Tuesday, 24 July 2018

544: Wychwood - Ripsaw

20180624_200601The brewery: “..tucked away behind the main street of the market town of Witney, in the heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Witney is historically famous for it’s three b’s; it’s bread, it’s blankets and it’s beer. Brewing has taken place in Witney for centuries.”

The beer: “Rich red beer using rye malt. The spicy hop aroma from Cascade and Topaz hops entice you in, while the distinctive caramelised flavours from the rye malt enhance the beer. “

Not on the Wychwood website so presumably a special  - probably for Aldi as that’s where I bought it. Not sure about the maple syrup twist but it was very refreshing for a red ale. 4.2% A.B.V. June 2018

Sunday, 24 June 2018

543: Elgoods – Warrior

20180623_210429The Brewery: “The North Brink Brewery was built in 1795 and the brewhouse is a classic English Ale brewery and Elgood’s proudly carry on the brewing of their own beers for local and wider distribution across the UK. The process is carried out using equipment dating from 1910 to the present day, as a program of refurbishment of the brewery has been sympathetically carried out over the last few years.”

The Beer: “Warrior is a truly traditional style English Bitter Ale…..A blend of finest Pale Ale, Amber and Crystal malt is used for the fruity malty flavour and generous portions of English Hop varieties (Challenger, Goldings and Fuggles) give a well developed hop character.

Full bodied but without tasting ‘syrupy’ this deserves to be sipped rather than sloshed back to make the most of the flavour. I liked it. 5.5% A.B.V. June 2018

542: Hattie Brown’s – Kirrin Island

20180623_162314The Brewery: “Home of the most marvellous beers from the first brewery located in Swanage, Dorset in over 100 years.”

Hattie had nothing to say about this beer – on the website anyway, but this was much more to my taste than the Moonlite – darker and more of a traditional bitter. 4.5% A.B.V. June 2018.

541: Hattie Brown’s – Moonlite

20180622_202158The Brewery: “Home of the most marvellous beers from the first brewery located in Swanage, Dorset in over 100 years.”

The Beer: “The marvellous Moonlite….shining brightly throughout the night…”

Hattie is clearly a woman of few words it seems. Anyway, another ale from Dorset thanks to friends Sam & Andy. A very pale ale, quite hoppy that didn’t really hit the spot for me. Quite refreshing though if served colder I would think. 4.0% A.B.V. June 2018

540: Bournemouth Brewing Co - Sandbanks Bitter

20180620_202546The Brewery: “Our recipes have been dated back to 1927! It was only in early 2012 when a family member acquired a modest 1 barrel brewplant did things really start getting exciting!….A fury of experimentation, tweaking of old recipes and some good-old fashioned “taste trials” were found to all go down very positively with friends and family that we decided to take the plunge and do it for real!……..After a few hardships with leasing premises, planning permissions and rugby-related injuires, the brewery eventually found its way to its new home on the Nuffield industrial estate (Poole) in 2013. – not quite in Bournemouth; but beggars can’t be choosers!

The Beer: “…a rich chestnut colour. This exceptionally smooth tasting beer has a slightly caramel flavour that produces a strong bitter sweet finish.”

Just 3.9% A.B.V but very flavoursome although it was just a tad too sweet for me. Wouldn’t say no to another though. Thank again go to friends Sam & Andy for their contribution to my ‘research’ project. June 2018.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

539: Joseph Holt - Humdinger

20180618_204048The Brewery: “We are lucky that we have been brewing at the same Brewery since 1860, so everyday we are reminded of the values and beliefs that drove a man to set up a Brewery in central Manchester. This experience, passion and drive, influences everything we do. We like to think that if Joseph was about today, he would be pleased with the progress and proud that his stamp is still very much on the Brewery. We are incredibly proud of our rich history as an independent family brewer based in Manchester.”

The Beer: “Refreshing multi-award winning ale with subtle undertones of honey. Brewed with a blend of the finest English malt, Mexican aroma honey and citrus whole hops.”

One of a number procured during the latest Aldi beer festival and my favourite. Everything my taste buds like was here it seemed - I wish I’d bought more than one. It accompanied an England win in the football World Cup too which maybe helped!

4.1% A.B.V June 2018.

