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Showing posts from 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.