Sunday, 18 October 2020

673: Wood’s | Ebony

20201009_215032The brewery: “Almost forty years ago The Wood Brewery was founded by the Wood family in the former stables of the Plough Inn, in the South Shropshire village of Wistanstow…….Wood’s has been at the forefront of Shropshire brewing since then and continues to be after it was taken over by new owners in 2018. The new owners have worked with the existing team to make a range of impactful and progressive changes to the brewing process and quality control, to ensure that Wood’s beer is of the highest possible quality. “

The beer: “This stout is filled with deep hop aromas with roast coffee notes and sumptuous dark chocolate flavours.”

Like the previous entry this was procured by a friend and though it may be short on description it was full of flavour, though of the two I preferred the Porter - just. As it says on the bottle, rich and smooth but not too strong either. October 2020.

672: Hop & Stagger Brewery | Bridgnorth Porter

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The brewery: “Welcome to the Hop & Stagger Brewery. We are a small independent brewery located in the rural heart of central England. Brewing a range of hand crafted ales that reflect the wonderful traditions of brewing in the UK. Brewing since 2011 we are proud to brew beers that can be enjoyed at home or in the convivial and friendly atmosphere of a local near you.”

The beer: “A beautifully balanced dark beer with complex layers of taste that gives your taste buds hints of chocolate with some dark fruit notes coming through alongside the suggestion of caramel. All of that sweetness is then perfectly balanced by the hops that deliver citrus and spice. Don’t chill this one but try it with some rich chocolate cake or a fine stilton. If that doesn’t hit the spot then marinade some stewing beef overnight with it and pour it into a beef casserole, you won’t regret it.”

Huge thanks to a friend who picked this up for me whilst staying in the area - particularly because it was oh so yum. I served it at room temperature as recommended, although sadly no with any of the suggested accompaniments. It was superb; rich, dark and warming and at 5% A.B.V not too strong to have another. Or two. October 2020.

671: Old Dairy Brewery | Blue Top

20201003_222058The brewery: “Our story began early in 2010, when the brewery was set up in an old milking parlour deep in the Kent countryside. The Old Dairy Brewery was an immediate success, building a loyal fan base among ale enthusiasts who appreciated our finely crafted recipes, locally sourced ingredients and interesting variety of beer styles.  Our beers are brewed with hops grown locally by Hukins Hops – just 3 miles away! We soon outgrew the milking parlour and in mid 2014 built a new brewery inside two World War II Nissen buildings just off the High Street in Tenterden, Kent. Not for nothing is this pretty market town known as the ‘Jewel in the Weald’, and our brewery enjoys beautiful views over the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside.”

The beer: “Inspired by the famous India Pale Ales brewed in the 18th century, Blue Top delivers a satisfying bitterness smoothly balanced with caramel flavours from the Crystal and Maris Otter malts, finished with a refreshing hint of citrus from East Kent Golding, Challenger and Fuggle hops. Ideal with a curry or other spicy dishes.“

The Old Dairy brewery is located just behind the Kent & East Sussex Railway and my visit there in September on a beautiful autumn day provided the perfect opportunity to procure some research samples. See blog post.

I really must work on my food pairings - particularly when spicy dishes are recommended. This tasted just fine on it’s own though, not overly fruity but just enough. The last of the my sample of beers from the Old Dairy but I hope to get to try some more soon. 4.8% A.B.V. September 2020. Related entries

670: Old Dairy Brewery | Gold Top

20201003_204245The brewery: “Our story began early in 2010, when the brewery was set up in an old milking parlour deep in the Kent countryside. The Old Dairy Brewery was an immediate success, building a loyal fan base among ale enthusiasts who appreciated our finely crafted recipes, locally sourced ingredients and interesting variety of beer styles.  Our beers are brewed with hops grown locally by Hukins Hops – just 3 miles away! We soon outgrew the milking parlour and in mid 2014 built a new brewery inside two World War II Nissen buildings just off the High Street in Tenterden, Kent. Not for nothing is this pretty market town known as the ‘Jewel in the Weald’, and our brewery enjoys beautiful views over the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside.”