538: Cerne Abbas - Watercress Warrior

20180617_203153The Brewery: “In 2016 after over 130 years brewing returned to Cerne Abbas. The brewery is now nestled into the Cerne Valley, our barley is grown by Dorset’s longest standing organic farmer Will Best at his Manor Farm in Godmanstone.  Once spent, the barley returns to Manor Farm and Pound Farm in Nether Cerne to feed the dairy herds minimising waste and food miles. We use exceptional ingredients to recreate the beer Cerne Abbas was once so famous for and exported to New York and London.  The green sand geology of the area makes the water supremely ideal for beer making.”

The Beer: “This brew is that rare and special thing formed when the finest ingredients of UK watercress, mineral-rich spring water and Flyer hops combine to provide a “sharp slap around the chops” followed by a “floral cuddle” to make up.”

The first of a gift from a caravanning friend all from his home county of Dorset - thank you Andy. The first mouthful was a little sharp and not didn’t particularly endear itself to my fussy palate but it did improve with subsequent slurps. 4.5% A.B.V. June 2018

537: Hambleton Ales - Session Pale

20180616_213255The Brewery: “Armed with nothing more than a pair of wellies, some old steel tanks and a rusty Peugeot 205, Nick built his brewery with blood, sweat and tears. Why did he do this? Simply because he wanted to make great beer.Today demand has meant that we have moved out of the garden, and we also have  slightly shinier tanks, but Nick’s original ambition still stands. We love making great beer. That’s what we do best and everything we do revolves around that fact.So whether you are drinking one of our much loved cask, keg or bottled beers, or trying one of our monthly specials, you can be sure that you are drinking a beer of outstanding quality, brewed with real passion, by people who just want one simple thing – to make great beer.”

The Beer: “The best Yorkshire malt, water and Yakima Valley hops come together to produce an easy drinking, low ABV session beer.”

I’ll be honest - I didn’t have high hopes for this when I poured it. I know it was a pale but it looked pretty unappealing to me however. Proof though that looks aren’t everything was in the taste. Whilst it’s not a beer I’d choose over an amber bitter say it was very quaffable, particularly a bit colder and on a nice summers evening. Don’t use it to wash down a pack of Cheddars though - a very different flavour developed.

3.8% A.B.V. June 2018

536: Felinfoel - Dragon’s Heart

20180608_210324The Brewery: “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: “A new permanent addition to our canned craft ale range. At 4.5% this is a full drinking premium Welsh Ale which is malty and gently hopped. Dragons Heart has a rich colour and smooth balanced character with lots of red fruit flavour and buttery overtones.”

A welcome addition to the Felinfoel stable, procured I think when Aldi’s beer festival was on, so a bargain price too. A tasty drop.4.5% A.B.V. June 2018.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

535: Hammerpot – Madgwick Gold

20180520_145548The Brewery: “Hammerpot Brewery was founded in 2005 with the aim of handcrafting authentic premium real ales. Within a year, its founder Lee Mitchell had created an award winning beer, Woodcote Bitter. Growing production to a ten barrel plant, by 2012 Lee had created the Champion Porter of Great Britain, crowned at that year’s CAMRA Winter Ales festival……

……The ales are brewed near the tiny hamlet of Hammerpot, near Arundel, using water from the South Downs and carefully selected hops, malted barley and wheat. Production is sustainable too – from forgoing mechanisation for traditional hand bottling, through to ensuring the spent grains from production are not wasted but feed animals on the local farm.”

The Beer: “A medium bodied golden ale with a fresh citrus spice hop aroma. Smooth malt sweetness balanced with a refreshing, thirst quenching finish. BRONZE Strong Beers Macclesfield Beer Festival 2009. BEER OF THE FESTIVAL, CAMRA WHITE CLIFFS FESTIVAL, 2015.”

Guesting at our local it takes an exceptional beer to trump the usually excellent Harveys Sussex Best Bitter. This didn’t do that but it was very drinkable although it certainly didn’t have the body expected of a beer of this strength. Always nice to sample local brews though. 5.0% A.B.V.

The Rottingdean Club, East Sussex. May 2018

534: Caledonia – Outpost I.P.A.

20180430_145031The Brewery: “Caledonia Ales are a range of Scottish beers to suit every occasion. By combining the highland water from Loch Katrine with the finest Scottish malted barley, hops and yeast, we have created a family of beers that are unmistakably Scottish.”

