Monday, 16 September 2019

618: J.W. Lees | Manchester Pale Ale

20190819_205702The Brewery: “JW Lees is a family brewery company, founded in 1828 by retired cotton manufacturer John Lees. We’re based in Middleton in the North West of Manchester and own JW Lees Brewery, JW Lees Pubs, The Alderley Edge Hotel, The Trearddur Bay Hotel and Willoughby’s Wine Merchants. We’re a sixth-generation family business which employs over 1,200 people, 140 at the brewery and site in Middleton Junction and over 1,000 in our 42 managed pubs, inns and hotels.”

The Beer: “Our refreshingly Mancunian pale ale gives ale lovers a similar hop-packed offering to its American equivalents. It's a golden ale that’s made entirely from all-British malt, Liberty and Mount Hood hops. It’s a post-industrial Manchester classic “

The last from the Lidl beer festival was far too hoppy for me. Nothing wrong with it, just not to my taste. 4.1% A.B.V. August 2019. Related entries

617: Williams Bros. | March of the Penguins

20190818_195555The Brewery: “Williams Bros. Brewing Co. is located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire and is set in the old George Younger’s bottling hall in Kelliebank. Although now producing an eclectic range of Craft Beers for the international market, the Brotherhood 'Brew House' is steeped in Scottish tradition and remains the last bastion of brewing in a town, which was once regarded as 'Scotland's Beer Capital'…..In 1998 we built the Craigmill brewery in Strathaven, which became our base of operations for the next 6 years until we took over the ‘Forth Brewery’ in Alloa, where we have been happily brewing, bottling, kegging & now even canning beer ever since.”

The Beer: “This creamy dark stout, deep chocolate in colour has a nose of roast malts, coffee, liquorice & orange peel. The aromas carry on into the flavour with a smooth mouthfeel, rich malty start, fresh hoppy middle & a delicious lingering sweet orange after taste. Sure to get you marching again on those cold winter evenings.”

Another from the Lidl beer festival and another very enjoyable beer. I do like the occasional stout and this was good. 4.9% A.B.V. August 2019. Related entries.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

616: Black Sheep | Venus & Mars

20190818_161242The Brewery: “In 1992, Paul Theakston took a daring leap into the unknown. As a fifth generation brewer of his family company, he chose to leave T&R Theakstons following its sale to a national brewery. Instead, he chose to champion independent brewing in Yorkshire and built his own brewery from reclaimed equipment in the very same town, Masham. Paul is the Black Sheep.”

The Beer: “Our shepherds looked to the sky and across the universe. Venus, Goddess of beauty seduces the God of agriculture, Mars, to produce a beer which is out of this world….Venus & Mars is a perfectly balanced pint brewed with First Gold, Summit and Chinook hops to offer vibrant flavours of pine, stone fruit and orange pith. Pale ale and caramalt provide a sturdy backbone of smooth caramel.”

Another from the Lidl ale festival, this didn’t hit the spot - a little too fruity for my fussy palate. Nowt wrong with it, it just wasn’t for me. 4.5% A.B.V. August 2019. Related entries.

615: Felinfoel | ESB

20190817_192544The Brewery: “From the brewery that brought you the World’s first craft ale in a can… We have been producing our beer in cans since 1935 which makes us the oldest canners of craft beer in the world……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: “Felinfoel ESB has a marvellously robust bitter ale giving lots of good body and a fruity aftertaste. A nice long finish on the palate with hints of toffee apple flavours.”

First up of a handful of beers procured during the Lidl Ale Festival and what an opener. I’ve always enjoyed the more popular Double Dragon and was keen to see how this compared. Delicious - a bit fuller bodied than DD and that worked really well. Loved this. 4.6% A.B.V. August 2019. Related entries.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

614: Poppyland | Saison IPA

20190812_195339The Brewery: “Now in its seventh year of operation Poppyland Brewery has gained a reputation for doing different. For me, Martin Warren the Poppyland Brewer, it has been a challenge in semi-retirement, a means of self expression and it helped to satisfy my creative instincts. It made a small living too. As an ex-museum curator I couldn't help myself from revelling in the character and culture of North Norfolk and I reflected this in my beers. I have produced extraordinary ales that were far removed from industrial beer found in supermarkets or even beer found in British pubs. I have been exploring just what beer can be, using the best ingredients and new techniques, seeking to innovate and aiming to really please my customers. I often drew inspiration from the local environment and local history. Where I could I used local ingredients - wild and cultivated. Where I couldn't, I got the best ingredients from all over the world - like hops and yeasts.”

The Beer: “Golden colour. Grapefruit aroma. Intense, luscious, mouth-puckering hops hit you immediately. The bitterness is combined with complex citrus fruit flavours and a wild note from the yeast which, when combined with the delicious flavour of the Maris Otter malt, makes your mouth water. This beer is huge and dry and it is difficult not to chug it down because of the sledgehammer citrus zest but at 7.2% it needs to be drunk more slowly, swilling the beer around your mouth to savour all that it has to offer before swallowing it off and coming back for another gulp. It is long: the hoppy bitterness and fruit flavours will linger on the tongue for ages. Brewed with pale Maris Otter malt, high colour Munich, oats and malted wheat and sucrose. Hopped with Ella, Centennial, Cascade, Columbus and Summit. Fermented with a Belgian saison yeast.”

Yep. Quality undoubted but as you may have guessed, not my thing. Powerful stuff though, both in flavour and A.B.V. August 2019

613: Lacons | Legacy

20190811_115309The Brewery: “Based in Great Yarmouth, Lacons Brewery is home to Lacons Encore, the award-winning amber beer. Our brewing team is passionate about using the finest ingredients to create amazing beers and our range includes bitter, pale ale, aged stout and a lager amongst others. Above all, we love beer and we want to make sure that when you buy a pint of Lacons you can see what all the fuss is about.”

The Beer: “Legacy, our flavoursome blonde beer offers deep flavours. The first thing that hits you is the predominant lemon and grapefruit aroma before a burst of lemon and lime floods the senses. A mellow finish leaves you wanting more.”

