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Showing posts from July, 2016

Ciren Ales – A Bitter Wife

Another extremely local ale from the shed in the bottom of the garden of the pub. Not my favourite type of ale as regulars will know but in the interests of research I indulged. Pale – obviously and quite hoppy. 4 % A.B.V The Twelve Bells Cirencester, Gloucestershire. July 2016

Ciren Ales – Bells Bitter

What they say: “…..a medium smooth malt brown bitter…brewed using Maris Otter and Crystal malt, torrified wheat with Target, Golding’s and Brambling Cross whole hop flowers” Well, you couldn’t get much more local than this. In a pub in Cirencester drinking a beer not only brewed in Cirencester, but just a few meters away at the end of the pub garden. A good honest pint and I really enjoyed this. 3.8% A.B.V. The Twelve Bells , Cirencester, Gloucestershire. July 2016

Arkells – Moonlight

What they say: “Originally brewed as a special in 2003 to celebrate the 80th birthday of Peter Arkell OBE, father of the present Chairman James. The name moonlight portrays Peter's missions flying low-level sorties over France in 1943, picking up agents in occupied territory using the moon to land. The label on the bottle has a Lysander plane on it, which Peter Arkell actually flew in. Now a regular beer, Moonlight has a golden auburn colour with a warm toasty aroma and distinctive citrus hoppy flavour from Celeia hops.” Another Arkell’s Ale and perhaps more enjoyable than the 3B and slightly stronger at 4.5& A.B.V. Again, a slight twang but it didn’t put me off at all. The Thames Head Inn , Cirencester, Gloucestershire. July 2016.

Arkells – 3B

What they say: “Originally known as Arkell’s Best Bitter Beer. First brewed in 1910 and affectionately known as BBB or 3B by customers ever since. A copper coloured Ale with a pleasant fruity and malty nose. It has a lingering bittersweet flavour of balanced Maris Otter malt and traditional Fuggles and Golding hops.” If memory serves this was my first beer from Arkell’s and I quite liked it, although a couple of friends on Facebook clearly didn’t. A bit of a twang but the combination of hops and malt pleased my palate. 4.0% A.B.V The Thames Head Inn , Cirencester, Gloucestershire. July 2016.

Hunters – Black Jack

What they say: “A surprisingly light stout with the aroma of coffee and malt it also has rich liquorish flavours. Good match with most meat dishes but almost a meal in itself!……Nose: A coffee and malt aroma. Palate: Rich liquorish and coffee flavours with a bittersweet finish.” The last of my quartet of beers from Hunters had a lot to live up to but again, did not disappoint.  It didn’t taste at all heavy but packed a serious punch coming in at 6% A.B.V. July 2016.

Hunters – Royal Hunt

What they say: “ First brewed to commemorate the Queens Diamond Jubilee it has become Hunter’s most award winning ale. A beer fit for a king (or queen) with the aroma of caramel, toffee and fruit citrus…….. Royal Hunt is a full bodied, spicy and morrish ale, enjoy with a traditional English Ploughman’s lunch……. Nose: A sweet bouquet of caramel, toffee and fruit citrus. Palate: Full bodied, spicy and moreish” Oh, this was nice. really nice. A wonderful melange of flavours made this very drinkable indeed but at 5.5% A.B.V it needs treating with respect or else you’ll be reaching for the painkillers! July 2016

Hunters – Devon Dreamer

What they say: “A good all year round pint but especially perfect in the summer.  With the aroma of orange and flowery hops this is a zesty, refreshing well balance ale…..Triple hopped using typical English Goldings with a late addition of Citra a perfect pint on a summers afternoon with the BBQ sizzling…..Nose: Aroma of orange and fresh Goldings. Palate: Zesty, refreshing and well balanced” A tad too fruity for me normally, but sitting outside – with the sun actually shining – this went down rather well. Another great ale. 4.1% A.B.V. July 2016

Hunters – Half Bore

What they say: “The Half Bore has an aroma of malt and barley sugar made with Devon honey to produce a smooth and sweet taste that will leave you wanting more…….Nose: Fruity smell, with aroma of malt and barley sugars. Palate: Smooth, sweet and moreish malt flavours with a floral finish.” My first local brew whilst staying in Devon – in a bottle anyway – did not disappoint. Full of flavour but still easy drinking 4.0% A.B.V. July 2016.