The beer: “superb golden pale ale which combines Maris Otter with Munich and Carapils malts, normally used in the finest continental lager. Add East Kent Goldings, Cascade and Fuggle hops and the result is a refreshing ‘anytime’ beer with good body, caramelised undertones and a distinctly gold colour. Perfect with fish and spicy food.”

The Old Dairy brewery is located just behind the Kent & East Sussex Railway and my visit there in September on a beautiful autumn day provided the perfect opportunity to procure some research samples. See blog post.

Not my favourite style of beer but it was very refreshing - a good summers’ ale - and would happily drink again - hopefully this time with something spicy as recommended! 4.3% A.B.V. September 2020. Related entries

Saturday, 17 October 2020

669: Old Dairy Brewery | Copper Top

20201003_190601The brewery: “Our story began early in 2010, when the brewery was set up in an old milking parlour deep in the Kent countryside. The Old Dairy Brewery was an immediate success, building a loyal fan base among ale enthusiasts who appreciated our finely crafted recipes, locally sourced ingredients and interesting variety of beer styles.  Our beers are brewed with hops grown locally by Hukins Hops – just 3 miles away! We soon outgrew the milking parlour and in mid 2014 built a new brewery inside two World War II Nissen buildings just off the High Street in Tenterden, Kent. Not for nothing is this pretty market town known as the ‘Jewel in the Weald’, and our brewery enjoys beautiful views over the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside.”

The beer: “Our rich dark premium bitter has a delicious toffee caramel body with chocolate undertones from the Maris Otter, Crystal and Chocolate malts. Balanced with a spicy and fruity bite from the Bramling Cross and locally grown Challenger hops, this is truly an ale to savour.Perfect with steak or your favourite roast.”

The Old Dairy brewery is located just behind the Kent & East Sussex Railway and my visit there in September on a beautiful autumn day provided the perfect opportunity to procure some research samples. See blog post.

Sadly it didn’t accompany either steak or a roast but was still very enjoyable indeed. My favourite style of beer and it delivered big time. Superb. 4.1% A.B.V. September 2020. Related entries


668: Old Dairy Brewery | Snow Top

20200926_162953The brewery: “Our story began early in 2010, when the brewery was set up in an old milking parlour deep in the Kent countryside. The Old Dairy Brewery was an immediate success, building a loyal fan base among ale enthusiasts who appreciated our finely crafted recipes, locally sourced ingredients and interesting variety of beer styles.  Our beers are brewed with hops grown locally by Hukins Hops – just 3 miles away! We soon outgrew the milking parlour and in mid 2014 built a new brewery inside two World War II Nissen buildings just off the High Street in Tenterden, Kent. Not for nothing is this pretty market town known as the ‘Jewel in the Weald’, and our brewery enjoys beautiful views over the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside.”

The beer: “The perfect ‘winter warmer’ for those long cold nights, Snow Top is brewed with rich dark English Maris Otter, Crystal and Black malts producing a deeply satisfying ale with delicious fruitcake and marmalade flavours, topped off with spicy notes from English Challenger, East Kent Golding and Bramling Cross hops.”

The Old Dairy brewery is located just behind the Kent & East Sussex Railway and my visit there in September on a beautiful autumn day provided the perfect opportunity to procure some research samples. See blog post.

I do like a strong dark ale and this didn’t disappoint. A perfect winter warmer, obviously strong but without being too syrupy. A nice drop. 6.0% A.B.V. September 2020. Related entries

Friday, 16 October 2020

667: Riverside Brewery | Dirty Arthur

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The brewery: “Nestled in the South Downs, alongside the winding River Adur, we brewed our first batch of the now-classic Beeding Best in 2015. Since then we have widened our range to include seasonal winners, a contemporary lager, a rather splendid mead and collaborations with local charities.”

The beer: “This beer was brewed to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of St. Marys School Washington, and is named after an old boy, Arthur Adsett. He was caned at school for being muddy hence his nickname. Arthur was killed at the battle of the Somme in World War 1 so the beer is brewed with three different hops, all grown in the Flanders area. It has been dry hopped with Saphir giving it a huge citrus/orange taste. “

Love the name but regulars will know that this was not to my taste. Bottle conditioned, 4.9% A.B.V. September 2020. Related entries

666: Riverside Brewery | Tubbers’ Tipple

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The brewery: “Nestled in the South Downs, alongside the winding River Adur, we brewed our first batch of the now-classic Beeding Best in 2015. Since then we have widened our range to include seasonal winners, a contemporary lager, a rather splendid mead and collaborations with local charities.”

