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Showing posts from August, 2022

800: Bathams | Best Bitter

The brewery: “Bathams have become a family born to brew, with the  sixth generation now involved in creating and serving a legendary beer of the Black Country…..The company has continued to expand from that day in 1882 when Daniel Batham senior became the landlord of the White Horse in Cradley Heath. We think he would be proud to know that 137 years later in 2019 that Batham’s would be operating 11 pubs and supplying many more throughout the Black Country and beyond!” The beer: “A straw-coloured bitter which initially seems sweet, but a complex dry, hoppy taste soon predominates.” A little paler than I had in mind for a best bitter but it was nonetheless a nice drop and accompanied a great Sunday roast too. The King & Castle , Kidderminster. August 2022 “

799: Staffordshire | Peakstones Rock | Black Hole

The brewery: “Conceived during a Sunday afternoon pint, David Edwards brewed his first batch of Nemesis in May 2005. The brewery now produces 9 different real ales regularly in our 4.5 barrel plant based in the Staffordshire Moorlands. The beers take their names from the surrounding area as the brewery looks out across Dimmingsdale Wood, home of the Chained Oak towards the village of Alton.“ The beer: “A dark award winning beer brewed with chocolate malt that always impresses.” My first of the day at the CVR and impress it certainly did. A fabulous day all around with some heritage railway action, lovely scenery and some awesome ales too. The Churnet Valley Railway Rail Ale Trail July 2022.

798: Staffordshire | Peakstones Rock | Alton Abbey

The brewery: “Conceived during a Sunday afternoon pint, David Edwards brewed his first batch of Nemesis in May 2005. The brewery now produces 9 different real ales regularly in our 4.5 barrel plant based in the Staffordshire Moorlands. The beers take their names from the surrounding area as the brewery looks out across Dimmingsdale Wood, home of the Chained Oak towards the village of Alton.“ The beer: “A ruby coloured beer with a smooth fruity flavour.” A tad too fruity for me to be honest but otherwise a tasty pint. The Churnet Valley Railway Rail Ale Trail July 2022.

797: Liverpool | Flagship | Silhouette

The brewery: “Flagship Beer was launched in 2016, and has gone from supplying just The Ship & Mitre to national distribution…..We brew small batches, just 620 litres a time, to ensure the beer is freshest. Most of our beer is grain-to-glass in less than a month.” The beer: “Dry Irish stout, with plenty of roasted, toasted richness.” Not my favourite of the afternoon - there was some stiff competition - but very pleasant nonetheless. 4.5% A.B.V. The Churnet Valley Railway Rail Ale Trail July 2022.

796: Wrexham | Sandstone | Abyss

The brewery: “Sandstone Brewery has helped to restore a traditional craft to the town of Wrexham. Commissioned in late 2008, the 4-barrel plant is situated in a former explosives manufacturing unit on Wrexham Industrial Estate, it has also been infested with Dragons since time immemorial. Well, at  least since the beer arrived.” The beer: Nothing on their website about this one but found this online: “Made from a careful blend of seven malts to create a truly unique flavour. Hidden depths of rich flavours including caramel, chocolate and a slight coffee note.” Delicious, the flavours were all there even though I’d had quite a busy day ‘researching’. The Churnet Valley Railway Rail Ale Trail July 2022.

795: Nottinghamshire | Flipside | Flipping Best

The brewery: “In May 2014 we opened our brewery tap, the Old Volunteer in Carlton Square, Nottingham. The pub has nine real ales on hand pull, four of which are Flipside brewery beers with five regularly changing guest beers….After a lot of thought about a name for a brewery we came up with Flipside, a reference to the coin collecting hobby of our head brewer. This also provides the theme for the names of the beers which are loosely based around coins and currency, apart from when we can’t resist using the word "flipping"!” The beer: “A traditional dark brown best bitter. Strong malt flavours complemented with good bitterness and gentle hop flavours. At 4.6%, a popular beer for the bitter lover.” Couldn’t agree more, very tasty, even in plastic. The Churnet Valley Railway Rail Ale Trail July 2022.

794: Wiltshire | Twisted Brewing Co. | Gaucho

The brewery: “As an authentic micro brewery we know the value of producing small batches of traditional beers that showcase the best of traditional British beer, from best bitters to pale ales we have beers that everyone loves to drink.” The beer: “This dark ruby red ale celebrates the malt with a dark caramel and chocolate base, balanced on a blend of European hops. Aromas of soft fruit, chocolate and toffee play around the taste of berries.  A great beer to have with your Sunday dinner.” This was a busy day ‘research’ wise but I very much enjoyed this. A lovely combination of flavours. 4.6% A.B.V. Black Lion , Consall Forge, Staffordshire. July 2022.