Cotleigh - 25

What they say: “Launched in June 2004 to celebrate Cotleigh's 25th Anniversary. Cotleigh 25 became an instant success and was listed as a permanent brand. It was awarded "Best Alcohol Drink" in London at The Excellence in Food and Drinks Awards 2006. An explosion of flavours originating from American Cascade hops gives this brilliant pale golden beer a fresh aroma and fruit filled finish” From across the border in Somerset, another pleasant pale ale that didn’t really make an impression. Easy drinking though and good for the summer – if and when it arrives….4.0% A.B.V The Ship Aground , Mortehoe, Devon. July 2016

GT Ales – Dark Horse

What they say? Again, their website is under construction however came up with this: “A full-bodied, creamy milk stout with blackcurrant notes and a slight coffee bitterness leading to hints of dark fruits.” It’s rare that I moan that a beer wasn’t cold enough but that was sadly the case here – in my opinion anyway. But that’s not the fault of the brewer. It was also a little flat which I suspect was down to it not being served right. Other than that, a nice pint – smooth as they say, but not memorable. 4.5% A.B.V. Captain Jacks , Woolacombe, Devon. July 2016

GT Ales – Blonde Ambition

What they say? Well nothing as their website is currently under construction, however this cropped up a few times on the ‘net: “Zesty blonde ale with light tropical flavours.” Sounds about right and regulars will know that it’s not for me, however it was brerwed locally – in Barnstaple so needed to be sampled. A warm weather drink aimed, I would suggest at those for whom lager is the usual tipple. Nothing wrong with that and good luck to ‘em. The George Inn , Braunton, Devon. July 2016

Plain Ales – Innspiration

What they say: “ We took our inspiration for this special ale from the towering spire of Salisbury’s 13th Century Cathedral which dominates Constable’s famous watermeadows and Sarum’s ancient barrows.  It is a bitter with just enough power and complexity to make it interesting and yet enough restraint and simplicity to make it an easy drinking beer for all occasions. A special blend of malts delivers an initial depth of flavour to this rich copper coloured beer, closely followed by a delicate bitterness and hints of wild berries, blackcurrants and herbal bouquet from the selected hops. This is an ale by which to be truly inspired.” Pleasant enough but not memorable enough. Would drink again if there was nothing else. Sadly not crystal clear either. 4.0% A.B.V. The George Inn , Braunton, North Devon. July 2016

Sharps – Sea Fury

What they say: “Sea Fury is an exceptional example of the Special Bitter beer style, offering substance and depth of flavour without compromising balance and drinkability. An aroma of inviting roasted and dark berry notes gives way to sumptuous, fruity, malty flavour and a moreish hop finish.” Yeah, quite nice this, doesn't taste strong but it rocks up at 5% A.B.V. If I was looking for a beer this strength I would still prefer something like Abbot Ale though. Another one brewed in Burton rather than Cornwall.  July 2016.

Sharps – Wolf Rock

What they say: “Wolf Rock is a fusion of Red Ale and IPA styles and combines Noble and New World hops with our finest special malt to deliver its distinctive flavour and enticing red hue.” I’ve said before how much I like red ales and this was no exception and less gassy too than most of what I sample in Ireland a couple of years back. Was a bit disappointed to read that it’s actually brewed in Burton rather than Cornwall, but it was still enjoyable. 4.8 % A.B.V.