The Beer:Caledonia Outpost IPA has some subtle fruity / estery notes. These are dominated by strong malty grainy flavours along with a punchy hoppy character. The beer is distinctly bitter with a lingering bitter aftertaste as you would expect from an IPA. The beer has a warming alcoholic effect on the throat. This beer is medium to full bodied.

Flavour Profile: Malt, Crystal malt, it is triple hopped using German Herkules hop for bittering, then US Cascade as a late hop and nally dry hopped using more Cascade post fermentation.”

Yep, I liked this, what you expect of an IPA. Nice stuff. 5.0% A.B.V. June 2018

Saturday, 16 June 2018

533: Caledonia – Hop Scotch

20180430_145018The Brewery: “Caledonia Ales are a range of Scottish beers to suit every occasion. By combining the highland water from Loch Katrine with the finest Scottish malted barley, hops and yeast, we have created a family of beers that are unmistakably Scottish.”

The Beer:Hop Scotch has a slightly fruit/ester nose, with a smokey/woody/ cloves flavor, vanilla flavor is also detected. It has a slight warming effect on the palate due to the presence of higher alcohols. Caledonia Oak Aged is slightly sweet with a clear bitterness and some after-bitterness and astringency.This beer is medium bodied.

Flavour Profile: Malt, coloured malts (brown & amber), barley, wheat: Blend of 4 hops: US and German Herkules, Super Styrian, Tettnang. It is Hybrid – part lager part ale.”

Another one procured during our trip to the North East at the end of March. Different but enjoyable with a nice balance of flavours end strength. 5.0% A.B.V. June 2018

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

532: Broughton - Old Jock

20180518_210217The Brewery: “Broughton Brewery was founded in 1979 by David Younger and James Collins in a former sheep station in the wee village of Broughton in the Scottish Borders. It was the first initiated Scottish microbrewery, which appealed to customers looking for a new “craft beer” experience outside the traditional mass-produced lager and exports. Scots, wanted something more, something dynamic, different, and with real flavour, hop character, and taste……

In 1995, Broughton underwent a change of ownership and was taken over by, Giles Litchfield of Derbyshire’s Whim Ales, who introduced the now famous “Beers with Character” slogan which was a family of 10 bottled ales. These beers AGAIN, showed Broughton’s effort to not only produce small hand crafted ale, but to stay innovative, defiant and forward thinking when it came to making good beer!”.

The Beer: “This dark red ale has a full-bodied flavour of malt on an excellent background of hop bitterness. The sweet malt offsets the fruity bitterness of the Perle and Bramling Cross. Savour this ale like a fine wine. Old Jock is a classic Scottish Ale and like all strong ales is best enjoyed at room temperature 10-12 deg C.”

I’m not sold on their idea of room temperature! But seriously this was a powerhouse of a beer. Definitely one to be sipped and savoured rather than sloshed back in readiness for another or you’ll be reaching for the paracetamol. 6.7% A.B.V.

May 2018

531: Broughton - Hopopotamus

20180430_144946The Brewery: “Broughton Brewery was founded in 1979 by David Younger and James Collins in a former sheep station in the wee village of Broughton in the Scottish Borders. It was the first initiated Scottish microbrewery, which appealed to customers looking for a new “craft beer” experience outside the traditional mass-produced lager and exports. Scots, wanted something more, something dynamic, different, and with real flavour, hop character, and taste……

In 1995, Broughton underwent a change of ownership and was taken over by, Giles Litchfield of Derbyshire’s Whim Ales, who introduced the now famous “Beers with Character” slogan which was a family of 10 bottled ales. These beers AGAIN, showed Broughton’s effort to not only produce small hand crafted ale, but to stay innovative, defiant and forward thinking when it came to making good beer!”

The Beer: “This insanely dry hopped pale ale will blow your palate away with its extreme fruity, hoppy flavour AND zesty punch. HOPopotamus is only for the boldest hop seekers.”

I found this quite refreshing. Not my favourite style of beer but served a bit colder it was very drinkable.

May 2018

Monday, 30 April 2018

530: Tiny Rebel - Fugg Life

20180330_151918The Brewery: “We are Tiny Rebel, an award-winning brewery from Newport, South Wales.We are the youngest and only Welsh brewery to win Champion beer of Britain. We are the only brewery to have won gold, silver and bronze in the Champion Beer of Wales competition (in our first year!) and the only brewery to defend a gold the following year.”