The beer: “Named after those intrepid folk who braved the River Adur avoiding flour bombs and eggs in nothing more than glorified bath tubs, staying afloat long enough to paddle from Upper Beeding to Shoreham. Had our brewery been there at the time we are sure they would have stopped on the way and enjoyed this ‘oarsome’ beer worthy of their name. The beer has an earthy / spicy characteristic with just a hint of honey.”

Deceptively strong at 5.6%, to me it had a much mellower taste. Not my favourite of the Riverside offerings I’ve sampled but would happily drink another. Bottle conditioned. September 2020. Related entries

665: Riverside Brewery | Tangmere Tower

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The brewery: “Nestled in the South Downs, alongside the winding River Adur, we brewed our first batch of the now-classic Beeding Best in 2015. Since then we have widened our range to include seasonal winners, a contemporary lager, a rather splendid mead and collaborations with local charities.”

The beer: “The beer is brewed in a style which would have been familiar in the time of the Battle of Britain and the D-Day Landings. We have only used British hops giving the beer a clean crisp taste with a subtle hint of spice. Developed in conjunction with the “Save Tangmere Tower” group, a contribution to the funds will be made for each beer sold.”

And whilst many golden ales are not my thing, that clean crisp taste worked for me. A very refreshing pint - well, 500ml. Bottle conditioned, 4.4% A.B.V. September 2020. Related entries

664: Riverside Brewery | Beeding Best

20200919_210524The brewery: “Nestled in the South Downs, alongside the winding River Adur, we brewed our first batch of the now-classic Beeding Best in 2015. Since then we have widened our range to include seasonal winners, a contemporary lager, a rather splendid mead and collaborations with local charities.”

The beer: “The Brewery is based within the South Downs National Park on the banks of the River Adur. On the outskirts of Upper Beeding, so a bit of a no-brainer name for this one.The beer has a pine / floral characteristic with just a hint of liquorice.”

A Visit to Arundel Castle coincided with the monthly farmers market where I found this, the first of four ales on the blog from the Riverside Brewery, Upper Beeding in my adopted home county of Sussex.

An enjoyable quaff - I didn’t notice the pine or floral characteristics, neither did I notice the bit that said bottle conditioned so it was somewhat less than clear! No matter though, still tasted fine. 4.2%. September 2020. Related entries

Saturday, 3 October 2020

663: 71 Brewing Co. | Left Coast

20200828_140747The brewery: “71 Brewing Co Ltd.  is an independent brewery based in Dundee, Scotland. Since 2016 we have been crafting crisp lagers and seasonal beers inspired by progressive new world flavours and our favourite traditional classics. Our goal; to make beer that is bold but inclusive, refreshing to the last and always packed with flavour.”

The beer: “Classic American hops are married to a rich malt backbone. Deep golden in colour with flavours of citrus, pine, tropical fruit and a bold west coast bitterness to finish.”

Another APA but thankfully not as overwhelming as Talking Head. Not my favourite style of beer but it was a birthday gift that I was very grateful to receive. 5.4% A.B.V. August 2020.

662: First Chop | Syl

20200820_170906The brewery: “First Chop the award winning brewery sprung from humble beginnings. Created by chef, creative and restauranteur Rik, the beer was originally born from his acclaimed bar and restaurant of the same name in North Manchester……..First Chop initially settled under a Salford railway arch and combined the fledgling brewery with a rootsy live music, club and arts space at the heart of the Manchester scene. After many events, the site was sadly wiped out by a fire but Rik was on a roll with his beer and set up a new (permanent) home for the brand in nearby Eccles.”

The beer: “IPA plus hopping levels give big citrus, spice and herbal notes to this dark IPA which also has that rich spicy bitterness you only really achieve with first wort hopping.”

Black beers always appeal to my inner goth and thankfully I didn’t find this overtly hoppy. Not my favourite black beer but very drinkable. Gluten free, as is the whole range. 6.2% A.B.V. August 2020.

