England vs Belgium

Two great footballing nations with strong squad that could potentially reach the latter stages of the world cup. In addition to this, both countries are phenomenal producers of beer – I can’t really ask for more! Time for kick-off and ‘sip-off’!

Mandatory “Mind Control” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.99 (at time of writing)
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Brewery: Magic Rock Brewing
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • Style: Double IPA
  • Serving: Can, 500ml

Magic Rock Brewing are currently known as one of the best UK craft breweries. The can looked enchanting, with eye-catching swirling peach and orange colours, which complimented the name ‘Mind Control’. The beer poured a light hazy orange colour, similar to the lighter accents on the can. A slim foam head was produced, which settled at the side of the glass. The aromas were of stone fruit and resin. If I had missed the comment of ‘Double IPA’ on the can, or the whopping 8% ABV, I wouldn’t have been able to miss that this smelled like a strong beer!

Not only did it have a mesmerising name, it also had some wicked sounding malts;

  • Golden Promise
  • Torrified Wheat
  • Pinhead Oats
  • Malted Oats


With the addition of two oats used in the brewing process, a beautiful mouthfeel was prominent on tasting. I noticed this first before getting the full flavour profile. Often on sampling, the aromas and taste of a beer align – this certainly didn’t contradict that rule. Flavours (from strongest to weakest) were stone fruit, dank, resin, citrus, a hint of salt and a minimal bitter edge just at the end! The alcohol percentage was noted on tasting, but thankfully weren’t overpowering.

Rating: 3.75/5. ‘Mind Control’ has all but hypnotised me by promoting the main flavours I adore in an imperial IPA. A touch more citrus would be the only thing I could suggest in order to lift this beer to an even higher rating.


Mandatory “Troubadour Magma” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.73 (at time of writing)
  • Country of Origin: Belgium
  • Brewery: Brouwerij The Musketeers
  • ABV: 9.0%
  • IBU: 45
  • Style: Triple IPA
  • Serving: Bottle, 330ml

I absolutely love Belgian beers. Each time I sample one, I’m instantly transported back to the most wonderful 25th birthday a guy like me could want – a city break to Brussels. It was here that I was able to fully embrace all things beer e.g. link the draught beer place off Brussels square. I picked up this beer from beersofeurope.co.uk.

I took ‘Magma’ from the fridge, the bright orange flame effect logo capturing the name perfectly. It wasn’t until this point that I noticed the brewery. The Musketeers were co-incidentally the brewers of my favourite beer from that holiday – ‘Jack’s Precious IPA’. ‘Magma’ poured a molten orange colour; unfortunately, I got a little complacent whilst pouring, so ended up with this foaming over the side and making a bit of a mess… I hoped my fiancée missed this, but I then heard a soft voice laugh “You screwed that up, didn’t you?”. Maybe I was just trying to reproduce a volcanic effect? Little aroma came from this beer: just some subtle hop notes. My main tasting notes were of caramel and orange. Mouthfeel was luxurious and silky. Despite the 45 IBU listed, I hardly noticed it at all! Not only did the IBUs go almost pass me by, but the ABV of 9% wasn’t overpowering – merely a light warmth on the sides of my tongue after a few sips.


Rating: 3.25/5. ‘Magma’ is a lovely triple IPA that I would happily have again. Given my previous experiences of this Brewery, I am looking forward to sample even more of their range!


Football: This game could have been considered a friendly. Both teams have qualified for the last 16 and it is almost academic regarding who placed 1st and 2nd. Both squads had significant changes to their starting line-ups and in spite of a “training game” atmosphere, a wonderful goal was created. Oh boy, I’m really enjoying “The Beer World Cup”, my main issue – why does it only last one month!


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