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.