Monday, 16 September 2019

618: J.W. Lees | Manchester Pale Ale

20190819_205702The Brewery: “JW Lees is a family brewery company, founded in 1828 by retired cotton manufacturer John Lees. We’re based in Middleton in the North West of Manchester and own JW Lees Brewery, JW Lees Pubs, The Alderley Edge Hotel, The Trearddur Bay Hotel and Willoughby’s Wine Merchants. We’re a sixth-generation family business which employs over 1,200 people, 140 at the brewery and site in Middleton Junction and over 1,000 in our 42 managed pubs, inns and hotels.”

The Beer: “Our refreshingly Mancunian pale ale gives ale lovers a similar hop-packed offering to its American equivalents. It's a golden ale that’s made entirely from all-British malt, Liberty and Mount Hood hops. It’s a post-industrial Manchester classic “

The last from the Lidl beer festival was far too hoppy for me. Nothing wrong with it, just not to my taste. 4.1% A.B.V. August 2019. Related entries

617: Williams Bros. | March of the Penguins

20190818_195555The Brewery: “Williams Bros. Brewing Co. is located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire and is set in the old George Younger’s bottling hall in Kelliebank. Although now producing an eclectic range of Craft Beers for the international market, the Brotherhood 'Brew House' is steeped in Scottish tradition and remains the last bastion of brewing in a town, which was once regarded as 'Scotland's Beer Capital'…..In 1998 we built the Craigmill brewery in Strathaven, which became our base of operations for the next 6 years until we took over the ‘Forth Brewery’ in Alloa, where we have been happily brewing, bottling, kegging & now even canning beer ever since.”

The Beer: “This creamy dark stout, deep chocolate in colour has a nose of roast malts, coffee, liquorice & orange peel. The aromas carry on into the flavour with a smooth mouthfeel, rich malty start, fresh hoppy middle & a delicious lingering sweet orange after taste. Sure to get you marching again on those cold winter evenings.”

Another from the Lidl beer festival and another very enjoyable beer. I do like the occasional stout and this was good. 4.9% A.B.V. August 2019. Related entries.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

616: Black Sheep | Venus & Mars

20190818_161242The Brewery: “In 1992, Paul Theakston took a daring leap into the unknown. As a fifth generation brewer of his family company, he chose to leave T&R Theakstons following its sale to a national brewery. Instead, he chose to champion independent brewing in Yorkshire and built his own brewery from reclaimed equipment in the very same town, Masham. Paul is the Black Sheep.”

The Beer: “Our shepherds looked to the sky and across the universe. Venus, Goddess of beauty seduces the God of agriculture, Mars, to produce a beer which is out of this world….Venus & Mars is a perfectly balanced pint brewed with First Gold, Summit and Chinook hops to offer vibrant flavours of pine, stone fruit and orange pith. Pale ale and caramalt provide a sturdy backbone of smooth caramel.”

Another from the Lidl ale festival, this didn’t hit the spot - a little too fruity for my fussy palate. Nowt wrong with it, it just wasn’t for me. 4.5% A.B.V. August 2019. Related entries.

615: Felinfoel | ESB

20190817_192544The Brewery: “From the brewery that brought you the World’s first craft ale in a can… We have been producing our beer in cans since 1935 which makes us the oldest canners of craft beer in the world……As the name implies, Felinfoel brewery is situated in ‘Felinfoel’, a small village adjoining Llanelli in Wales. Historians tell us that in the old days the inn brewed its own beer, but only during the winter months. The keeping qualities and the strength of the beers, therefore, were of prime importance and the popularity of ‘Felinfoel Beer’ led to the local inn brewing for other inns in the locality. This, in turn, led to the present brewery being built in 1878 to accommodate demand.”

The Beer: “Felinfoel ESB has a marvellously robust bitter ale giving lots of good body and a fruity aftertaste. A nice long finish on the palate with hints of toffee apple flavours.”