The Beer: “British hops like Fuggles may not be trendy like their American cousins, but they live the Fugg Life. Our Brit PA is wholly hopped using British hops. Rather than the fruity, citrussy flavours imparted by American and Pacific hops, their British cousins give an earthy, woody flavour that makes for perfect bittering. An easy drinking 4.2% pale ale, Fugg Life delivers a rich bitterness before a clean, dry finish.”

Tasted better than it looked - had I seen how pale it was I might have chosen something else but it was very enjoyable if still a little ‘zingy’. 4.2% A.B.V.

The Head of Steam, Tynemouth. March 2016

529: Exmoor - Stag

20180405_192612The Brewery: “Founded in 1979, Exmoor Ales was one of the pioneer ‘Micro Breweries’ to stand against the onslaught of keg ale flooding the market from the ‘Big Brewers’. We concentrated on crafting ales of character and flavour which gained the support of the public and helped lead to the cask ale revival of the early eighties. That we were following the right path was confirmed when, with only our 13th ever brew, our 3.8% session bitter simply know as Exmoor Ale, was named Champion Best Bitter in the 1980 Great British Beer Festival”

The Beer: “Back in 1991, Somerset County Cricket Club celebrated its 100th anniversary and Exmoor produced Stag to celebrate the occasion. Initially produced in bottle, this full-bodied copper-coloured strong ale has gone on to become a vital part of the brewery’s cask-conditioned portfolio…… The nose is rich with resiny hop aromas to the fore followed by a biscuity maltiness in the background. On the palate a voluminous malty character with hints of chocolate and toffee is matched note for note with a well defined and warming fruitiness, before a giddy descent where a long dry finish where a hint of sweetness keeps matters well mannered. “

Yep, powerful stuff - a real punch of flavours. Not one to slosh back but to be enjoyed slowly. 5.2% A.B.V

The White Hart, Warboys, Cambridgeshire. April 2018

Friday, 27 April 2018

528: Coniston - Bluebird Bitter

20180328_220115The Brewery: “The Coniston Brewing Company, with its roots in the hotel and licensed trade knows a thing or two about giving their discerning customers quality and service. Ian Bradley, son of the owners of the Black Bull in Coniston, has studied and graduated in the art of brewing, and in 1995 the Coniston Brewing Co. was built: you might say, since then, Ian’s brews have gone from strength to strength! Six beers in regular production yield an output of 1600 gallons a week for distribution to 100 customer outlets. Acclaim is not limited to the U.K. alone, bottled varieties of Bluebird and Old Man are shipped to the U.S.A., Sweden and Hong Kong.”

The Beer: “It is, quite simply, a wonderful beer. It is exceedingly pale (21-22 units colour), with just a hint of colour in its cheeks from the dash of crystal malt. It has a massive orange fruit aroma from the challengers, balanced by biscuity malt.”

I first tried this back in 2012 - at the Black Bull - when we stayed at the caravan site in Coniston. I remember enjoying it then so was so glad of the chance for another taste. Paler than I would normally like but a nice easy going session beer. 3.6% A.B.V. April 2018.

527: Hadrian Border - Farne Island

20180327_160840The Brewery: “….in 1994 we took over the Border Brewery Company in Berwick upon Tweed. This was an 8 barrel brew plant with 15 barrels of fermenting capacity, selling 2 barrels per week at that time. Very soon we had to add more fermenters, by 1999 we had the capacity to brew 35 barrels per week and were rapidly reaching that limit of sales. At that time Farne Island was the best selling beer and it was being brewed twice a week to keep up with demand. The search was on for a bigger plant. In 2000 the Four Rivers brewery in Byker Newcastle went into liquidation, there was a 20 barrel plant available. We had looked for premises around Berwickshire but had drawn a blank, we had nowhere to put this large brewery if we bought it so we decided to buy the whole business from the liquidators and relocate ourselves and the existing business to Tyneside. The Four Rivers had originally been called the Hadrian Brewery so we changed the company name to Hadrian and Border, the Border, now north of Berwick and Hadrian’s wall were one and the same thing, just in different locations and eras.”

