Monday, 27 July 2020

647: Dhillons | Red Rebel IPA

20200722_161821The Brewery: “Dhillon’s Brewery, an award-winning microbrewery situated in Coventry in the heart of the Midlands, was founded in 2015 with one goal in mind – To Keep It Re’Ale.Our commander-in-chief Mr Dhillon had a dream of brewing beautifully crafted beer and started building his team to achieve this. Joined by Pedro our Head Brewer with a wealth of experience in the brewing industry, and with Gordon taking control of Sales and Marketing, the journey commenced.”

The Beer: “Our Red Rebel Ale is a classic IPA brewed with both American and European hops, paying tribute to the roots, transporting you back to the true origins of the IPA – sipping your way to the 17th Century with explosions of bitter and citrus notes combined with warm caramel malty flavours – smooth, refreshing, and very moreish!”

After the disappointment of the Amber Gambler this was much better. Not my favourite style as you know but a quality ale without doubt. 6.2% A.B.V.

The Co-op, Balsall Common, Warwickshire. July 2020. Related entries.


646: Dhillons | The Amber Gambler

20200721_145055The Brewery: “Dhillon’s Brewery, an award-winning microbrewery situated in Coventry in the heart of the Midlands, was founded in 2015 with one goal in mind – To Keep It Re’Ale.Our commander-in-chief Mr Dhillon had a dream of brewing beautifully crafted beer and started building his team to achieve this. Joined by Pedro our Head Brewer with a wealth of experience in the brewing industry, and with Gordon taking control of Sales and Marketing, the journey commenced.”

The Beer: “Our Ambler Gambler is a homely honeyed medium body, with a frothy friendliness – European hops enhanced and balanced with Maris Otter and Munich malts, for a pique of perfect pine! The creamy honey flavour is hold your hand smooth, with a lighthearted laugh of floral freshness to make you reach for the next bottle – off the clock with a relaxing companion – you deserve it!”

After enjoying the GPA so much I was looking forward to this - a beer more my type. Sadly it had a bit of a twang that my awkward palate took an instant dislike to - so much so that I didn’t even finish it. Pity. Will look out for another to try in case I got a dud. 4.5% A.B.V

The Co-op, Balsall Common, Warwickshire. July 2018. Related entries.

645: Dhillons | Bright Eyes GPA

20200720_161216The Brewery: “Dhillon’s Brewery, an award-winning microbrewery situated in Coventry in the heart of the Midlands, was founded in 2015 with one goal in mind – To Keep It Re’Ale.Our commander-in-chief Mr Dhillon had a dream of brewing beautifully crafted beer and started building his team to achieve this. Joined by Pedro our Head Brewer with a wealth of experience in the brewing industry, and with Gordon taking control of Sales and Marketing, the journey commenced.”

The Beer: “Our Bright Eyes brew is the perfect Golden Pale Ale – trusted toffee undertones lit up by an explosion of bright orange sunlight on your taste buds – this is the go-to for any occasion that demands clean, fruitilicious refreshment – a crisp session companion that takes the biscuit!”

Not my favourite style of beer as regular was know but was please to discover some beers from a brewery I had not yet heard of.

As it turned out I quite enjoyed this; a nice summers afternoon outside whilst on tour in the caravan and, served a little colder, it was the perfect accompaniment. Nice and light too at 3.8% A.B.V.

The Co-op, Balsall Common, Warwickshire. July 2020. Related entries

644: Hunters | Full Bore

20200720_153508The Brewery: “Hunter’s is a family run brewery that’s been crafting top quality ales in the heart of the Devon’s countryside since 2008……Hunter’s was founded by Paul, with the aim of producing high quality ales with flavours that reflected the best Devon has to offer the craft beer industry. After finding premises on a local farm Hunter’s was born and Paul set about creating the core range of beers that many drinkers enjoy throughout Devon and the UK.”

The Beer: “With the aroma of roasted malt Full Bore is made with Devon Honey to produce a warm full taste of caramel with a smooth bitter sweet finish…..Enjoy along with your Sunday Roast and relax with a snooze afterwards!…..Strong roasted malt smell with bittersweet hop finish. Palate: Lovely malt flavours with the warm full taste of caramel.”

Wow. Full bore it certainly was and it certainly packed a punch. I enjoyed this very much but it’s potent stuff. Very tasty. 6.8% A.B.V

The Co-op, Balsall Common, Warwickshire. July 2020. Related entries

Sunday, 10 May 2020

643: Harveys | Lewes Castle Brown

20200509_143312The brewery: “Harvey's Brewery is the oldest independent brewery in Sussex. A family business, the brewery has been in the guardianship of seven generations of John Harvey's descendants since 1790, with five family members from the seventh and eighth generations currently working here. Still a privately-owned limited company, Harvey's has no shares marketed for external investment.”

The beer: “A traditional brown ale. Brewed with roasted malt and dark sugars, it has a sweet, malty palate and a bittersweet finish derived from Fuggle and Progress aroma hops. There is a lush fullness, offset by a hint of burnt sugars. Sweet palate with notes of coffee and liquorice.”

