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Showing posts from 2017

501: Harvey’s – Olympia

What they say: “Harvey’s Brewery Olympia Golden Ale is a very refreshing summer ale with a balanced complexity. It was first produced in 2005 to celebrate our major summer award at Kensington Olympia for Best Bitter. It became an instant hit and is especially appreciated when served at 11 degrees Celsius.” Most definitely a summer beer this one and I would suggest perhaps serving even a little colder. Not my favourite style of ale but could be tempted on a hot summers’ night. When we get one. Available April to September. 4.0% A.B.V. October 2017.

500: Harvey’s - IPA

What they say: “IPA was once a mainstay brand of countless traditional breweries. Often referred to as ‘ordinary bitter’ by way of differentiation, there is little that is ordinary about it. Premium malted barleys and local aroma hops combine to create a beer that is light and refreshing. Fragrant hop flavours impart a full but delicate bitterness to this classic table beer………….Light and refreshing. Delicate, grassy and earthy hop aroma. Bitter and balanced malt flavours.” The 500th entry into the Archive is brewed just a few miles away and is a stablemate to the excellent Sussex Best Bitter – one of my all time favourites. Light & refreshing it certainly was and was a pleasant ‘school night’ treat thanks to the lower alcohol content. Served a bit colder would make a nice summer ale too. 3.5% A.B.V. October 2017

499: Caledonian – Edinburgh Castle

What they say: “We shook hands and made the deal with Historic Scotland, allowing us to use the world-famous landmark and its name for our 80 Shilling Ale. Without doubt, this is an Edinburgh icon both inside and out……Since the 1880s beer brewed in Scotland had been categorised by the shilling wholesale price per hogshead. The shilling system is one of Scotland’s contributions to brewing history. Edinburgh Castle writes another delicious page in that history…….Brewed with no less than five malts this russet brown classic has a malty caramel and fruity aroma and a superb creamy head. Its complex bittersweet and satisfying malt flavours deliver a soft hoppy finish that’s dry and spicy…….This malty Scottish ale is well suited to great pub food, especially red meat dishes, pies and broths. Smooth, creamy and very easy on the palate, this is a satisfying long drink that hits the mark.” Yep, that fruityness was a bit off putting for me and it was more hoppy than my awkward palate prefers. Cl

498: Rebellion – Smuggler

What they say: “An amber coloured, special bitter with a distinctive fruity hop character, and lasting bittersweet finish…..91% Maris Otter pale ale malt, plus crystal & chocolate malts in the mash tun….English Fuggles & Goldings hops in the copper….Late addition American Cascade and Amarillo hops in the hop-back for aroma.” That fruit hop carry on, although subtle meant that I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as their IPA – still a nice pint though. 4.2% A.B.V. The Green Man , Denham, Buckinghamshire. October 2017

497: Rebellion – IPA

What they say: “ A copper coloured, easy drinking beer. Well balanced malt and hop flavours continue to a long, refreshing and clean finish……. 92% Maris Otter pale ale malt, plus crystal & chocolate malts in the mash tun……English Fuggles & Goldings hops in the copper……..ate addition Styrian Goldings in the hop-back for aroma.” Loved this. Perhaps not a true IPA but a nice combination of flavours – a good basic bitter that was, as they say, easy drinking. Just 3.7% A.B.V but really tasty. Local too – brewed just a few miles away. The Oaks , West Hyde, Hertfordshire. October 2017

496: Caledonian – Poltergeist Porter

What they say? Well, nothing on Caledonians’ website sadly but this seemed a fair description: “Dark brown full bodied with smoky, nutty and biscuit chocolate. “ Loved this. Reminded me a bit of Smoke Stack Stout – but a little less smoky. The opportunity came up to try it again when it appeared locally and I happily took it. Always a great time of year for these dark ales. 4% A.B.V. The Oaks , West Hyde, Hertfordshire. October 2017.

495: Exmoor – Fox

What they say: “As subtle as the creature after which it is named, this is one of Exmoor Brewery’s most popular ales. Four malts are mixed in the mash tun and deliver a graceful and sleek malty mouthfeel. Hops are Goldings, producing a burst of delicate citrus and slight spice on the mid-palate, and Progress, which soothes the finish with a soft bitterness, while more malt comes forth to produce a delicious and lingering bittersweet character….It would be a crime to swamp this beer with fiery flavours or big bruising dishes. Instead, let the self-possessed bittersweetness work its magic with fragrant Thai and Chinese dishes, such as Singaporean noodles and sweet and sour pork.” Not tried this with food but will happily agree with the rest – a well rounded ale from this popular brewery from the south-west. 4.2% A.B.V. The Rottingdean Club, East Sussex. October 2017.