The Beer: “An amber coloured bitter, perfectly blended malt and hops makes this well-rounded beer balanced and refreshing”

My awkward palate disagreed and found this just a little too hoppy. A decent pint though. 4.0% A.B.V

The Beehive, Earsdon, Tyne & Wear. March 2018

526: Bath Ales - Anthem

20180327_152201The Brewery: “Bath Ales brewed its first beer in 1995 at a tiny brewery in Wincanton, Somerset. Since then the brewery has moved twice, but the beer we make and the Hare that proudly adorns our beers remains the same – with a bit of a refresh along the way. Founded by Roger Jones and Richard Dempster, the pair brought on Rab Clark, a local publican, because he was willing to sell their first beer. Demand for Bath Gem quickly spread though, and as business grew the brewery bought its own pub, the Hare on the Hill, and moved production to Bristol.”

The Beer: “this sessionable amber ale is full of citrus and peach aromas that balance perfectly with a grapefruit bitterness. This easy-drinking ale is perfect paired with salty pub snacks such as crisps, peanuts and pork ...….”

That was all I could grab at the time as the link to the full page didn’t work. I’m a fan of Bath Ales thanks to their delicious Gem, but this didn’t excite sadly. Nothing wrong with it, it just wasn’t to my taste. 3.8% A.B.V

The Melton Constable, Seaton Sluice, Tyne & Wear. March 2018

525: Wylam - Angel

20180326_190455The Brewery: “Our Brewery has come a fairly long way since our founding fathers John Boyle & Robin Leighton pawed over their first malt bills and recipes in a potting shed in the village of Wylam, Northumberland. Our brews are now enjoyed in quality pubs and bottle shops across the land and further beyond……Founded in 2000 Wylam is a 30 Barrel Micro Brewery that resides at the Palace of Arts in Exhibition Park.”

The Beer: “This pale copper amber ale is a well-balanced bitter with a citrus character in the aroma and a rich, spicy finish driven by the Cascade hop.”

Yep, a little too heavy on the citrus for my awkward palate but I could have drank another. 4.3% A.B.V

The Delaval Arms, Old Hartley, Tyne & Wear. March 2018

Friday, 30 March 2018

524: Campbells - Gunner

20180325_141643The Brewery: “Campbells brewery was established in 2017 in Peebles by Murray Campbell. We are a team absolutely dedicated to producing the finest ales in Scotland. Our brewers, Isaac Knowles-Gruft, Mark Harrison and Craig Barrett are incredibly skilled and passionate and their mission is always to source top quality malts and hops to produce the very best cask and bottle-conditioned ales.”

The Beer: “Gunner Blonde is the first beer that we have brought out on to the market and we are having so much success with this we have had to increase the number of our fermentation vessels to keep up with demand. Gunner Blonde is a lovely well balanced blonde ale brewed with German bittering hops and finished with delicious American hops creating an absolutely delicious pint.”

So, a REALLY young brewery. I tell you what though, even though this is not my favourite style of ale  I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to more beers from Campbells. 4.5% A.B.V

The Island View Inn, Berwick-upon-Tweed. March 2018

523: Crossborders - Porter

20180324_182811The Brewery. There’s lots more on the website but here’s a taster: “1990 – Gary and Jonny meet, aged 9, at the Kinross after-school gulag and bond over custard creams and table football. Gary wins the football. Jonny eats most of the biscuits. Instant friends……….2010 – The boys decide to start a brewery. Jonny goes back to school, is told that he can’t repeat Primary Six a third time, so instead enrols at Heriot Watt to study Brewing and Distilling. Gary makes him his packed lunch in a Power Rangers lunch box…..2016 – Gary and Jonny officially launch Cross Borders Brewing Company in July 2016 at the Stockbridge Tap in Edinburgh. Gary works hard on the business paperwork; Jonny makes him his packed lunch in a carrier bag. He’d left the Power Rangers lunch box at work.”

The Beer: “Flavours of roasted coffee & chocolate with a helping of oats make this easy drinking porter extra smooth.”