A tad on the sweet side for me but an enjoyable lockdown quaff nonetheless. Another quality ale from Harveys. 4.8% A.B.V. May 2020. Related entries

642: Harveys | Star of Eastbourne

20200509_143259The brewery: “Harvey's Brewery is the oldest independent brewery in Sussex. A family business, the brewery has been in the guardianship of seven generations of John Harvey's descendants since 1790, with five family members from the seventh and eighth generations currently working here. Still a privately-owned limited company, Harvey's has no shares marketed for external investment.

The beer: “First brewed to mark the Eastbourne Beer Festival in October 2004. A strong, old style India Pale Ale reminiscent of the beers exported across the globe by British breweries during the early nineteenth century. This golden IPA exudes a full hop aroma, with subtle hints of marmalade. The crisp bitterness lingers on the palate giving a dry finish.”

Another new one to pass my lips during lockdown and what a cracker. It reminded me a bit of Abbot Ale though perhaps a bit lighter taste wise. Similar strength at 5.5% A.B.V and like Abbot, very appealing to my taste buds. May 2020. Related entries

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

641: Hepworth | Iron Horse

20200415_101559The 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 beer:Iron Horse is a premium bitter brewed with Sussex hops. This wonderful Pale Ale is handcrafted from a complex grist of roasted malts and Sussex grown hops delivering full flavour ale with a traditional Sussex hoppy nose to the finish.The result is an authentic craft beer, gluten free, traditionally brewed, with no compromise on quality, taste or strength. Densely flavoured and very satisfying at 4.8% abv.

Another enjoyable ale from Hepworths. Densely flavoured yes and definitely maltier than the recently sample Pullman but not too ‘syrupy’. A tasty beer, no doubt. 4.8% A.B.V.

April 2020. Related entries

640: Hepworth | Pullman

20200415_101607The 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 beer: “Pullman is a First Class Best Bitter from first class brewers. Using our traditional brewing expertise along with finest Sussex grown malt and Admiral and Golding hops, Pullman delivers a first class fresh crisp bite, long on flavour with a silky finish.”

The first new beer to be added to the Archive during ‘lockdown’. The ale shelves were empty at my local shop the weekend before lockdown was announced and I made a decision to try and source local beers - i.e. from Sussex - to enjoy at home.

I stuck to the larger breweries, not least because, ordering in quantity I knew what I’d be getting, so much of what I ordered I’d sampled before, however that brought with it the chance to try some of their other brews too.

Very crisp this one, a very strong bitter flavour but not too hoppy at all. More full bodied than it’s stable mate ‘Sussex’ and would be my choice out of the two.

April 2020. Related entries


Wednesday, 15 April 2020

639: Wimbeldon | Common Pale Ale

20200217_165012The Brewery: “Wimbledon has a long and illustrious brewing history. The new brewery is based on the site of Merton Priory which was brewing throughout the Middle Ages until its dissolution in 1538. One William Watney ran the Wheatsheaf Brewery in the Crooked Billet area of Wimbledon in the 18th century. His direct descendants went on to establish the famous Watney brewing empire…..”

The Beer: “Named after Wimbledon’s historic Common, this pale ale is burnished gold in colour with a bright sparkle. The aroma has spicy orange notes with a light malt fruitiness. The middle palate is clean with the Maris Otter malt character coming through with orange fruits making a re-appearance, merging with the final refreshing bite of bitterness.”

Well I didn’t cop too much of the orange flavour thankfully. Not my favourite style of ale as I’ve said many times but on what was quite a long night it was good to start with something lighter. Another one I’d say that , served a little colder, would be very enjoyable on a warm summers’ night. 3.7% A.B.V.

The Lyric, Soho, London. February 2020.

638: Torrside Brewing | Candlewick

20191023_200216The Brewery: “ We've been brewing in New Mills since 2015, based at the Marina and opposite the famous Swizzels factory. Our name comes from the other major landmark of the town, the Torrs - a park set in the 70-foot-deep gorge cut by the Rivers Goyt & Sett, that the town stands above and around, where many of the town's mills used to stand……Torrside is a democratic set-up between 3  long-practicing homebrewers,  Chris, Nick, and Peter  -  with a lot of support from our long-suffering partners.   We'd each been brewing for several years, excited by the sheer range of beer from the new UK brewers, US imports and even more from Europe - and it felt time to do something with all that beer obsession. “

No official description or tasting notes from the brewery. Pleasant but a little lifeless carbonation wise, quite smooth but I felt lacked the body that some stouts have at a similar A.B.V. Would happily drink again though. 4.0% A.B.V.

Westow House, Crystal Palace, London. October 2019

Thursday, 30 January 2020

637: Church Farm | Harry’s Heifer

20200118_184413The Brewery: “Church Farm Brewery is a family run craft brewery located on the family farm on the outskirts of Warwick. In November 2012 we sold our herd of dairy cattle and converted the milking equipment into a microbrewery, we’ve never looked back since….We use water from the farm’s well, locally sourced malt and hops and just add time and dedication to create a cracking pint.”