494: Long Man – Old Man

What they say: “This original dark beer has soft malt notes of coffee and chocolate that combine with a pleasant light hoppiness to create a rich, full tasting Old Ale of times gone by.” Oh my this was nice. Not too sweet for my fussy palate and the combination of flavours worked well for me.  Brewed just a few miles up the road too. The Rottingdean Club, East Sussex. October 2017

493: Lord Conrad’s – Lobster Licker

What they say: “A red ale with a hint of America hops” Just a hint, thankfully. Enjoyed this and the brewery certainly come up with some great names for their beers too. 4.2% A.B.V The Jolly Brewers , Milton, Cambridgeshire. October 2017

492: York Brewery – Otherside IPA

What they say: “An International Brewing Awards 2017 Silver category award winner, Otherside IPA is a Maris Otter pacific pale ale packed full of antipodean promise. We’ve selected four of the best New Zealand grown hops to provide a feast for the taste buds. Expect a host of tropical fruit notes against a background of citrus and pine from dry hopping with Motueka.” Not for me this – there was nothing wrong with it – clear and bright but just too hoppy and fruity for me. Good to see variety though at this great pub that always has a great selection of real ales. 4.5% A.B.V The Jolly Brewers , Milton, Cambridgeshire. October 2017

491: Fuller’s – Oliver’s Island

What they say: “The latest Fuller’s ale to make its bow, Oliver’s Island is a crisp, thirst quenching beer that draws inspiration from a local landmark. Every day, rowers glide serenely past the Griffin Brewery towards the island in the Thames - reminding us just what can be achieved by pulling together…” Ok, so golden ales are not my favourites but this offering from dear old Fuller’s was delicious – but then I don’t recall having a bad beer from them anyway. The citrus and florals were kept well in check. 3.8% A.B.V The Lion & Lamb , Milton, Cambridgeshire. October 2017

490: Ash Valley – Prince of Wales IPA

What they say: “A rare IPA Bitter” Brewed in shared facilities behind the Prince of Wales in Green Tye, Hertfordshire, this was the last ale to pass my lips at the beer festival. Pleasant enough and very drinkable but not outstanding. My taste buds had taken a battering by more aggressively flavoured beers by this point so maybe my impression was a little skewed. Have tasted a lot worse though. 4.0% A.B.V The Chappel Beer Festival , Essex. September 2017.

489: Northallerton – Dark

What they say: “An easy drinking dark ale brewed from chocolate malt and Admiral hops to give a hint of orange.” Established in just 2016 and with only five employees but an impressive range of beers. Thankfully the orange was just a hint and not predominant. Looking forward to trying more from their range. 4.4% A.B.V The Chappel Beer Festival . September 2017.

488: Box Steam – Broad Gauge

What they say: “A malty ruby bitter with a delicate lemon aroma and fruity bittersweet finish” Available from July to September this certainly packed a fruity punch although by this time my taste buds were a bit er, weary so the effect may have been numbed somewhat. A nice pint but one to savour not slosh back I reckon. 4.8% A.B.V The Chappel Beer Festival , September 2017

487: Hope – Back in Black

What they say: “Starts as a pale IPA then black malt is added to change the colour but not the taste” Back to the black stuff at the beer festival was this seasonal offering from another Essex based brewery. Not as full on or rich as the other black ales and very much an IPA. Pleasant enough and a little lighter on the A.B.V. too. The Chappel Beer Festival , Essex. September 2018

Elgood – Hound Dog

What they say :”Houndingly good best bitter” Third up at the beer festival and I took a break from the black stuff for a great bitter from Elgoods. It was just full bodied enough to compete with the lingering flavours of the full on ales it followed. Would like to try it solo to really appreciate fully. Not on their website though so I guess it’s a seasonal. The Chappel Beer Festival, Essex. September 2017

Blackedge: Black Port Porter

What they say :”Multi award winning porter deliciously complex, roasted coffee And chocolate flavours with a hint of liquorice and sweet port finish.” Yep, another black’un. The idea was to only go for black beers – a plan which went a little awry later on, but this was only the second. Another powerhouse of flavours but perhaps just a tad too sweet for my fussy palate. Chappel Beer Festival , Essex. September 2017

Shalford – Levelly Black

What they say :”Dark, heavy, well hopped ale with grainy toffee taste and creamy head.” The first of a few at the Chappel Beer Festival held at the East Anglian Railway Museum in Essex at the end of the summer and I dived straight in with a pint before more sensibly opting for halves from then on. A great ale to start with, full on and very rich. Not one to slosh back but very enjoyable. The Chappel Beer Festival , Essex. September 2017

