkets and even department stores such as House of Fraser in the UK (around £3). Or head to the pub, you can find a list of Sam Smith’s pubs here.
Green blogging offers so rare pleasures and review organic beer is one of them. Although I did have to buy this one myself!
I’ve reviewed Duchy Organic Ale a couple of times before (here and here) and enjoyed it. Duchy Originals is a brand of a range of food, drink and much more launched by Prince Charles, HRH the Prince of Wales,
Duchy Originals has teamed up with UK supermarket Waitrose to launch a new range and this Old Ruby Ale is one of them.
Using an English barley first used in 1905 called Plumage Archer and grown at selected organic farms including Duchy Home Farm at Highgrove.
And like the other Duchy ales, it’s got a nice, strong flavour. As mentioned before I like my ale cold but with this I needed to wait a little for it to warm up until the flavours really came out. I’m no expert in describing the flavours but it has quite a rich and sharp taste at first that mellows into what I like to call a comfortable drinking ale.
As the name suggests it has quite a deep red colour too which stands it out from other beers I’ve tried recently.
Whil I commend it’s Soil Association Organic certification, drinking bottled beer always gives me a little guilt about the glass bottle. I will of course recycle it, but it would be good if it came in a recycled bottle to begin with.
This 5% alcohol by volume Duchy Organic Old Ruby Ale is Available from Waitrose and costs around £2 depending on what promotions are on. At the time of writing it was on special with 25% off.
First of all, I apologise for the pathetic image, it’s not great, but then when yu pour it into a glass it just looks like cider. You can see a better image here, which also gives Waitrose’s Organic Vintage Cider a pretty rough review. In fact it calls it ‘filth’.
So what did I make of it? I quite liked it. It was drinkable and had a nice apple flavour. It was a bit sweet for my taste, but then I like a good bitter and only have cider in the summer so it takes some getting used to. For around £1.50 I can’t really complain, I like the fact it’s organic compared to mainstream brands and being 5% alcohol by volume it’s not too strong.
The cider is made from a single year’s harvest and pressed in a traditional way. It meets Soil Association standards and fermented and matured in oak vats. You can by it online or instore at Waitrose.