Had I read that description beforehand I may have tried something else. Regulars will know it’s not my thing at all. The heavy aroma had me suspicious and so it proved. Nothing wrong with - it just wasn’t for me. 4.4%. A.B.V. Related entries

Sailors Home, Kessingland, Suffolk. August 2018.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

612: Lacons | Yarmouth Red

20190809_181032The Brewery: “Based in Great Yarmouth, Lacons Brewery is home to Lacons Encore, the award-winning amber beer. Our brewing team is passionate about using the finest ingredients to create amazing beers and our range includes bitter, pale ale, aged stout and a lager amongst others. Above all, we love beer and we want to make sure that when you buy a pint of Lacons you can see what all the fuss is about.”

The Beer: “Lacons Yarmouth Red beer is flavour packed and full of body, with roasted malt aromas, fruity flavours and a bitter finish……Inspired by the recipe for Yarmouth ale, which was first brewed during the dark years of the First World War.”

I was delighted to come across another Lacons beer, guesting at the excellent Sailors Home in Kessingland, not far from the brewery. Regulars will know I like a nice red ale evry now and again and this didn’t disappoint. Full bodied and very flavoursome. 4.7% A.B.V. Related entries.

Sailors Home, Kessingland, Suffolk. August 2019

611: Tynt Meadow English Trappist Ale

20190807_172526The Brewery: “When the inviability of farming became obvious, we began to look for an alternative source of income and common work……..Brewing met our requirements. After much careful research and community discussion, we decided to revive the Abbey’s beer-making tradition……Although the historic recipe has been lost, we’re certain that the ale we’re brewing now is at least as delicious and nurturing……..We will keep the volume of production relatively small. Just enough to meet our expenses and support our charitable commitments. As of 2018, the brewery is our principal field of labour. All the work, from brewing to bottling and packaging, is done by the monks.”

The Beer: “Trappist beers tend to be named after the place in which the monastery is situated. We’ve called ours ‘Tynt Meadow’, to honour the link with the plot of land on which monastic life was refounded here in the Midlands almost two centuries ago. Being part of the great Trappist tradition, we’ve chosen to produce a strong dark ale, but one with a clearly English character.Tynt Meadow is mahogany-coloured, with a subtle, warm red hue, and a lasting beige head. Its aroma carries hints of dark chocolate, liquorice, and rich fruit flavours. The beer is full-bodied, gently balancing the taste of dark chocolate, pepper, and fig. It leaves a warm and dry finish on the palate.”

Quite simply: Yum. Gawd this was nice. Like many Trappist beers - quite potent at 7.4% A.B.V but once I’d learnt not to slosh it back like I normally do I could really appreciate the flavours. Fortunately I had a second bottle to er, research. I shall be investigating some more Trappist beers as some point. August 2019. Related entries.


Sunday, 1 September 2019

610: Truman’s | Swift London Gold

20190820_123845The Brewery: “Brewed in the heart of East London, Truman's is all about crafting great beer with skill, belief and passion. One of the greatest names in British brewing, Truman’s has been a part of London life for almost 350 years. Closed in 1989 during dark days for the brewing industry, Truman's was reborn with the opening of our new brewery, The Eyrie, in Hackney Wick in 2013.”

The Beer: “Lip-smackingly drinkable, Swift is brewed with both lager (Saaz) and ale (Cascade) hops for the perfect blend of flavour and refreshment. Juicy, gently hoppy and mellow it is a firm favourite of the brewery team after a hard day’s work.”

It went down well, but then I had been working up a bit of a thirst. Not my favourite but ok. Didn’t offend but neither did it excite. 3.9%. A.B.V

Devils Dyke, Poynings, East Sussex. August 2019

609: Green Jack Brewing | Trawlerboys Best Bitter

20190806_170651The Brewery: “Welcome to the Green Jack Brewing Company website. Green Jack was founded in 1993 by Tim Dunford, we are a multi-award winning traditional real ale brewery based in Lowestoft in Suffolk. From humble beginnings Green Jack has now grown into one of the largest real ale breweries in East Anglia. In 2009 we built a new 38 barrel brew house in an old smoke house in the heart of historic Lowestoft.”

The Beer: “is a full-bodied, copper coloured, premium bitter brewed with English whole cone hops, rich and malty with fruity hop flavours. The pump clip features the Lowestoft-built stern trawler (1978) the Boston Sea Stallion, launched by none other than Mrs Thatcher….”

Another cracking offering from Green Jack at the excellent Sailors Home pub, just a couple of minutes walk from the White House Beach Caravan & Motorhome Club site where I was staying. Everything I like about a Best Bitter. Well balanced and very moreish. I could have so easily got stuck into this, but at 4.6% A.B.V needs a bit of respect too.

Sailor’s Home, Kessingland Beach, Suffolk. August 2019. Related entries.

Monday, 19 August 2019

608: Poppyland | East Coast IPA

20190806_143251The Brewery: “Now in its seventh year of operation Poppyland Brewery has gained a reputation for doing different. For me, Martin Warren the Poppyland Brewer, it has been a challenge in semi-retirement, a means of self expression and it helped to satisfy my creative instincts. It made a small living too. As an ex-museum curator I couldn't help myself from revelling in the character and culture of North Norfolk and I reflected this in my beers. I have produced extraordinary ales that were far removed from industrial beer found in supermarkets or even beer found in British pubs. I have been exploring just what beer can be, using the best ingredients and new techniques, seeking to innovate and aiming to really please my customers. I often drew inspiration from the local environment and local history. Where I could I used local ingredients - wild and cultivated. Where I couldn't, I got the best ingredients from all over the world - like hops and yeasts.”

The Beer: “Strong, hoppy, pale ale featuring premium coastal Maris Otter malted barley from Branthill Farm near Wells next the Sea, Norfolk.”