Greene King – Starry Night

  What they say: “A hoppy, amber-coloured pale ale, late-hopped with the rare, Australian 'Galaxy' hop.” A limited edition ale, not as hoppy as I was expecting but it neither excited or offended me. Went down well though, but that’s not unusual! 4.2% A.BV. The Spanish Lady , Saltdean, East Sussex. October 2017

Dawkins – Bristol Gold

What they say: “Crisp, refreshing, citrus. A very well-balanced, exceptionally refreshing golden beer brewed with the rare English Bramling Cross hops for a slightly spicy, fruity aroma and flavour…..First brewed as a house beer for our original pub, The Miner’s Arms in St Werburghs, where it is still the best selling beer under the name ‘Miner’s Gold’…..This is a recently revised recipe at 4.4% (from 4.0%) for a fuller, rounder flavour, still using all-British malt and hops……Good with food - Roast chicken, grilled fish, salads.” The second from Dawkins and whilst I didn’t enjoy as much as the excellent Bristol Best, it was still very enjoyable. Would have prefered that they kept it at the original A.B.V though but that’s just me. Looking forward to trying others in their range when the opportunity arises. August 2017

Dawkins – Bristol Best

What they say: “Our flagship beer; a classic best bitter to suit the Bristol palate. Based on a Sixties recipe using all-British malt and hops. It is temptingly copper in colour with a malty aroma and is notably well balanced with malt and biscuity tones, polished off by a satisfyingly bitter finish. This was  he brewery owner’s first new recipe; it harks back to his childhood. (Some say he’s never left it!) ………..Good with food - Roast beef, lamb, casseroles. Delicious, it is indeed a classic best bitter and an instant favourite with my taste buds. Bottle conditioned though so store upright and pour carefully. 4.0% A.B.V. August 2017

Lord Conrad’s – Spiffing Wheeze

What they say: “At Queens, Downing, Gonville and Caius, In Cambridge comedians learned to tease. One taste you'll know we aimed to please, Off to the bar for a Spiffing Wheeze!….. Colour 3….. Taste . This dry pale lager ale is brewed with American hops and finished with Lemongrass……. Style Golden Lager Ale” No, wasn’t keen on this – nowt wrong with it, just not to my taste. Embarrassingly I can’t remember where I tried it – other than that it would have been in Cambridgeshire and not very far from the brewery in Dry Drayton. August 2017.

Timothy Taylor’s - Knowle Spring

What they say: “Knowle Spring Blonde is a full-bodied blonde beer brewed with Golden Promise barley malt, Strisselspalt hops from Alsace, and UK-grown Minstrel, Cascade and Chinook hops. It’s an easy-drinking beer with floral and grapefruit aromas, spiced orange on the tongue followed by aromatic citrus hop flavours to finish.” This was never going to be one of my favourites, even though I’m a TT fan, nevertheless, the journey down from Yorkshire clearly didn’t do it any harm as it was in superb condition. 4.3% A.B.V. The Blue Lion , Hardwick, Cambridgeshire. August 2017


What they say: “2010 overall winner of SIBA SW maltings festival. A golden coloured beer with a good balance of malt and a very good hop blend for a lovely hoppy finish.” Perhaps just a little too hoppy for me, however it was my birthday and certainly wasn’t the first of the day – and I had another one. A great pub too and brewed just a few miles away near Bideford. 4.3% A.B.V The Grampus Inn , Lee, North Devon. August 2017

St Austell–Harvest Moon

What they say: “For a late summer flourish of sun, or when the first whispers of autumn begin, this is a beer to truly refresh and satisfy the palate….Harvest your taste buds with this well-balanced and drinkable malty number that offers plenty of biscuit and fruit cake flavours.……” I like this a lot – even though it was summer and the sun was noticeably absent it went down well. Sadly it’s only a seasonal. 4.3% A.B.V. We ate here too and the food was great. Coeliacs will be pleased to note that most items on the menu are available gluten free too. The Muddiford Inn , Muddiford, North Devon. August 2017

Wickwar–Falling Star

what they say: “Our Premium Golden Ale. 4.2% ABV. Brewed for the contemporary taste palate using locally grown and renowned floor malted Maris Otter barley from Warminster Maltings. Distinctive and complex flavours and aromas are delivered through a carefully chosen blend of Cascade, Willamette and Mittlefruh hops. The resulting balanced and refreshing finish is achieved through a combination of our pure Cotswold water and unique strain of yeast. A golden artisan ale.” I’ve always enjoyed Wickwar’s Bob so was delighted to find another in their range and this didn’t disappoint either. A quality pint served just right. Cook Island Freehouse , Mullacott Cross, North Devon. August 2017.