Yes, it was easy drinking and yes it was extra smooth. A tasty Porter that I’d happily drink again. 4.2% A.B.V

The Brown Bear, Berwick-upon-Tweed. March 2018

522: The Orkney Brewery - Puffin Ale

20180323_213931The Brewery: “….Our processes create only the finest hand-crafted ales, using the traditional methods developed and handed down through time. Only the finest ingredients and purest Orcadian water can create these outstanding, full-of-flavour ales. So next time you sip one of our brews, you can be sure it was made with the best malt, hops, yeast, Orcadian water — and a long, long history of making quality ales……”

The Beer: “Deep Tawny Ale- smooth and nutty…….Rich nutty malt, sweet smooth blackcurrant and lemon mousse leading to blackcurrant leaf and wood notes with a dry woody, spicy nutmeg finish”


This is the second beer I got to try from Orkney on this trip and again it didn’t disappoint. A lovely mix of flavours. 4.5% A.B.V. March 2018

521: Mordue - Radgie Gadgie

20180323_203936The Brewery: “Mordue Brewery is one of the UK’s most successful craft breweries of the last 20 years. Mordue Brewery have a history of winning national beer awards commencing with our very first ever brand, Workie Ticket, which went on to win Champion Beer of Britain shortly after we started business. We brew craft beer to the very highest standards and have done from the first day of brewing 20 years ago. We started with the express intention of brewing beer better than the beers that were available at the time. Our commitment to innovation and improvement hasn't wavered in the subsequent years - this is why we continually win awards for our new beers. This means that we are both established, yet at the cutting edge, our brewery is based just east of Newcastle and is equipped with state of the art equipment.”

The Beer: “Premium strength northern ale balancing leafy hops, berry fruit and malt.”

Reminded me of one of those ales that appear around Christmas time but that’s not a bad thing - to my palate anyway. A nice drop. 4.8% A.B.V. March 2018.

520: The Orkney Brewery - Dark Island

20180322_174548The Brewery: “….Our processes create only the finest hand-crafted ales, using the traditional methods developed and handed down through time. Only the finest ingredients and purest Orcadian water can create these outstanding, full-of-flavour ales. So next time you sip one of our brews, you can be sure it was made with the best malt, hops, yeast, Orcadian water — and a long, long history of making quality ales……”

The Beer: “Dark Island is an iconic beer: The Orkney Brewery's flagship beer. Exhibiting a ripe fruity, chocolate nose, Dark Island is balanced by flavours of dark Chocolate, dried fruit, figs and nuts from the combination of roasted malts and rich hops. A standard-bearer for traditional Scottish ales. In cask, this beer has twice won CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Scotland.”

Yeah, I like a drop of the dark stuff now and again and this didn’t disappoint. Robust at 4.6% A.B.V without being overpowering.

519: Dark Revolution - Elektra

20180322_170128What they say: “We use the finest floor malted grains, fresh hops and multiple strains of fresh brewers yeast and microbes. Ingredients are chosen simply for their contribution to the product rather than the effect on bottom line. Our beer is then handled as carefully as possible with the minimum of processing to create the best beer possible. We constantly strive to improve. Looking to modern peers, ancestors and our own experimentation. Beers that evolve and change over time. Embracing new ingredients, technology and innovation.”


The Beer: “Deep red colour with dominant fruit and malt aromas. Heavy late hopping with Amarillo and Citra lends a delicate orange and lemon aroma to balance the deep malt character.”

Didn’t really work for me to be honest. I found the flavours a bit confusing. having had a look at their range though I’m looking forward to further ‘research’ into Dark Revolution’s product when the opportunity arises. 4.4% A.B.V.

The Guildford Arms, Edinburgh. March 2018

Monday, 26 February 2018

518: Saltaire – South Island Pale

20180225_195639The Brewery: “International award-winning Saltaire Brewery is in Shipley, West Yorkshire. Formed in 2005, it has enjoyed brewing hand crafted ales since 2006. Our beers have won more than 100 trade awards, including two national championship brews and two international gold medals for our Triple Chocoholic Stout. “

The Beer: “One of our most popular cask ales – bottled for the first time! A clean beer with cool, crisp, fruitiness from New Zealand hops grown at Tasman Bay. It’s a flavoursome beer that belies its lower ABV.”

Yeah, a bit fruity for me but they’ve really packed some flavour into a nice light beer. Just 3.5% A.B.V but tastes stronger. I’ve said it many times before about this style of beer – but served a bit colder on a warm summers night it would go down really well indeed.

February 2018


517: Hepworth – Sussex

DWWHPTHWkAAVquS.jpg largeThe Brewery: “Hepworths, based in Stane Street Pulborough, West Sussex, are award winning brewers of Craft Beer and contemporary  beers made with the honed skills of craftsmen. Acclaimed as Supreme Champion in 2012, our success is attributable to the high quality of our ingredients, the traditional methods we employ and the long experience that results in the perfect pint.