Powerful but a tad on the sharp side for me - but a fine IPA from this little brewery on the Norfolk coast. Bottle conditioned and as usual I wasn’t careful enough to pour a clear pint but never mind. 5.4& A.B.V. August 2019.

607: Humpty Dumpty Brewery | Little Sharpie

20190805_134846The Brewery: “Humpty Dumpty Brewery was founded in 1998 in Reedham, Norfolk, and moved to its current location on Church Road in 2001. We take our name from the GER Class T-19R steam locomotives that operated on the Norwich – Lowestoft line in the early 20th Century……..The 2-4-0 engines were front-heavy and looked as if they might fall off the line, and so were dubbed “Humpty Dumpties”.”

The Beer: “One of our core beers. When: All year round. Description: Our best-selling golden session bitter. A delicate hop aroma leads to a light clean tasting finish.”

Sampled in a the riverside garden of a lovely pub just a mile away from where this was brewed. It neither offended or excited but that’s me and golden ales. Would doubtless make a good session beer and I hope future visits to Norfolk bring forth the opportunities to try more from their range. 3.8% A.B.V.

The Ship, Reedham, Norfolk. August 2019

Sunday, 18 August 2019

606: Green Jack Brewing | Gone Fishing ESB

20190804_160144

The Brewery: “Welcome to the Green Jack Brewing Company website. Green Jack was founded in 1993 by Tim Dunford, we are a multi-award winning traditional real ale brewery based in Lowestoft in Suffolk. From humble beginnings Green Jack has now grown into one of the largest real ale breweries in East Anglia. In 2009 we built a new 38 barrel brew house in an old smoke house in the heart of historic Lowestoft.”

The Beer: “…is very traditional in style, even though it is brewed with American hops. A deep amber coloured ale, Gone Fishing is fruity and malty - it goes down far too easily for a beer of this strength.”

Oh wow. How I loved this - and their description is perfect. Despite it’s strength it was VERY easy drinking. A fantastic pint that was brewed just up the road from where I was at the time. Worth a shout out too is the Sailor’s Home pub for supporting local smaller breweries - and giving us the chance to sample their wares. 5.5% A.B.V.

Sailor’s Home, Kessingland Beach, Suffolk. August 2019.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

605: Mauldons | Mid-Summer Gold

20190804_160115The Brewery: “ Since 1795, the name Mauldons has been associated with well respected, award winning quality beers…..From our Micro brewery In Sudbury, we produce traditional bitters, stouts and porters, the most famous being the award winning Black Adder Stout….”

The Beer: “A light crisp beer brewed with East Anglian malted barley. The presence of First Gold hops gives this summer beer a refreshing finish.”

This followed the powerful and delicious Black Adder and given that golden ales are not my favourite I wasn’t expecting much. I have to say though, that in the pub garden on a warm afternoon, I quite enjoyed it. Would have been more enjoyable a tad colder possibly. 4.0% A.B.V

Sailor’s Home, Kessingland, Suffolk. August 2019.

604: Mauldons | Black Adder

20190803_172647The Brewery: “ Since 1795, the name Mauldons has been associated with well respected, award winning quality beers…..From our Micro brewery In Sudbury, we produce traditional bitters, stouts and porters, the most famous being the award winning Black Adder Stout….”

The Beer: “A dark bitter stout. Roast and nut aromas with a fruity balance of hops and dark malt provide an excellent lingering finish.”

I was really pleased to get the chance to try another Mauldons beer whilst staying at Kessingland on the Suffolk coast and wasn’t disappointed. What a pint, I thoroughly enjoyed this and it’s worth mentioning the pub too. Up to seven real ales, many of which are constantly changing. Related entries.

Sailor’s Home, Kessingland, Suffolk. August 2019.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

604: Elgoods | Saturday Night Beaver

20190731_141324The Brewery: “Elgood’s Brewery is a family business established over 200 years ago and run by the Elgood family since 1878. …Today’s Chairman is Nigel Elgood, who ran the brewery as managing director from 1968 to 2002……In that year he handed over the running of the business to the eldest of his three daughters Belinda, who continues as the managing director; while her two sisters Claire and Jennifer are directors. We are very proud of our family history and its association with Elgood’s Brewery.”

The Beer: “A pale ale, with a delicate biscuit malt”

July’s seasonable beer in their movie range from Elgood’s appealed to me because of the pump-clip…yeah I know. Anyway, it was pleasant enough, sitting by the river in Maldon in Essex on a pleasant summer’s day, but didn’t really excite. Ok though. 4.5% A.B.V.

The Queens Head, Maldon, Essex. July 2019

603: Exmoor Ales | Apollo

20190725_204914The 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: “Orange-gold in colour, and 4.2% abv, Apollo uses three American hops in the blend, Apollo, Cascade and Willamette, the usage of which, according to Davis, ‘was a brilliant chance for us to go all-out and throw lots of American hops in and see where it took us. I have always loved New World pale ales and IPAs, especially those with Cascade and Willamette in combination, as I think they produce some wonderfully aromatic beers, with oodles of grapefruit and lychee character. So this was a great chance to do a New World pale ale, but in the Exmoor style!”

Reading the pump-clip, I didn’t think I’d be over keen on this - but in the interests of ‘research’ and all that….Extremely hoppy and not for me, although given that it was drunk on a very hot summer’s night I found it perhaps more palatable than I would usually.

The Six Bells, Fulbourn, Cambridge. July 2019.