Bishop Nick–Revelry

What they say: “Brewed especially for Fathers’ Day, we’ve gone big in honour of the big fella. Waimea hops are as big as they come, epic citrus and pine flavours burst from this New Zealand crop. Bold bitterness is perfectly balanced with a dad sized portion of crystal malt, providing sweet, subtle toffee flavours, a dab of spice and devilish red hue. “ I liked this, I didn’t find the citrus and pine overpowering at all – a lovely combination of flavours. Found in one of Cambridgeshire's great village pubs I remember from years back when we still lived here. 4.2% A.B.V. The Red Lion , Grantchester. July 2017

Great Newsome– Lads Stout

What they say: “Deep dark stout rich with the flavour of real liquorice.” I do like the occasional stout – and this was no exception. Very full flavoured. A nice find from Yorkshire all the way down in Cambridgeshire in a pub that offers up to six real ales. 4.3% A.B.V The Six Bells , Fulbourn, Cambs. July 2017

Milton Brewery–Justinian

What they say: “Crisp pale bronze-coloured bitter. Attractive bitter orange flavours persist into a satisfying lasting finish.” Had I read that in advance I perhaps wouldn’t have tried it. There was nothing wrong with it – it just wasn’t for me. There were plenty of others to choose from this brewery who also own the pub. A pub that was knocked down and rebuilt. Well worth a look. 3.9% A.B.V. The Queen Edith , Cambridge. July 2017

Black Wolf – ROK

What they say: “Full and rounded like an Indian new moon, this new breed is a modern twist on Indian Pale Ale. Jammed with fruity flavour and tantalising bitterness……Perfect brew to extinguish the blaze of a burrito or the kick of a curry.” Was delighted to come across a brewery I’d never heard of – something that is becoming rarer as the archive grows.  IPA’s are not my favourite but it was obviously kept well and in good nick. I do hope I come across some more of their beers soon.  4.0% A.B.V The Blue Lion , Hardwick, Cambridgeshire. July 2017

Badger – Hopping Hare

What they say: “Hopping Hare is thrice hopped with three types of hops during the brewing process. Aromatic Goldings and Cascade combine to provide an uplifting citrus grapefruit and floral aroma while First Gold carries the bitterness…….The effect is a refreshing ale with a unique hoppy aroma and well-balanced bitterness that is bound to satisfy! It is a terrific match with roast lamb and spicy Thai dishes!” Hoorah for First Gold! This had a remarkably refreshing taste and I didn’t find it too fruity. Not a beer I’d choose everyday given it’s style but it was very enjoyable. 4.4% A.B.V. July 2017

Badger – Wild Wader

What they say: “In the lagoon of Brownsea Island, you can find the Wild Wader striding proudly in the morning haze. This amber brew combines an aromatic collection of British, Slovenian and New World hops for a refreshing easy-drinking beer. Great with fish & chips!” Another beer from the Badger brand of Hall & Woodhouse that didn’t disappoint. Refreshing but not too hoppy.  4.2% A.B.V. July 2017. 

Bombardier – Burning Gold

What they say: “Inspired by the words of William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’, Wells Bombardier Burning Gold is a tribute to all that is celebrated in English beer. Brewed with the same passion for excellence as the original, Burning Gold is a refreshing golden beer which is enjoyed by ale and lager drinkers…….A precious blend of the finest malts, hops and natural mineral water produces an instantly refreshing beer. Zesty aromas waken the senses, leading to a dry, crisp flavour with more than a hint of citrus on the palate and a smooth lasting finish.” Thankfully that citrus was no more than a hint. It was a while ago but I do recall quite enjoying this even though golden ales are not usually my favourite.  4.7% A.B.V. July 2017

Wadworth – Dirty Kiwi Rucker

What they say: “Made with New Zealand hops, this great ale will help support our British Lions rugby tour!………..Dirty Rucker Kiwi is a zesty, golden hoppy beer with a clean refreshing start, developing into a strong powerful bitterness……..A winning combination of Pale Ale malt, Caragold, Caramalt and flaked barley are perfectly matched by Rakau and Waimea hops.” As you might have guessed, a bit too zesty and hoppy for me but that’s hardly the beers fault and it was drinkable. Guesting at a village boozer during our extended stay near Cambridge in the summer. Worth checking out if you are looking for a bite to eat – the food was delicious. The Blue Lion , Hardwick, Cambridgeshire. July 2017

Hook Norton – Double Stout

What they say: “A blend of malts gives Double Stout a character all of its own. Black malt enriches the colour and teases the palate with an unmistakable ‘toast’ flavour. Brown malt gives it the dryness. “ Oh yum. yummity yum. This was superb – one of the best stouts I’ve had. Velvety smooth and full of flavour. Look forward to trying this again and hopefully on draught too. 4.2% A.B.V. July 2017.

