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Showing posts from January, 2018

512: Vale Brewery – Black Beauty

What 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

511: Thornbridge – Jaipur

What 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

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 The last time I tried this was in it’s bottled form – when it was sadly cloudy due to being out of date.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

508: Nene Valley – Nene Valley Bitter

What 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

What 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.

506: Turpin’s – Red Nose

What 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

What 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

What 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

503: Great Heck – Black Santa

What 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

What 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