First up of a handful of beers procured during the Lidl Ale Festival and what an opener. I’ve always enjoyed the more popular Double Dragon and was keen to see how this compared. Delicious - a bit fuller bodied than DD and that worked really well. Loved this. 4.6% A.B.V. August 2019. Related entries.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

614: Poppyland | Saison IPA

20190812_195339The Brewery: “Now in its seventh year of operation Poppyland Brewery has gained a reputation for doing different. For me, Martin Warren the Poppyland Brewer, it has been a challenge in semi-retirement, a means of self expression and it helped to satisfy my creative instincts. It made a small living too. As an ex-museum curator I couldn't help myself from revelling in the character and culture of North Norfolk and I reflected this in my beers. I have produced extraordinary ales that were far removed from industrial beer found in supermarkets or even beer found in British pubs. I have been exploring just what beer can be, using the best ingredients and new techniques, seeking to innovate and aiming to really please my customers. I often drew inspiration from the local environment and local history. Where I could I used local ingredients - wild and cultivated. Where I couldn't, I got the best ingredients from all over the world - like hops and yeasts.”

The Beer: “Golden colour. Grapefruit aroma. Intense, luscious, mouth-puckering hops hit you immediately. The bitterness is combined with complex citrus fruit flavours and a wild note from the yeast which, when combined with the delicious flavour of the Maris Otter malt, makes your mouth water. This beer is huge and dry and it is difficult not to chug it down because of the sledgehammer citrus zest but at 7.2% it needs to be drunk more slowly, swilling the beer around your mouth to savour all that it has to offer before swallowing it off and coming back for another gulp. It is long: the hoppy bitterness and fruit flavours will linger on the tongue for ages. Brewed with pale Maris Otter malt, high colour Munich, oats and malted wheat and sucrose. Hopped with Ella, Centennial, Cascade, Columbus and Summit. Fermented with a Belgian saison yeast.”

Yep. Quality undoubted but as you may have guessed, not my thing. Powerful stuff though, both in flavour and A.B.V. August 2019

613: Lacons | Legacy

20190811_115309The Brewery: “Based in Great Yarmouth, Lacons Brewery is home to Lacons Encore, the award-winning amber beer. Our brewing team is passionate about using the finest ingredients to create amazing beers and our range includes bitter, pale ale, aged stout and a lager amongst others. Above all, we love beer and we want to make sure that when you buy a pint of Lacons you can see what all the fuss is about.”

The Beer: “Legacy, our flavoursome blonde beer offers deep flavours. The first thing that hits you is the predominant lemon and grapefruit aroma before a burst of lemon and lime floods the senses. A mellow finish leaves you wanting more.”

Had I read that description beforehand I may have tried something else. Regulars will know it’s not my thing at all. The heavy aroma had me suspicious and so it proved. Nothing wrong with - it just wasn’t for me. 4.4%. A.B.V. Related entries

Sailors Home, Kessingland, Suffolk. August 2018.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

612: Lacons | Yarmouth Red

20190809_181032The Brewery: “Based in Great Yarmouth, Lacons Brewery is home to Lacons Encore, the award-winning amber beer. Our brewing team is passionate about using the finest ingredients to create amazing beers and our range includes bitter, pale ale, aged stout and a lager amongst others. Above all, we love beer and we want to make sure that when you buy a pint of Lacons you can see what all the fuss is about.”

The Beer: “Lacons Yarmouth Red beer is flavour packed and full of body, with roasted malt aromas, fruity flavours and a bitter finish……Inspired by the recipe for Yarmouth ale, which was first brewed during the dark years of the First World War.”

I was delighted to come across another Lacons beer, guesting at the excellent Sailors Home in Kessingland, not far from the brewery. Regulars will know I like a nice red ale evry now and again and this didn’t disappoint. Full bodied and very flavoursome. 4.7% A.B.V. Related entries.

Sailors Home, Kessingland, Suffolk. August 2019