And, in fact, a lot of pints. Currently over 2 million, mostly currently consumed in the South East, but some exported for appreciation in Russia, Norway and Italy

The beer: “Sussex is a well hopped traditional Pale Ale. Thirst quenching and traditionally brewed with the finest Sussex grown ingredients: malted barley, Golding and Admiral Hops. It carries the ‘Warranty of Origin’ to guarantee our commitment to creating excellent beers from the highest quality local ingredients.”

Another local ale from  over the border in West Sussex, it didn’t offend but neither did it excite – but then it’s not my favourite style of beer. Easy drinking though at just 3.5% A.B.V so great for a ‘school’ night.

February 2018

516: Harveys – Copperwheat

20180222_203006What they say: “Copperwheat is named after the fictitious Lewes brewers in Mrs. Dudeny’s novel ‘Seed Pods’ (1927). Originally inspired by SIBA’s Wheat Beer challenge in 2001. It is best served chilled.

Tasting Notes: Brewed with malted wheat and barley, this ‘Kristal Weissbier’ contains only English hops. Harveys own brewing liquor and yeast strain are employed but the result is a very continental flavour. It has been described as “wheat and sweet” but it still retains the typical dry palate and is extremely moreish.”

Really liked this and loved the of dryness and didn’t find it too sweet. Should have chilled it a little more though. 4.8% A.B.V.

February 2018

515: Vale Brewery – Red Kite

20180205_205620What they say: “Deep red in colour, reminiscent of it’s avian namesake, with big malt flavours and a strong hop finish.” 

Another tasty beer from the gang at Vale, the malt flavours did a good job of reigning in those hops for my fussy palate. 4.3% A.B.V.

February 2018

Monday, 5 February 2018

514: McMullen - Hertford Castle

20180204_200119UntitledWhat they say: “A fine brew from McMullen at The Whole Hop Brewery, combining natural whole leaf arome hops, best Suffolk malted barley and McMullen’s own pure spring water. Late hopping adds a subtlety to the traditional recipe, creating a truly distinctive taste for the ale connoisseur.”

I first tried McMullen beers just over a year ago at one of their pubs near Enfield and enjoyed them all so was delighted to find another, this time in bottled form. Strong, but didn’t taste especially so to my palate. Enjoyed. 5.0% A.B.V. February 2018.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

513: Tring – Ridgeway

20180203_210723What they say: “An ever popular stalwart of our range, Ridgeway is defined by the finest UK malts balanced with the fruity characteristics of Styrian Goldings hops. This is a classic English ale at it’s most refined and drinkable……..We particularly like this one with rich hearty meals. A boeuf bourguignon or mushroom stroganoff on a cold winters evening.”

Well, I didn’t get to pair this with anything as exotic but it did make a very nice accompaniment to a packet of cheddars.  This was the first beer I’ve tried from this Hertfordshire brewery, procured during our stay at the Wyatts Covert CAMC site in Denham, Bucks in October 2017. It’s been sitting in the cupboard for far too long. An enjoyable pint,  well 500ml then! 4.0% A.B.V.

February 2018

Monday, 29 January 2018

512: Vale Brewery – Black Beauty

20180128_200231What they say: “An award winning wholesome, full bodied porter. Intense roasted flavours give way to a wonderful hop flavoured finish.”

Procured during our stay at Wyatts Covert caravan site in Denham, Buckinghamshire so quite local – at the time anyway. A nice drop and the hop finish was pleasant without being over-powering. 4.4% A.B.V

January 2018

Thursday, 25 January 2018

511: Thornbridge – Jaipur

WP_20171213_20_26_25_ProWhat they say: “A citrus dominated India Pale Ale, its immediate impression is soft and smooth yet builds to a crescendo of massive hoppiness accentuated by honey. An enduring, bitter finish.”

Not my first Thornbridge beer but one I’ve seen around a fair bit. Not really my thing as you might have guessed from their description but potent stuff at 5.9% A.B.V.