793: Cheshire | Robinsons | Wizard

The brewery: “Based in the heart of Stockport for over 181-years, owning a collection of around 260 pubs, inns and hotels across the North West and North Wales, Robinsons is one of the most respected names in British brewing and innkeeping.” The beer: “This is the stuff of Cheshire legend (The Wizard of Alderley Edge), combined with 5 English hops, pale, wheat and magical crystal malts. The result is Wizard, a mythical amber ale with a spell-binding fruity, zesty palate…and a tantalising hint of blackcurrant.” Not my favourite style but it was well kept and went down well on a warm evening The Wilbraham Arms , Alsager, Cheshire. July 2022.

792: Leicestershire | Leatherbritches | Bad Boy

The brewery: “Long before the days of scientific analysis and the invention of the saccrometer, Ale Conners, who collected taxes for the Crown, needed to check the strength of the beers brewed. They would pour some of the beer onto a barrel top, sit on it for a while, and, depending on how sticky they felt it to be when they stood up, they were able to assess it's alcoholic strength and impose the appropriate duty. Worsted, cord and even moleskin trousers failed to withstand this onerous duty. Thus leather britches were worn by all the Ale Conners and they became the mark of their profession.” The beer: Nothing on the website but found this on the ‘net: "Mid-brown in colour with a fresh hoppiness flavour, and a bitter sweet lingering finish.” Nice drop this although a tad hoppy for me. Refreshing though. 4.6% A.B.V. Nice pub with good value food too. The Bulls Head , Smallwood, Cheshire. July 2022.

791: Cumbria | Great Corby | Corby Ale

The brewery: “Since starting in October 2010, Great Corby Brewhouse has been a very enjoyable and hands-on experience. Great Corby Brewhouse uses the finest ingredients to create a classic range of core beers, we have a small dedicated team who take care and pride in producing our ales.” The beer: “Classic copper coloured ale with a soft caramel palate rounded off with fine English golding hops".” Another good honest bitter here - nothing fancy but tasty - a great session ale. 3.8% A.B.V. July 2022. Related entries .

790: Cumbria | Hesket Newmarket | Black Sail

The brewery: “We are a small, co-operatively owned micro-brewery based in the beautiful village of Hesket Newmarket in the north of the Lake District National Park. We have been producing fine real ale ever since we started in 1988; we are now Cumbria’s oldest surviving micro-brewery. Our brews are loved by locals and visitors alike; to such an extent that the brewery became co- operatively owned in 1999 to prevent its closure or sale to a larger enterprise.” The beer: “A traditional stout brewed with a blend of dark malts including lots of chocolate. Complex flavours of coffee, liquorice and cocoa are tempered by using malted oats to smooth out the sharpness. Hopped with a simple bill of English hop varieties to give a delicious bitterness resulting in a classic stout.” Another gorgeous stout from my time in the North Lakes. It’s taste belied it’s relatively modest strength. 4.0% A.B.V. July 2022

789: Lancashire | Moorhouse’s | Pendle Witches Brew

The brewery: “We have been producing world-class beverages in Burnley for 150 years” The beer: “Summoned by the witches, this mystical beast prowls in the shadows, stalking its prey, ready to pounce. A bold, malty amber beer with spice fruit notes and crisp fruity aftertaste.” Nestled in the shadow of Pendle Hill, Moorhouse’s beer names give a nod to the legends, folklore and the witch trials held in 1612. A nice drop this thought that fruity finish was a little too prevalent for my awkward taste buds. Enjoyable though. 4.9% A.B.V. July 2022. Related entries.

788: Cumbria | Cumbrian Ales | Esthwaite Bitter

The brewery: “Cumbrian Ales is a craft brewery lying on the shores of Esthwaite Water at the southern edge of Hawkshead village in the English Lake District. Established in 2003 our beers are all produced with care and pride using the wonderful Lake District Fell water.” The beer: “Delicious amber bitter with a distinctive flavour from the combination of malts and American Cascade hops.” After all the big dark guns on my trip to the North Lakes this initially seemed a little lifeless but I rapidly grew to like it. It’s this sort of beer that brought me back to ale after years of drinking lager after all. A very pleasant good honest bitter. 3.8% A.B.V. July 2022. Related entries.