661: Williams Bros. | Talking Head

20200819_164018The brewery: “Williams Bros. Brewing Co. is located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire and is set in the old George Younger’s bottling hall in Kelliebank……..Our first commercial brews of 'Scotland's Original Craft Beer' were at a 5-barrel brewery in Taynult near Oban on the West Coast. Here we were able to brew just enough to supply cask conditioned Fraoch to 5 premises, including the Clachaig in Glencoe, which to this day remains our most loyal and enduring customer.”

The beer: “This Extra Pale Ale is an assertive blend of US hops. Through aromas of pine, a bitter tomahawk of soft ripe & tropical fruit explodes on the pallet. A crisp & fruity American Extra Pale Ale where the hops lead the way, backed up by just a touch of wheat.”

Wow, this beer was something else, though to my more tastes not in a good way. The ‘assertive’ hops combined with the fruit ‘explosion’ put this in a rather unique category in the Archive - I didn’t finish it. Nothing wrong with the quality but it was just too much for me, I didn’t enjoy it all all sadly. 4.4% A.B.V. August 2020. Related entries

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

660: 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

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

659: Backyard Brewhouse | Gold

20200817_183645The brewery: “….Since 2008 we have experimented with different combinations of hops and ingredients to find both traditional and new tasting ales…..Finest English malt is the base for all Backyard Brewhouse beers but it does not stop there. Combinations with hops such as New Age American, Old English, Slovenian and New Zealand as well as one or two other secret ingredients have helped make all our beers popular and distinctive…..We are determined to build on our previous successes; Winning national SIBA awards for Gold and Hoard. Regional SIBA and CAMRA awards for several of our beers as part of an ever growing awards cabinet, has helped us to secure a place as serious operators in the brewing community.”

The beer: “Golden bitter. Mosaic and Citra hops give an intense citrus, tropical experience.”

Another birthday gift, folks certainly know what to buy me which is lovely. A bit too citrusy for me if I’m honest but it’s a very welcome taste on a warm day nonetheless again, perhaps served a tad colder than usual. 4.5% A.B.V.

August 2020.

658: Hobsons | Old Henry

20200816_201226The brewery: “Founded in 1993 by the Davis family, over the past 26 years Hobsons have grown to become a leading brewer in Shropshire and one of the most sustainable breweries in the UK. The success of our brewery and its many awards has been down to a strong culture of supporting our region, its people and its resources.”

The beer: “A rich auburn ale with complex malty flavours and a richness balanced by the clean hoppy finish.  A signature brew for Henry Hobson that embodies the Hobsons art of brewing beyond their weight…..Old Henry is a premium British ale brewed with the finest local Maris Otter barley and Worcestershire hops - Goldings and Challenger.”

A birthday gift and a lovely drop, the sort of ale my palate craves. I was delighted to come across another Hobsons beer after a 4 year gap. 5.2% A.B.V.

August 2020. Related entries

657: Goffs Brewery | Jouster

20200811_211237The brewery: Goffs Brewery was born in the shadows of Sudeley Castle by Marcus and Alison Goff, both of whom have a passion for creating great tasting beers.  Marcus’ father, Master Brewer Brian Goff, created the first batch of Jouster in 1994 – a good honest all English hopped session bitter – which has twice been a finalist in CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival, as well as winning many other regional awards.”

The beer: “A drinkable, tawny coloured ale, with a light hoppiness in the aroma. It has a good balance of malt and bitterness in the mouth, underscored by fruitiness, with a clean, hoppy aftertaste.”

My second beer from Goffs and like the Black Knight it didn’t disappoint either. Well balanced and very drinkable. 4.0% A.B.V.

August 2020. Related entries

656: Goffs Brewery | Black Knight

20200811_200851The brewery: “Goffs Brewery was born in the shadows of Sudeley Castle by Marcus and Alison Goff, both of whom have a passion for creating great tasting beers.  Marcus’ father, Master Brewer Brian Goff, created the first batch of Jouster in 1994 – a good honest all English hopped session bitter – which has twice been a finalist in CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival, as well as winning many other regional awards.”

The beer: “A deep ruby red beer with powerful chocolate malt aromas and a hint of vanilla.  Brewed with Bramling Cross hops for a soft lingering fruity finish.  A classic porter.”