City of Cambridge–Atom Splitter

What they say: “A golden ale bursting with hoppy flavours. Brilliant with Thai curries and other Asian foods” The second of three beers from our old home town – well, city – was perhaps my least favourite. Not because of the quality which was superb but regulars will know golden ales are not generally my favourite. I bet the suggested food pairing would have been perfect though. 4.5% A.B.V. July 2017

City of Cambridge–Parkers Piece

What they say: “A dark rich coloured brew bursting with blackberry inspired fruitiness and a tangy aftertaste. Perfect with strong cheeses.” The third beer from our old home town didn’t disappoint – a wonderful combination of flavours – my only regret was that I didn’t pair it with some strong cheese as suggested as that would have been truly delicious. I’ll be sure to put that right when I can get hold of some more. 5.0% A.B.V. July 2017.

City of Cambridge – Boathouse Bitter

What they say: “Aroma characteristics evoke treacle, coffee and even hints of raisin. Brilliant with pork scratchings, peanuts and ready salted crisps” The first of three beers from our home town procured during our extended stay in the summer was delicious – everything I want in a bitter  and it’s strength makes it a good session beer too. 3.7% A.B.V July 2017.

Ruddles – County

What they say: “An English Ale with a distinctive flavour of dark toffee and caramel combined with a crisp bitterness derived from using rare Bramling Cross hops.” Now from the Greene King stable, I remember when this was found in Whitbread pubs alongside Trophy or Whitbread Best. Sadly not a very good example – not crystal clear and a bit of a twang. I should have sent it back but didn’t. Look forward to trying one in better nick and I’ll update. 4.3%

Grain – Redwood

Not as sweet as some reds I’ve had and a little hoppier but still a very nice pint indeed. Found in one of Cambridgeshire's great village boozers. 4.3% A.B.V The Royal Oak , Barrington, July 2017

Arkell’s – Rugbeer

Not much about this on the brewery website, but then it was a special for the rugby world cup – in 2015! say this: Deep, amber coloured, moreish, toffee flavoured beer. Made with four different types of malt, some wheat and a good dose of English hops. Quite liked it, although I suspect it was coming to the end of it’s life. Full of flavour though and full bodied. 4.3% A.B.V. Stanton House Hotel , Wiltshire. July 2017

Belhaven – Golden Bay

What they say: “This ale is reminiscent of the striking sunsets that can be seen from Belhaven Bay. With its refreshing citrus taste balanced against clean floral tones, this ale is certainly one to tempt the palate.” Another summer special from the Greene King stable, would have been nice to try it on a hot summer’s night but you can’t have everything. A bit insipid for me but at least it wasn’t too hoppy. Cracking pub though. The King William IV , Heydon, Cambridgeshire. July

Box Steam – Soul Train

What they say: “A blonde, continental style beer with a hoppy and fruity aroma and a refreshing citrus taste.” Another pale fruity beer, anyone would think it’s summer. Needless to say, not really to my taste – it’s strength was subdued but at 4.7% A.B.V very much present. The White Horse , Witcham, Cambridgeshire. July 2017


What they say: “Adnams Freewheel is a straw-coloured English summer ale with aromas of citrus and peaches, beautifully balanced by a touch of gooseberry on the finish……Brewed using pale ale malt and golden naked oats and a wonderful combination of English hops – Ernest, Jester and Endeavour.” And another light fruity summer limited edition ale for the summer.  Inoffensive – even for someone like me who prefers darker beers – and easy drinking at 3.6% A.B.V. The Red Cow , Chrishall, Cambridgeshire. July 2017

Everards – Sunchaser

What they say: “A refreshing and zesty ale, we looked further afield to Europe to find just the right hops and malt to create Sunchaser’s subtle flavours. Create your ‘sunchasing’ moment to enjoy this beer, whether relaxing in the pub or harvesting like our Leicestershire fox!” Yep, not one I’d rush back to though pleasant enough sitting in the garden of a pub on the banks or a river on a reasonably warm July night. 4.0% A.B.V. The Swan on the River , Littleport, Cambridgeshire. July 2017.