787: Cumbria | Ulverston Brewing Co. | Celebration Ale

The brewery: “….in 2006 the brand new Ulverston Brewing Company made its home in the old winding machine shed of the Diamond Pit in Lindal…..Demand grew and grew and finally they decided to take the plunge into full-time brewing –  well it’s full time for Anita at the moment, with Paul fitting in the deliveries and everything else when he finishes the day job!” The beer: “A pale, slightly spicy, refreshing golden beer, initially brewed to celebrate the unveiling of the Laurel and Hardy statue in 2010. Undoubtedly a top quality beer if not my favourite style. the hint of spice was different though. 3.9% A.B.V. July 2022.

786: Cumbria | Cumbrian Ales | Grasmoor Dark

The brewery: “Cumbrian Ales is a craft brewery lying on the shores of Esthwaite Water at the southern edge of Hawkshead village in the English Lake District. Established in 2003 our beers are all produced with care and pride using the wonderful Lake District Fell water.” The beer: “A robust dark ale brewed with generous amounts of Maris Otter, Crystal and Chocolate malts together with all English hops.” Another delicious dark ale from the North-West though not my favourite - but then the competition has been pretty hot on this trip. 4.3% A.B.V. July 2022. Related entries.

785: Yorkshire | Saltaire | No.5

The brewery: "At Saltaire we’re passionate about how we make our beer – it’s the only way we know how. We don’t compromise on quality. Truly independent, we’ve been making internationally award-winning beer this way since 2006." The beer: “This classic stout’s creamy smoothness and roasted malt flavours will leave you wanting more.” Another lovely drop from Saltaire though their Triple Chocolate stout just tops it for me. 4.2% A.B.V. July 2022 Related entries.

784: Cumbria | Windermere Brewing Co. | Dog’th Vader

The brewery: “Millholme Country Hotel was purchased in 1987 by the Coulthwaite family who dreamed of opening a traditional Lakeland inn, and ultimately, an on-site brewery. Developments soon began and The Watermill Inn was born, with the doors opening in 1990. Alan and his son Brian’s further aspirations were achieved in 2006 when they launched the Windermere Brewing Company.“ The beer: “Come over to the dark side”, this is a well balanced stout beer with fruit , a malty flavour that has a dry bitter aftertaste to finish.A dark , powerful “may the force be with you” beer.” Yep, another tasty stout from Cumbria. They know how to brew good stouts up here. 5.0% A.B.V. July 2022.

783: Cumbria | Kirby Lonsdale | Jubilee

The brewery: “Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery Co Ltd was established February 2009…….After many months of planning and preparation, the brewery was finally installed by Porter Brewing Company and is situated at the Old Station Yard, Kirkby Lonsdale.” The beer: “A powerful yet smooth stout brewed with chocolate and black malts, and just a hint of roasted barley. Pale malt and liquorice to show through.” Another good ‘un from the gang at KLB. Exceptionally smooth and didn’t taste as strong as it was. 5.5% A.B.V. July 2022. More from this brewery . More from this area.

782: Cumbria | Great Corby | Coffee Milk Stout

The brewery: “Since starting in October 2010, Great Corby Brewhouse has been a very enjoyable and hands-on experience. Great Corby Brewhouse uses the finest ingredients to create a classic range of core beers, we have a small dedicated team who take care and pride in producing our ales.” The beer: “A full bodied smooth coffee milk stout with chocolate notes.” This was even better than their very enjoyable basic Stout , almost like a meal in a glass. Absolutely superb. 4.7% A.B.V. July 2022.

781: Cumbria | Eden Brew Company | Beacon

The brewery: “Eden was born out of a dream of better beer. The kind of beer that requires love and hard work. The kind of beer you demand; beer for people who aren't afraid to push themselves.” The beer: “Beacon has a special place in our hearts as the first beer we ever brewed. We'll be honest in our experimental beginnings it was far from 'the best' at all. But three brews later we had perfected our gorgeous, light chestnut best bitter. We use traditional floor malted Maris Otter barley and personally choose a classic blend of English hop varieties to make what we call 'the best of the bests'.” They certainly did get it right - as far as my palate was concerned anyway, very tasty. Another Cumbrian beer procured and enjoyed whilst on a caravan trip to the North Lakes. 4.0% A.B.V. July 2022.