When in Rome etc, or in this case the Cotswolds as I was for a few weeks in the summer. Not a brewery I’d heard of but the imagery appealed and so did the beer. Hardly an ale to be drinking on a hit summers’ night but it went down well anyway. Tasty. 5.3% A.B.V.

August 2020. Related entries

655: Tower Brewery | Imperial

20200809_155741The  brewery: ”In 2001 helped by his family, John Mills established the Tower Brewery, continuing in the long tradition of brewing in Burton on Trent……Over a period of nine months and with a lot of hard work, John and his father Geoffrey converted the handsome water tower, in which the brewery is now based….Steeped in brewing history and known as Walsitch Maltings, the tower was built in the 1870s by Thomas Salt & Co Ltd., and later in 1927 owned by Burton brewers Bass & Co……With the conversion finished and the building returned to its former heritage, production began on 10th April 2001.”

The beer: “A premium IPA, light golden in colour with a rich fruity citrus flavour and floral hoppy aroma. Distinctive and deceptively quaffable”

Another beer, the style of which does not normally please my fussy palate but which went down quite well. A warm sunny day helped no doubt. Looking forward to trying some others from the range when the opportunity arises.

August 2020.

654: Chadlington | Oxford Blue

20200806_193256The brewery: “Known as The Oxford Beer, Chadlington Brewery is passionate about the art of brewing beer. We take our inspiration from the glorious Oxfordshire countryside to create great tasting beers that everyone can enjoy. Brewed using only natural ingredients including Oxfordshire spring water and the finest English hops and malt, we take our time to ensure each and every brew is the best it can be.”

The beer: “Oxford Blue is golden in colour, superbly balanced with a refreshingly clean and citrus finish.”

On one of the hottest days of the year this worked really well, imbibed whilst trying to avoid the late afternoon scorching sun on a campsite in the Cotswolds. Should have served it colder but the cool box was struggling in the heat. Still enjoyed it though. 4.2% A.B.V.

August 2020.

653: Teme Valley Brewery | Wotever next

20200806_170100The brewery: “The Teme Valley Brewery is a craft producer of cask and bottle-conditioned beers. Opened in 1997 to brew for The Talbot in Knightwick, Worcestershire (www.the-talbot.co.uk), the brewery has expanded and now sells directly to pubs and specialist off-licences across the West Midlands.”

The beer: “A strong, dark and bitter beer. The distinctive dry finish derives from chocolate malt, Pilgrim and Cascade hops. A long fermentation leaves little sweetness behind. A good counter balance to a sticky dessert.”

Another procured from a Co-Op near the Malverns - it’s great to see shops make the effort to stock local and regional brews. I wish my local Co-Op did. Anyway, this was more back to my usual and very tasty it was too. Unfiltered and unpasteurised so needed to be poured carefully. A nice drop even without the sticky dessert!

August 2020

652: The Friday Beer Company | WR14

20200802_180600The brewery: “When the recession took hold, and three expert material scientists were made redundant, they took it on the chin and pooled their resources. From the back-rooms and sheds of their homes was born an idea: real ale brewed in the heart of the Malvern Hills using local and British ingredients to produce fine flavours. Three years later, in 2014, the company has grown and developed, recently moving into the second, larger brewery.”

The beer: “WR14 (the brewery postcode!) is a naturally sweet, hoppy ale with a full bodied texture. It has citrus and spice aromas derived from a blend of English and European hops.”

One of the many joys of caravanning is getting to taste local brews like this - ones which don’t make it on to the shelves nationally. Found this in a Co-Op just outside Malvern and it was consumed on a campsite with fine views of the Malvern Hills. A tad too sweet for me but nonetheless still quaffable.

August 2020.

651: Wychwood | Dry Neck

20200729_184705The brewery: “The Wychwood Brewery is tucked away behind the main street of the market town of Witney, in the heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Witney is historically famous for its 3 Bs; bread, blankets and of course beer. Brewing in Witney dates back to 1811 and Wychwood Brewery is sited at the Old Eagle Maltings, built more than 150 years ago when barley was malted for the town's brewery.”

The beer: “The perfect beer to quench the driest of throats. Malts of the palest hue combined with the magic of Mosaic hops create refreshing fruity aromas and thirst-quenching flavours of sweet citrus and dark berry fruits.”