Wednesday, 24 July 2019

602: Weetwood Ales | Weetwood Best

20190723_213532The Brewery: “Weetwood Ales began brewing in 1992 when finding a great pint of cask ale was a challenge. The brewery was founded by Adrian Slater, a skilled brewer, and Roger Langford, a farmer with space in a barn and a love for proper beer. Roger’s farm is in Weetwood Common, near Tarporley in Cheshire and the brewery took the name”

The Beer: “The first beer we brewed and still many people’s favourite Weetwood ale. Brewed with British malted barley and hops to produce the rounded flavour and sharp bitterness of a classic Best Bitter”

I was delighted to get my chops around a bottle of this after having tried a number of other beers in the range earlier in the year - this one was out of stock at the time. Given it’s strength it may not be a true Best Bitter - according to CAMRA certainly, but it was lovely. Nothing flash just a decent tasting beer that appealed to my awkward taste buds. I’m hoping that a possible trip to the North-West next year might yield the chance to try this on draught. 3.8% A.B.V. July 2019. Related entries

601: Black Sheep | Holy Grail

20190721_192003The Brewery: “In 1992, Paul Theakston took a daring leap into the unknown. As a fifth generation brewer of his family company, he chose to leave T&R Theakstons following its sale to a national brewery. Instead, he chose to champion independent brewing in Yorkshire and built his own brewery from reclaimed equipment in the very same town, Masham…..Paul is the Black Sheep.”

The Beer: “Famously “tempered over burning witches”, Holy Grail was originally created to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Monty Python, and is a much-loved part of our bottled beer collection. Some 19 years on, The beer has been given a new lease of life with the recent reunion and the subsequent Spamalot tour…….Monty Python’s Holy Grail is a light golden beer with a fresh, zesty taste and a long crisp bitter finish. It’s brewed with a mixture of hops, including WGV, which gives the beer a light fruity nose. It’s a real tongue pleaser.”

I tried the bottled version of this in 2016 and am not a great fan to be honest, however it was perhaps a better match for the warm night on which it was drank than my usual preference for darker brews. Had it been a bit colder it would have been very refreshing indeed. 4.0% A.B.V so not brewed as strong as the bottled version.

The Robin Hood, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge. July 2019


Sunday, 30 June 2019

600: Loch Ness Brewery | Dark Ness

20190630_173145The Brewery: “The Loch Ness Brewing Company was first created adjacent to the shores of the mysterious stretch of water and home to the world’s most infamous monster – “Nessie”…….In late 2016 The Loch Ness Beer brand was rescued by a partnership between two well established Highland businesses - The Cobbs Group and Cairngorm Brewery. By pooling together resources the brand was rescued, ensuring it's continuation as a Highland produced craft beer…….The award winning Cairngorm Brewery has taken the reigns in developing an extended range of Loch Ness Beers - influenced by their brewing heritage. Loch Ness Beer was back on the shelves before Nessie had a chance to make her next appearance!”

The Beer: “A full, flavoursome stout, with chocolate malt & roast barley combining beautifully with clear Highland Water…..A creamy head with aromas of coffee & sweet chocolate, leading to hints of espresso & luxurious black cherry.”

Is is only fitting that the last of my beers from Scotland for now is another milestone in the Archives’ existence and a very worthy marker it was too. Another lovely rich full bodied stout whose taste wasn’t at all diminished, having followed on soon after the intense Double Espresso. June 2019.

The Scottish Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling

599: Black Wolf Brewery | Valente’s Double Espresso

20190630_155408The Brewery: “Many moons ago, in the black of the night, Viking invaders were about to attack our hometown of Stirling, when a howling wolf alerted the defenders, who saved the town. We raise a glass to that wolf. The Black Wolf.”

The Beer: “Straddling beer and coffee, this stylish libation is both Alpha and Omega. With a welcoming aroma created from double strength coffee beans, accompanied by a silky smooth texture and a rich dark nature, it is clear as a full moon why it was awarded gold at the 2012 World Beer Awards……This sumptuous mocha brew is an excellent beer to imbibe with a decadent desert or as an avant-garde aperitif.”

Well this was certainly different – I’ve never tasted anything quite like it – and the aroma as soon as the top was off was very inviting – but then I like coffee anyway. Certainly not one to be guzzled – the flavour is very intense and it is 6% A.B.V – but one to sip and savour. June 2019.

The Scottish Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

598: Skye | Red

20190626_210516The Brewery: “One evening in 1992, some schoolteacher friends met in a local pub – and conversation turned to the lack of good beer on Skye. Someone jokingly suggested that setting up a brewery would be the only way to remedy the situation. At the time there were just six small independent breweries in Scotland – and none on Skye. Could it really work? It could, and it did. Three years later, we were finally ready to brew our first ale – Red Cuillin. It was such a success, we still brew it to the same recipe today. Only the name has changed – we now call it Skye Red.”

The Beer: “Malted barley is a vital part of the Scottish brewing tradition. We use three different varieties to create the deep colour and smooth nuttiness; each grain is milled right here in our brewery, giving us complete control over flavour and freshness. Then we balance this rich brew with just the right amount of Challenger and Fuggle hops.”

Having enjoyed a bottle of Sky Black back in 2016 I was keen to try another another beer from them. My keenness was rewarded with another great tasting ale. I hope the opportunity to try more Skye ales presents itself soon. 4.2% A.B.V. June 2019.

The Scottish Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

597: Hadrian Border Brewery | Secret Kingdom

20190623_194020The Brewery: “The foundations were laid on 9th June 1994 when we took over the Border Brewery Company in Berwick upon Tweed (pictured). This was an 8 barrel brew plant with 15 barrels of fermenting capacity, selling 2 barrels per week at that time”…read more

The Beer: “Dark, rich and full-bodied slightly roasted with a malty palate ending with a pleasant bitterness.”

Not north of the border this one so a bit of an imposter in this series of Scottish ales procured during a stay with friends in Falkirk over Easter. It’s a very welcome one though as it was a lovely drop and much preferred over their Farne Island, sampled during our stay in Tyne & Wear last year. 4.3% A.B.V. June 2019.

The Scottish Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling.

596: Inveralmond | Lia Fail

20190622_194825The Brewery: “Opened on 14th May 1997, The Inveralmond Brewery is at the very heart of our beer. Situated in Perth, the brewery nestles between the fabulous rolling hills of Perthshire, the mighty Grampian mountain range and is surrounded by crystal clear rivers, providing inspiration and nourishment for the beers we produce and export around the globe.”