St Austell – Cornish Best

  What they say: “ Crafted from British hops, Maris Otter barley and Cornish spring water, Cornish Best is an easy-drinking, traditional, well balanced bitter with wide appeal. Cornish Best is brewed from the heart of Cornwall but with a flavour that appeals further afield. For its strength it drinks much fuller with plenty of toffee and biscuit flavours complemented with a hint of bitterness on the finish. A very nice well balanced beer.” Our first stop on our summer jaunt is in North Devon just up from Woolacombe but our first taste was from over the border in Cornwall and it didn’t disappoint. In a word, delicious. It was everything I like in a beer, it’s flavour belying it’s strength and at less than three quid a pint, a bargain. The Chichester Arms, Mortehoe, Devon. July 2016

Everards – Two Tribes

What they say: “What happens when you mix tried & tested brewing methods with ‘off your rocker’, unheard of brewing? Here at Everards we’ve taken top fermenting ale yeast and bottom fermenting lager yeast, added a load of hops, and let it ‘brew its thing’ for 5 whole days! The reward for this madness is a hoppy, full flavoured refreshing pint with subtle citrus notes which is really rather different!” Very innovative I’m sure, but not for a boring traditional old fart like me. Refreshing it was though. 4.5% A.B.V June 2016

Derventio – Standard Bearer

What they say? Nothing on the brewery website and only says this: “Amber bitter with dry, bitter hop character.” Another guest at our local and a very welcome one it was too. Everything I like in a beer although at the top end, strength wise for what I consider to be a session beer. Very enjoyable though and gave the always resident and always excellent Harveys Sussex Best a good run for it’s money. 4.5 % A.B.V The Rottingdean Club, East Sussex. July 2016

Bootleg – Contraband

What they say: “ A delicate lager malt and wheat malt base meets juicy new world hops. Crisp and zesty upfront with a long bitter finish” Another guest at our local, this time from this young (2010) Manchester based brewery. A bit pale and a touch too fruity for me but very easy drinking. 3.9% A.B.V. The Rottingdean Club, East Sussex. July 2016

Greene King - Doosra

What they say? Well, at the time of typing there’s not a single mention of this on GK’s website, so once again we turn to - “Pale golden yellow, still, clear, small foamy white head. Aroma is biscuit, some banana bread, apple. Body is smooth, soft carbonation. Taste is bready, some sweet candyfloss and gummy sweets, twiggy astringency moving into the finish. A tasty, if slightly boring, well balanced golden ale” Yeah, I’d pretty much agree with that - pleasant but not memorable. 4.2% A.B.V The White Horse , Rottingdean, East Sussex. June 2016

Bass - No. 1

What they say: “……Bass Trademark No 1 is still brewed to an original recipe using only the finest ingredients and the experience of generations. It is widely available on draught and in supermarkets in cans or a 500ml bottle. Bass is brewed with two strains of yeast to produce a complex nutty, malty taste with subtle hop undertones.” It’s over two and a half years since I tried the bottled version of this ale but it was worth the wait as I like the draught incarnation just as much. From brewing giants Ab-InBev but don’t let that put you off.  4.4% A.B.V. The Downview , Worthing, West Sussex. June 2016

Harviestoun - Bitter & Twisted

What they say: “Bitter & Twisted is a superbly-balanced, refreshingly-lively beer. It has a malty-sweet aroma with a floral, fruity hoppiness and a zingy, zesty flavour. Complex, rounded, sweet and dry; this is the connoisseurs' session beer par excellence!” Again, not my preferred style of ale but it was very drinkable although the aroma was a little off putting - for me anyway. 3.8% A.B.V The Downview , Worthing, West Sussex June 2016.

Sadlers - Mellow Yellow

What they say: “A pale honey ale, the powerful hop character is balanced with a sweet smooth honey finish” The last but one of our collection amassed during our Easter getaway was - unsurprisingly given the description - not really my thing. Once again though one for a warm erm, summers night. 4.1% A.B.V June 2016