Attimore Hall, Welwyn-Garden-City. December 2017

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

510: Shepherd Neame – Rudolph’s Reward

What they say: “Originally developed in our pilot brewery, the seasonal ale is among the collection of innovative limited edition No.18 Yard Brewhouse beers, named after the historic cask store. It is a light brown malty ale featuring pale and crystal malts and Target and East Kent Goldings hops, with mulling spices added at the end of the brew.”
Not usual dark fruity and malty Christmas ale it was quite light with just a hint of spicyness that livelier foods would probably drown out. Pleasant enough but didn’t over excite. 3.7% A.B.V.
Attimore Hall, Welwyn-Garden-City. Hertfordshire. December 2017

509: Youngs – London Gold (cask)

What they say: “a lovely refreshing summery beer which is a light, golden and full flavoured bottle conditioned beer with a refreshing bite.”
The last time I tried this was in it’s bottled form – when it was sadly cloudy due to being out of date.  This was better – not my favourite style of beer as regulars will know, but it was all that was on offer and I did have a second. As I’ve said before – served a bit colder it would be lovely on a hot summers’ night. 4.0% A.B.V.
Coopers Grill House, Welwyn-Garden-City. December 2017

Sunday, 21 January 2018

508: Nene Valley – Nene Valley Bitter

20171227_192937What they say: “A smooth, full-bodied, pale chestnut traditional bitter for everyday drinking”

No argument with that. A good all around bitter from this East Anglian brewery that can now boast that most of their beers are gluten free.

Found on a return visit to a pub I first tried to get into over 20 years ago. The owner was rather ‘eccentric’ to put it nicely and I was told by the barman – who was camper than a row of tents – that they “don’t serve men with earrings”!

Not cheap but great food – the steaks were divine.

The Tickell Arms, Whittlesford, Cambridge. December 2017

507: Mordue – Howay in a Manger

20171229_202809What they say: “Mid Brown fruity Christmas beer packs plenty of flavour.”

Pretty much the bog standard ‘Christmas’ ale I thought but eminently drinkable. Would always take their Workie Ticket but would love to come across more from their range.

The Robin Hood. Cherry Hinton, Cambridge. December 2017.

Monday, 8 January 2018

506: Turpin’s – Red Nose

20171227_192931What they say: “This winter ale is copper colour, has malty, fruity and slightly sweet flavours, hoppy and a bit spicy finish.”

Another local brew that I got to sample during our extended stay in Cambridge over Christmas and this was brewed just over 3 miles away. The usual winter warmer but not loaded with alcohol like some. Would happily drink again and would love to try some of their regular ales, particularly the Cambridge Black. 3.9% A.B.V. Great steaks here too.

The Tickell Arms, Whittlesford, Cambridge. December 2017

505: Slaters – Premium Best Bitter

20171222_170946What they say:Rich amber coloured beer with hints of caramel, malt and a complex fruity hop aroma developing a bitter finish and balancing the well-rounded 'malty mouthfeel'.”

Oh yum. This was nice. The name is spot on – a great example of a Best Bitter which I enjoyed rather too much when meeting up with some old friends in this great village boozer that keeps a wide selection of real ales. 4.4% A.B.V.

The Red Lion, Histon, Cambridgeshire. December 2017

504: Crafty Beers – Carpenter’s Cask

20171221_174029What they say: “An easy-drinking traditional bitter with plenty of malt flavours and moderate bitterness”

Well, they may not say a lot but this was a truly lovely pint, brewed just 15 miles away by this young (2012) brewery. Very easy drinking and I hope to come across more of their range in the future. A great pub too that are really enthusiastic about their beer. 3.8% A.B.V.

The Three Horseshoes, Stapleford, Cambridgeshire. December 2017

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

503: Great Heck – Black Santa

20171219_201315What they say: “Warm yourself against the icy blast with this delicious, rich festive stout. Flavoured with a hint of real vanilla pods and English hops. Black Santa is fermented with a Belgian yeast strain which imparts a surprisingly easy drinking nature to the beer as well as some fruity top notes to complement the vanilla.”

It was certainly easy drinking despite weighing in at 5.4% A.B.V. Slightly fruitier than I would have preferred but still very enjoyable.

The Queen Edith, Cambridge. December 2017

502: Navigation – Smokin’ Joe

20171219_201312What they say: “Dark smoked porter packing a power punch for the end of the year. Dark and smokey, a tangy transatlantic affair with a peculiar hint of liquorish.”

Ooh yum. Light on the hops and fruit and heavy on the malt. A great seasonal ale from this Nottinghamshire brewery in that most rare of beasts – a pub that was knocked down then rebuilt.

The Queen Edith, Cambridge. December 2017