The Beer: “To craft LIA FAIL our brewers selected flavour packed dark crystal and chocolate malts. This combination creates a warming malty body bursting with nutty, chocolate notes that we have balanced with spicy aromas from Cascade and Fuggles hops. It finishes full, mellow and satisfying. Hops: Challenger, Cascade, Fuggles. Malts: Pale ale, Dark Crystal, Chocolate, Wheat”

Oh yum, gorgeous. A combination of flavours that was to my palate what good music is to my ears. So glad to come across another one of their beers after first trying the Ossian. 4.7% A.B.V though so no lightweight. June 2019

The Scottish Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

595: Kelburn Brewery | Dark Moor

20190622_185835The Brewery: “The Kelburn Brewing Company is a family run business based in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire, Scotland. It is run by Derek Moore, his son Ross and daughter Karen.The company was formed in October 2001 and commenced brewing in April 2002……In the mid seventies, Derek realised that the quality of ale in the U.K. left something to be desired and determined to do something about it….As a science graduate from Paisley University he had some knowledge of the brewing process and decided to develop this through his experiments in home brewing. He was greatly assisted by the brewers at the now sadly defunct Strathalbyn Brewery.”

The Beer: “Smooth, dark and dangerous, this ale is designed to warm the cockles of your heart whilst sitting around the ingle after a long cold winter’s day outdoors. Although dark and and robust the aftertones of liquorice and blackcurrant make this an ale of complex character, not to be missed.”

You know me, I like a dark beer every now and again and this did not disappoint. Lot’s going on but very smooth. I was annoyed with both myself, for not noticing that it was out of date when I bought it, and the shop for still having it on the shelf. It was still clear and tasted fine but would like to try a fresher sample sometime too. 4.5% A.B.V. June 2019

The Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

594: Arran Brewery | Sunset

20190621_205604The Brewery: “Combining the art of traditional brewing methods with the island’s unique water and only the finest natural ingredients the brewery produces a wide range of beers and ales to suit every palette”………”Nestled between the islands largest mountain, Goatfell and the imposing Brodick Castle lies Arran Brewery which has been brewing award winning craft beer for over a decade.”

The Beer: Nose: Citrusy grapefruit notes are abundant, backed up with some essences of used leather and a scent of smokiness to finish off….Palate: Powerful flavour of citrus fruits from the hops. There are dry notes of grape fruit, wood, some smoke just like the aroma of the beer….Finish: Soft fizzy mouth feel throughout with a rather clean and crisp finish; very light-bodied and mild flavoured ale.”

Yep, you’re right, I wasn’t keen, just too citrusy for me. Nothing wrong with it, it was crystal clear but I certainly didn’t find it mild flavoured. I’d avoid it in a bar unless there was nothing else. Each to their own of course and one for a hot summers night perhaps, around the BBQ.

4.4% A.B.V. The Real Ale Shop, Kilmahog, Stirling. June 2019

593: Cairngorm Brewing Company | Stag

20190621_194438The Brewery: “Cairngorm Brewery Company is a craft brewery established in 2001, situated in the village of Aviemore within the Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands of Scotland.”

The Beer: “Mahogany ale - fuggles hops are added to give an initial bitterness that is balanced by a caramel finish….The Stag – The undisputed Monarch of the Glen. Stag _- the most regal of beers! Good strong flavours without being too strong overall, a beer with real character that you can enjoy all evening.”

The second of my ten beers procured from The Real Ale Shop and I suspect it will end up as one of my favourites of the ten. The description says it all - tasted a lot stronger than the 4.1% ABV might suggest. No fruitiness. June 2019.

592: The Orkney Brewery | Raven Ale

20190621_183048The 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: “Raven Ale dominant malt character is a balance between juicy pale ale malt and a biscuity, toasty malt flavour this give way to a clean spicy orange bitterness. Aromas of orange, lemon and fresh apple”

The first of ten beers from north of the border procured from The Real Ale Shop whilst staying with friends near Falkirk over Easter. I flew up for the weekend so said friends kindly brought down my purchases to a caravanning meet up in the Cotswolds  a few weeks ago.

This was the first of three in this particular ‘research’ session - easy drinking but I let it down by being in too much of a rush and not waiting for it to chill sufficiently. The fruitiness was not overpowering though which was good. 3.8% A.B.V. June 2019

Friday, 21 June 2019

591: Weetwood Ales | Revelry

20190620_195755The Brewery: “Weetwood Ales began brewing in 1992 when finding a great pint of cask ale was a challenge. The brewery was founded by Adrian Slater, a skilled brewer, and Roger Langford, a farmer with space in a barn and a love for proper beer. Roger’s farm is in Weetwood Common, near Tarporley in Cheshire and the brewery took the name”

The Beer: “An uncomplicated easy drinking beer to please the crowds. Simply brewed with pale malt, a touch of wheat and British hops.”

The last of my beers from Cheshire for now and probably the one I enjoyed the least of the three - nowt wrong with it mind and very flavoursome. Just not my favourite style. Noticeably quite strong and a good summer ale, served slightly colder than the usual. 5% A.B.V. June 2019

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

590: Weetwood Ales | Old Dog

20190615_192013The Brewery: “Weetwood Ales began brewing in 1992 when finding a great pint of cask ale was a challenge. The brewery was founded by Adrian Slater, a skilled brewer, and Roger Langford, a farmer with space in a barn and a love for proper beer. Roger’s farm is in Weetwood Common, near Tarporley in Cheshire and the brewery took the name”

The Beer: “No need for new tricks here, this is as traditional as it gets. Maris Otter and dark roasted malts create a wonderful deep colour and buckets of English hop varieties combine for extra flavour.

How odd. I fully expected to enjoy this more than the Eastgate Amber Ale given my usual preferences for darker beers. It was enjoyable enough certainly and I can only put it down to the fact the Eastgate was the first (and second) after a long dry week and this followed on the next night.  4.5% A.B.V.