The Beer: “Quaffable session ale with a hoppy aroma. Brewed with a blend of Marris Otter, Vienna and Crystal Malts, with Centennial and Cascade Hops.”

COLOUR: LIGHT, AMBER
SMELL: FLORAL. CITRUS, HOPPY
TASTE: CITRUS, BITTER, SWEET

This followed the tasty Yer’ Bard which I preferred to be honest. Would happily drink it again though. 4.2% A.B.V.

The Old Coffee Tavern, Warwick. January 2020


636: Warwickshire Beer Co. | Yer’ Bard

20200118_152330The Brewery: “At the Warwickshire Beer Co. we brew and bottle real ale from a former village bakery in Cubbington. Production started in 1998 using a six-barrel plant.”

The Beer: “Our newest ale brewed to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary. A rich copper ale, aromas of toffee & fudge malts with raspberry & nuttiness. Flavours: sweet fudge with a citrus & hoppy finish.”

Rasberry, citrus, hoppy? Had I read that prior it might have put me off a tad. However what passed my lips was very tasty indeed. I didn’t find it too hoppy or fruit at all, a very welcome pint, even to my awkward palate. 4.3% A.B.V.

The Old Coffee Tavern, Warwick. January 2020

Thursday, 16 January 2020

635: Black Sheep | Milk Stout

20191230_202451The 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: “A velvet, creamy stout packing notes of chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Brewed with lactose and a robust malt blend, this milk stout offers a satisfying sweetness that cuts against a light bitterness, brought together through an irresistible velvet texture.”

Oh this was nice. Very nice. A superb combination of flavours and a lovely texture on the tongue too, but then Black Sheep know how to brew top quality beers. Related entries.



634: Brakspear | Gravity

20191218_144151The Brewery: “Since 2002, much of the original brewing plant was moved to the Wychwood brewery in Witney, West Oxfordshire (owned by Marstons). Following a major refurbishment of the Wychwood brewery Brakspear Bitter is still handcrafted in the original copper and the famous Henley ‘Double-Drop’ fermentation system……..In May 2013, we re-established our brewing roots in Henley, opening the Bell Street Brewery.”

The Beer: “Brewed in Oxfordshire using the famous Henley ‘double-drop’ fermentation system  in Victorian copper fermentation vessels from the original Henley brewery. This amber ale has a crystal malt and a well hopped bitterness in taste, which transforms into a bittersweet and fruity finish with a good fruit, hop and malt nose. A superb session beer which is ideal with foods such as fine English cheeses, Ploughman’s and fish and chips”

Well, this was sampled in Bell Street so there’s a good chance that it was brewed just a few metres away. Didn’t really hit the spot for me to be honest, my fussy palate didn’t get too excited about the combination of flavours. Nice and bright though and at 3.4% a great session beer. Perhaps I should have had another. Related entries.

The Bull on Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames. December 2019.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

633: Rebellion | Roasted Nuts

20191218_124124The Brewery: “The story of the Rebellion Brewery starts with two friends, Tim Coombes and Mark Gloyens. Attending school together in Marlow at a time when the old Wethered Brewery was in full production, the sweet aromas of malt were a constant reminder that Marlow was an active brewing town……….the Rebellion Brewery was eventually established on the Rose Industrial Estate in Marlow Bottom in April 1993. In 1999 the brewery moved to its current location on Bencombe Farm, occupying the old grainstore and other redundant farm buildings.”

The Beer: “A deep ruby, complex and flavoursome beer, packed with intense and distinctive malt & hop character.”

Oh yum, what a pint. I’d started with the excellent Rebellion IPA, a beer I’d had before and enjoyed immensely. This too was superb - a wonderful colour only overshadowed by the abundance or rich flavours. Crystal clear but then I was drinking it just a few miles from the brewery. I could easily have had another, excellent stuff. 4.6% A.B.V. Related entries

The Ship, Marlow. December 2019.

632: Elgoods | A Christmoose Carol

20191215_194622The 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: “Our seasonal for December is 'A Christmoose Carol'. A light brown, refreshing beer.”

Like the previous entry this too was in the line up at the Wetherspoons in Henley and it was neither bright or particularly clear either. Not the darker fruitier offering that often characterises winter seasonal beers but it didn’t hit the spot. Again, a fresher pint would have been preferable. 3.9% A.B.V

The Catherine Wheel, Henley-on-Thames. December 2019

631: Stardust | English Bitter

20191215_182906The Brewery: “We are an independent craft brewery based in White Waltham, founded on a love of malt and hops. After exploring the world’s tastiest blends, we have come up with a selection of beers to suit every taste and occasion, ranging from a Sunday night easy drinker to a full-on punchy pint.”

The Beer: “This beer is blended to bring out the very best of traditional British malt and hop flavours. The raised malt profile unlocks notes of roasted caramel, which mingle with classic hop aromas.”

Found this in the line up at the Wetherspoons in Henley on a recent caravanning trip. The appearance was slightly off-putting - not particularly bright or clear. It tasted ok but I sensed I didn’t get to sample it at it’s best, sadly. 4.0% A.B.V.

The Catherine Wheel, Henley-on-Thames. December 2019