Oddly, given the description, I enjoyed this, But it was hot, I was thirsty and the beer was a little colder than usual. Not a cosy fireside ale for me but it worked well outdoors on a campsite on a warm summers’ afternoon. 4.0% A.B.V.

August 2020. Related entries

Monday, 17 August 2020

650: Butcombe | Gold

20200724_122301The brewery: “Bristol born and made to stand out, Butcombe Brewing Co. began life at a time of cultural, social and political change, crafting beer before ‘craft beer’ was even a thing…….You see, at that time, no one was risking it all starting a brewery, making simple, premium, easy-drinking ale. To do so was an act of defiance. Or madness. But, 42 years and a lot of hard graft later, by staying true to our beliefs and Bristolian roots, it looks like owning a resolutely maverick brewing company isn’t such a crazy idea after all. By going against the grain, to work intimately with it, we made our own statement with every pint. And what was true then is just as important today.”

The beer: “Go gold or go home. Made from dazzling Maris Otter malt, our exceptional golden ale won’t disappoint. Part bitter, part sweet, 100% refreshing. Fearlessly brewed, this is a well-balanced, full-bodied golden beer with a subtle floral and herby aroma. A true Bristol sunset in a bottle, worth its weight in gold……Gold is the perfect complement to a rich tomato ragu with al dente pasta, bringing out the earthiness of Italian herbs for a dynamic, satisfying flavour combination with a quirky twist. “

My second ale from the Butcombe stable on this trip. It was ok - and there was nothing wrong with it physically - but it just didn’t excite. A good session beer on a hot day though were it a little weaker. 4.4% A.B.V.

August 2020. Related entries

649: Butcombe | Goram IPA

20200723_194827The brewery: “Bristol born and made to stand out, Butcombe Brewing Co. began life at a time of cultural, social and political change, crafting beer before ‘craft beer’ was even a thing…….You see, at that time, no one was risking it all starting a brewery, making simple, premium, easy-drinking ale. To do so was an act of defiance. Or madness. But, 42 years and a lot of hard graft later, by staying true to our beliefs and Bristolian roots, it looks like owning a resolutely maverick brewing company isn’t such a crazy idea after all. By going against the grain, to work intimately with it, we made our own statement with every pint. And what was true then is just as important today.”

The beer: “Goram – Bristol’s legendary giant – was no stranger to a well-crafted ale. Fortunately neither are we. Ode to his renegade ways, our IPA uses a punchy blend of American and Worcestershire hops to balance stone fruit, citrus and bitter notes with spicy hop aromas. Strong, big flavoured and with the ABV of a classic ale. When it comes to IPAs, Goram towers above the rest…..Goram is huge on flavour, so it’s happiest when in the company of vintage Cheddar, spicy pickles, rich chutneys or a classic slow-roasted pork belly.”

Strangely, given their description, this worked for me, however it was a warm day and I think my taste buds like something a little fruitier, particularly if it is served a tad colder too.

August 2020. Related entries.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

648: Bath Ales | Wild Hare

20200723_173904The brewery: “Bath Ales brewed its first beer in 1995 at a tiny brewery in Wincanton, Somerset. Since then the brewery has moved twice, but the beer we make and the Hare that proudly adorns our beers remains the same – with a bit of a refresh along the way……..Founded by Roger Jones and Richard Dempster, the pair brought on Rab Clark, a local publican, because he was willing to sell their first beer. Demand for Bath Gem quickly spread though, and as business grew the brewery bought its own pub, the Hare on the Hill, and moved production to Bristol.”

The beer: “Crisp and fresh with a subtle hint of citrus bitterness, Wild Hare (5% abv) is a full-flavoured golden ale bursting with hedgerow fruit notes…..This classic British pale ale uses English-grown First Gold hops to add fleshy fruits, floral acacia and lots of citrus notes to the beer’s light, malty taste.  Gluten free and certified with Coeliac UK .”

I’m a big fan of the more popular Gem from Bath Ales but this, not surprisingly given the description didn’t do it for me, even allowing for a nice warm summer day on which it was drunk. I still found it a bit too fruity - nowt wrong with it, just not to my taste.

July 2018. Related entries

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