June 2019

Saturday, 15 June 2019

589: Weetwood Ales | Eastgate

20190614_201253The Brewery: “Weetwood Ales began brewing in 1992 when finding a great pint of cask ale was a challenge. The brewery was founded by Adrian Slater, a skilled brewer, and Roger Langford, a farmer with space in a barn and a love for proper beer. Roger’s farm is in Weetwood Common, near Tarporley in Cheshire and the brewery took the name”

The Beer: “Brewed for the centenary of Chester’s Eastgate clock. A Champion beer of Cheshire, brewed exclusively with whole leaf Cascade hops for a fruity foretaste and distinctly hoppy flavour. Has a long sweet finish and a very large fan base.”

Ok, those who look as this blog regularly - both of you - will assume from the description that I wouldn’t enjoy this much, but in fact I did. Certainly there was a slightly sweet finish but it wasn’t too hoppy for my fussy palate. In the interests of thorough research I had a second which I’d put in the fridge at the same time. It was, understandably cooler but this didn’t impair the flavour at all. I was really quite refreshing. 4.2% A.B.V. Thanks to Sandra for procuring on my behalf and bringing to a recent caravanning meet up.

June 2019

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

588: Dorset Brewing Co. | Durdle Door

20190529_173701The Brewery: “Dorset Brewing Company was founded in 1996, when Giles Smeath restored an 800-year-old brewing tradition to the Dorset port of Weymouth in the heart of the World Heritage Coastline (the Jurassic Coast)……Dorset Brewing Company relocated in 2011 to Crossways and upgraded to a state-of-the-art spring water-fed brewhouse capable of crafting 1.5 million pints a year.”

The Beer: “Rusty full bodied ale with a warm caramel flavour and hints of marmalade on the nose.”

One of the events of our special caravanning meet up was a beer and cheese ‘festival’. Lot’s of beers from all over the country were on offer, the idea being that you sampled a drop of many rather than a whole bottle of few. This was one of the left overs and very nice it was too. As the label says, a classic premium ale – not too sweet though a bit more bitterness would have satisfied my fussy palate even more. 5% A.B.V. May 2019

Sunday, 19 May 2019

587: Windsor & Eton | Guardsman

The Brewery: “Windsor and Eton are already famous for many things. The castle, college, river, racecourse and of course the Royal connections. In 2010 the four of us wanted to add beer to the list. In fact we had a wild idea to make beer the top attraction. So we brought brewing back to the heart of Windsor…..We are proud to be part of the revolution in beer making throughout the world. As founder members of the London Brewers Alliance, we have helped grow the number of the Capital’s breweries from 11 in 2010 to over 90 today.”

The Beer: “The first beer brewed in Windsor for more than 80 years was launched on St George’s Day 2010 – it remains one of our best sellers to this day…….A lovely copper coloured session strength ale with a tangy taste, yet a really smooth fresh hop finish, ensuring that it is very ‘quaffable’.

My favourite style of ale and this did not disappoint, everything I like about a beer and in a lovely setting too - overlooking the times prior to the start of the Army v Navy rugby at Twickenham. I may have had more than one…4.2% A.B.V

The White Swan, Twickenham. May 2019

586: Twickenham | Naked Ladies

The Brewery: “Twickenham Fine Ales is London’s oldest micro-brewery……Founded by Steve Brown in 2004, Twickenham has been at the forefront of the resurgence of breweries in London. ….Twickenham Fine Ales was the first brewery in Twickenham since Cole’s Brewery closed in 1906…..In the beginning there was a 10 barrel plant which was installed in a small unit opposite a Greggs Bakery factory – pint and a pasty seeming natural bedfellows.”

The Beer: “Outstanding, glorious, hoppy golden ale using Herkules, Celeia and Chinook hops for full-flavoured satisfaction. Inspired by the statues of water nymphs in York House gardens in Twickenham, known locally as the “Naked Ladies” “

Appropriate to start with a beer from this brewery as the purpose of our visit was for the Army v Navy rugby match. Not my sort of beer as you have guessed from the description but enjoyable enough, particularly if you can arrange a nice warm summers day to go with it. 4.4% A.B.V.

The Royal Oak, Twickenham. May 2019.

585: Hepworth | Red Export

The Brewery: “Andy Hepworth started brewing in Reading almost directly after University. He moved to Horsham in 1980 and within five years became the youngest Head Brewer in the country, winning many awards. The long-standing tradition of brewing in Horsham came to an abrupt halt in 2000 with the sale of its last brewery and so Andy, determined to maintain that tradition, joined up with the key members of the brewing team in order to create Hepworths, an independent brewery aiming to build its own range of quality brands, while maintaining flexibility for contract work….. The Company was established in 2000 and started production in 2001.”

The Beer: “Slightly sweeter than most of our ales, Red Export has a delicate hop character reminiscent of Irish Red Ales”

I got quite into red ales when we went to Ireland in the caravan a few years ago and still enjoy one occasionally. This was a gift from a colleague who in turn had been given some for his birthday - however he is a coeliac and couldn’t partake. I certainly didn’t find it too sweet and nice that it was local too. 4.5% A.B.V. May 2019.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

584: Inveralmond | Ossian

The Brewery: “Opened on 14th May 1997, The Inveralmond Brewery is at the very heart of our beer. Situated in Perth, the brewery nestles between the fabulous rolling hills of Perthshire, the mighty Grampian mountain range and is surrounded by crystal clear rivers, providing inspiration and nourishment for the beers we produce and export around the globe.”

The Beer: “Our brewers selected flavour packed, slow kilned ale malt, caramalt and biscuity malted wheat to craft a malt backbone which is then beautifully complemented by a heady hop aroma of zesty lemon and orange citrus. This golden ale finishes refreshing and moreish.”

Lemon and orange? Yep, one I’d enjoy more on a hot summers night than by the fire in winter but it made a nice accompaniment to stint in my friends hot tub during a lovely stay at their house near Falkirk over Easter. 4.1% ABV. April 2019.

583: Broughton | Champion Double Ale

The 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.”