780: Great Corby | Stout

The brewery: “Since starting in October 2010, Great Corby Brewhouse has been a very enjoyable and hands-on experience. Great Corby Brewhouse uses the finest ingredients to create a classic range of core beers, we have a small dedicated team who take care and pride in producing our ales.” The beer: “Dark, roasted and smooth, with chocolate notes and a balanced malty palate.” The first of three beers from Great Corby and it didn’t disappoint - in fact none of them did. I like a nice bold stout and this worked really well. 4.5% ABV. July 2022. Related entries

779: Tirril | Kirkstone Gold

The brewery: “Based in Long Marton, near Appleby, Tirril Brewery offers fine traditional ales, refreshingly crisp pilsners & a range of spirits. The first brew was delayed for a month, by the arrival of our daughter India. It turned out by chance that the current Tirril Brewery opened exactly 100 years after Siddle’s the last brewery in Tirril had closed….“ The beer: “Our first specifically designed Lakeland Ale. A pale golden beer, lighter in colour than our Grasmere Gold, yet also subtly hopped to make for plentiful session drinking.” It didn’t offend and hardly excited but after a warm day out on Ullswater it was indeed very refreshing. Pleasant but not outstanding - but that’s just my palate. 3.9% A.B.V. Glenridding Hotel , Cumbria. July 2022.

778: Bowness Bay | Swan Black

The brewery: “In a region renowned for delicious local produce and divine taste experiences, Bowness Bay Brewing have been producing a range of hand-crafted traditionally made beers using the famous Lake District water to create the freshest, cleanest beers around.” The beer: “Set sail on a journey into the deliciously darker waters of our black IPA with its start-to-finish hoppy magnificence. Allow this beer’s rich chocolate sweetness along with its subtle citrus notes and grassy loveliness to wash over and refresh you with its Lakeland water freshness.” I liked the colour -obviously - but the flavour? Not so much. A tad too hoppy for me in truth. Forgot my specs when I went into Booth’s in Keswick and so didn’t read the label. 4.6% A.B.V. July 2022

777: Kirkby Lonsdale | Ruskin’s

The brewery: “Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery Co Ltd was established February 2009…….After many months of planning and preparation, the brewery was finally installed by Porter Brewing Company and is situated at the Old Station Yard, Kirkby Lonsdale.” The beer: “Brewed using fine Maris Otter malted barley complimented with Magnum and Brewers Gold hops to give a fruity and spicy characteristic, with a lasting dry finish…..The name of the first beer produced, “Ruskins”, comes from the iconic Ruskin’s View which Turner famously painted in 1816.” Good old Booth’s supermarket is always a good source of ales when I’m up north and this first of a number procured from their store in Kewsick did not disappoint. Very tasty indeed without being too potent. 3.9% A.B.V. July 2022.

776: Magic Dragon | Border Bitter

The brewery: “Our Brewery is based in North Wales and located in the Plassey, it is the oldest micro brewery in Wales surrounded by glorious countryside. Richard moved into the brewery in 2017 and started making real ale from our 12-barrel brew plant.” The beer: “Welsh traditional best bitter.” Not the most descriptive of tasting notes nut nevertheless a very fine good honest bitter. Not too strong but tasty. 3.8% A.B.V. July 2022. Related entries.

775: Peerless | Knee Buckler IPA

The brewery: “Peerless Brewing is an award winning microbrewery based in Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula. We specialise in creating modern cask conditioned ales and keg beers by combining traditional brewing techniques and fine ingredients with a modern approach.” The beer: “Knee Buckler is a wonderfully golden IPA style beer. At 5.2% there is good strength and lots of initial hop bitterness which is matched with a little hint of sweetness from the use of  Crystal and Caramalts,  The aftertaste and aroma comes from a blend of American hops, Citra, Cascade and Columbus which gives a distinct fruity finish.” Not my favourite style of beer but on a warm day, and it being nicely chilled, it went down very well indeed. 5.2% A.B.V. July 2022.

774: St Peters | Golden Ale

The brewery: “St. Peter’s Brewery is one of England’s original craft breweries, founded in 1996 in former traditional agricultural buildings alongside the moated St. Peter’s Hall, deep in the picturesque Suffolk countryside.” The beer: “English Pale malts coupled with Challenger and Goldings hops provide the bitterness and aroma. The result is a highly distinctive light, golden ale, with caramel aromas, a pleasing toffee apple flavour and a late bitterness.” I tend to gravitate towards darker beers more and more these days, however I liked this more than I expected too. A nice summer beer indeed. 4.7% A.B.V June 2022

773: Shalford | Rotten End

A basic website with no history of the brewery, however they are based in Essex. The beer: “Traditionally coloured and strong, accompanied by slightly sweet and nutty undertones with a bitter edge to finish.” A gift from a caravanning friend and well received it was too, I didn’t find it too sweet. Bottle conditioned so pour carefully and 6.5% A.B.V so drink carefully May 2022. Related entries.