The Beer: “A wonderful blend of the finest Scotch Ale and a dark roasted stout creates this Double Ale with double the flavour and double the character.”

Another from my Easter stay with friends near Falkirk and what a drop this was. Strong, dark and very yummy. Bottle conditioned though so careful pouring required. 5.6% A.B.V. April 2019.

582: Willam Bros. Brewing Co. | Seven Giraffes

The Brewery: “The Williams Bros. Brewing Co. started life in the humble ‘Glenbrew’ homebrew shop in Glasgow. This was the family owned business that was both our occupation and passion……..In 2004 we took over the ‘Forth Brewery’ at Kellibank, Alloa where Maclay’s had been contract brewing and packaging their beers since the sale of their old Alloa brewery. It was at this stage in proceedings that Heather Ale Ltd became Williams Bros. Brewing Co…….”

The Beer: “A blend of 7 grains, 3 hop strains and a late infusion of elderflower: This aromatic IPA was named by Scott's daughter. It pours a deep gold with aroma's of elderflower and citrus hops, followed by sweet caramel. On the tongue the biscuity malts are perfectly balanced with the bitterness of the hops, with a lingering floral elderflower aftertaste.

Procured from the local Aldi whilst staying with friends near Falkirk - they had a great selection but sadly my stay wasn’t long enough to try more than a few. A bit ‘flowery’ for me this one to be honest but a quality brew certainly. 5.1% A.B.V. April 2019

581: Tryst | Lade Out

The Brewery: “Situated in Larbert, Tryst Brewery has been producing quality ales since 2003. John McGarva, owner and head brewer, is always focusing on adding new twists to traditional recipes to create unique takes on classic ales. All of our brews are made with Scottish malt from Mungoswells in East Lothian with additions from Bairds Malt to add depth of colour and flavour. To keep our beers evolving we use hops from all over the globe allowing for a broad range of tastes and aromas.”

The Beer: “A robust & satisfying dark ale with a complex flavour of dark chocolate & liquorice that is rewarding on the palate.”

Much more ‘full-on’ than the Lade Back it was another very satisfying pint accompanying an excellent meal at the Lade Inn. Well worth a stop if you find yourself in this neck of the woods at the Scottish Real Ale shop next door is heaven on earth. 5.1% A.B.V

The Lade Inn, Kilmahog, Perthshire. April 2019

580: Tryst | Lade Back

The Brewery: “Situated in Larbert, Tryst Brewery has been producing quality ales since 2003. John McGarva, owner and head brewer, is always focusing on adding new twists to traditional recipes to create unique takes on classic ales. All of our brews are made with Scottish malt from Mungoswells in East Lothian with additions from Bairds Malt to add depth of colour and flavour. To keep our beers evolving we use hops from all over the globe allowing for a broad range of tastes and aromas.”

The Beer: “A rounded, slightly sweeter, refreshing amber ale that is well balanced with a hop dominated dry finish.”

Once brewed on site at the Lade Inn itself, adjacent to which is the Scottish Real Ale shop where yours truly prized open the wallet to procure a selection of research samples. A very tasty pint and not too hoppy for my fussy palate. 4.5% A.B.V.

The Lade Inn, Kilmahog, Perthshire. April 2019

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

579: Hogs Back | Gardeners Tipple

The Brewery: “We’re a small family-owned brewery tucked away in the village of Tongham, in the heart of the old Surrey hop-growing region….We first opened our doors on the 4th August 1992, in 18th century farm buildings that at various times have stored wheat, and housed cattle and, appropriately, hogs. The brewhouse was what is now our shop and the very first brew was TEA, which was an instant hit.”

The Beer: “First brewed as an exclusive celebration beer for the Royal Horticultural Society garden at Wisley for their 100 year Centenary, Gardener's Tipple proved to be a great success. Perfect for relaxing after a hard day in the garden.A refreshing thirst-quenching bitter, with an exceptional taste and light amber colour. We brew a rounded malty base from finest English malted barley in the mash tun and combine it with the fresh local Fuggles and Goldings whole hop flowers in the copper to achieve a long lasting finish. Brewed to be enjoyed by gardeners or gentry alike.”

I’ve enjoyed most of the beers from Hog Back so when a colleague brought me a bottle of this – one of his favourites – I was keen to try it. Very nice it was too – lovely bright colour and refreshing though just a tad on the sweet side. Would happily drink again though. 4.0% A.B.V. April 2019. Procured I believe from Asda at Brighton Marina.

578: Clouded Minds | Clout Stout

The Brewery: “Clouded Minds brewery was established in London 2013 by an Italian brewer and a British engineer who started creating a range of craft beers on a pilot system…..The next step began in May 2014 when we signed a 6 month deal to rent a brewery in the Derbyshire countryside in which time we grew our customer base……We then brewed our beers at Gipsy Hill brewery in South London whilst finally establishing our own brewery situated on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border which is now in operation and the home of Clouded Minds brewery.”

The Beer: “Our Classic Stout, deep dark ale velvety and malty. Aroma of roasted malts, cocoa, dried fruits, figs. Mildly sweet & sour with amiable smoky and bitter finish.”

Although served a bit too cold I enjoyed this – very smooth and I always enjoy a certain smokiness in a stout. Great boozer too. 4.5% A.B.V

The George & Dragon, Acton, London. April 2019

Friday, 3 May 2019

577: Greene King | Black IPA

The Brewery: “We’ve been running pubs and brewing award-winning beer from our base in Bury St. Edmunds ever since the company was founded in 1799 by 19 year-old Benjamin Greene…..During its first 100 years, Greene King grows from the Greene’s Brewery, established in Bury St Edmunds by Benjamin Greene, to Greene, King and Sons, following an amalgamation with Frederick King’s St Edmunds brewery in 1887.

The Beer: “A refreshing, delicious & fruity beer packed full of flavour. Using Citra & Simcoe hops to produce a mouth-watering citrus and pine finish. Brewed with de-husked roasted barley that gives this Black Ipa its distinct colour and subtle roasted bitterness.”

How nice of them to put a beer on especially for me! Thankfully the citrus was kept in check and I found this quite tasty. Nothing on their website now so presumably a one-off. Reasonably full-bodied at 4.5% A.B.V.

The Rose & Crown, Ashwell, Hertfordshire. April 2019.

576: Belhaven/Saltaire | CCC

The Brewery – Belhaven: “Belhaven – or “Beautiful harbour” – nestles among the rolling barley fields of the beautiful East Lothian coast, around 20 miles east of Edinburgh. For nearly 300 years, we have brewed in this place using only the finest local barley and choicest hops. Established in 1719, Belhaven is Scotland’s oldest working brewery. With abundant local barley, fine water from the brewery well and access to markets up and down the coast, Belhaven was the perfect place for a brewery back then, and it still is today.”

The Brewery – Saltaire: “It began in 2003 over a laboratory bench when Tony Gartland, owner and founder, met Derek Todd, an industrial chemist at a Brewlab course in Newcastle….Tony and Derek were ambitious and obsessed with quality and flavour. They set up with a 20bbl bespoke Moeschle brew kit in 2005 and the following year started producing as many as three beers a week…..Saltaire Blonde and Cascade Pale followed in 2007, and quickly became popular with pubs and drinkers.”

Nothing on the website of either brewery for what was no doubt a one-off but, as you may have deduced from the description this wasn’t one of my faves. I could see it’s appeal on a hot summers’ day though. 4.0% A.B.V.

The Three Tuns, Ashwell, Hertfordshire. April 2019.

575: Camerons | Old Sea Dog

The Brewery: “Based in Hartlepool, Camerons Brewery is now back in family hands since we purchased the brewery in 2002. Our philosophy at Camerons is to offer our customers high quality beers and lagers brewed at the Lion Brewery as well as a full range of products from other major breweries and suppliers.”

The Beer: “A classic North-East brown ale recipe with the addition of Amarillo hops to give it a lovely peach hop aroma and flavour.”

It’s probably thanks to Cameron’s that this blog exists at all. You see it was a pint of Castle Eden back in 2007 that got me into real ale after nearly twenty years of drinking lager. This beer is part of their Anchor range which donates 5p of every pint sold to the RNLI – a worth cause indeed. Sadly I didn’t enjoy it much – there was nothing at all wrong with it but the flavours weren't well received by my awkward palate. 4.3% A.B.V.

The Manor House, Royston, Hertfordshire. April 2019

574: Hook Norton | Crafty Fox

The Brewery: “Sitting in its beautiful, mellow Cotswold Hills landscape, Hook Norton is a proudly independent and passionate family business that takes the very best of its handcrafted brewing heritage and combines it with a thoroughly modern approach, to create a range of real ales for today’s drinkers to enjoy…… Hook Norton is one of only 32 family owned breweries and is the finest example of a Victorian Tower Brewery in the country.

The Beer: There’s nothing about this on the Hook Norton Brewery website however the range of Crafty Ales is from their ‘brewery within a brewery’ where they try out new recipes. Looks like it was a one off

I enjoyed this even though the hops were fairly prominent. A bit of an aftertaste though which I dealt with by….having another beer. 4.4% A.B.V.

The Manor House, Royston, Hertfordshire. April 2019

573: Tiny Rebel | Cwtch

The Brewery: “We are Tiny Rebel, an award-winning brewery from Newport, South Wales…………………..From two guys in a garage to a bespoke brewery with thousands of fans, we’ve grown a lot since 2012. Since then, every year has been bigger and better………………….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: “Probably the best word ever. Cwtch (rhymes with butch) can mean either cuddle or cubbyhole. Grab a glass, relax and cwtch up with this untraditional Welsh red ale - a perfect blend of six caramelly malts and three citrussy American hops. It isn’t your average bitter - the hops do more to this deep amber coloured beer than just provide bite. Any old hop can do that! We’ve selected some of the most aromatic and tangy hops from the other side of the pond to give this red a fresh hit that complements the caramel flavours of the malts that gives this beer its colour. Drinkability and balance makes this beer.

I have had this before but it must have been in pre-blog times. A nice drop although a little hoppier than I’d expect from a ‘red’. Very more’ish though. 4.6% A.B.V

The Adelphi, Leeds, March 2019


Thursday, 2 May 2019

572: Weetwood Ales | Cheshire Plain

The Brewery: “Weetwood Ales began brewing in 1992 when finding a great pint of cask ale was a challenge. The brewery was founded by Adrian Slater, a skilled brewer, and Roger Langford, a farmer with space in a barn and a love for proper beer. Roger’s farm is in Weetwood Common, near Tarporley in Cheshire and the brewery took the name”

The Beer: “A clever blend of wheat, barley and oats creates the wonderful colour and character of this smooth and creamy porter which has an inviting roasted aroma”

A very welcome gift from a friend who wanted me to try something from their local area. What a cracking beer too – I do enjoy a Porter every now and again but sometimes they can be a little dry and ‘dusty’. This wasn’t, it was delicious. I hope I come across some more from Weetwood soon. 4.4% A.B.V. March 2019.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

571: The Maxim Brewery | Maximus

The Brewery: “Maxim Brewery began full production in Houghton le Spring in 2007. To brew the best beers possible requires the best brewery equipment available. Our 20 barrel brewery equipment was previously at the Canongate Brewery on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. This was Scottish & Newcastle’s pilot brew house and as you would expect, was built to a very high specification. Indeed, it remains probably the best equipment of its size anywhere in the UK today….”

The Beer: “Double Maxim’s ‘Big Brother’ and a multi award winner…….A strong premium ale brewed with a hint of Demerara sugars…….Dark ruby in colour, Maximus has a sweet liquorice taste that is warming and easy to drink. Beware of its underlying strength”

Sound advice that last bit as this went down far too easily – a lovely drop although maybe that sweetness distracted me from the strength a bit. 6.0% A.B.V. March 2019. Another great find from the Monks Cross Asda near York.