Sunday, 23 February 2014

Arundel Brewery – Queens Park Hop

WP_20131231_009Another beer that made the short journey from Sussex  up to South London. Brewed with hops from Queens Park in Brighton, this must have been a special as it is not on the brewery’s web site. I seemed to recall enjoying it but it was New Years Eve and getting a little late…..

Loddon - Hoppit

WP_20131231_005What the brewery say: The predominant hops in Hoppit are East Kent Goldings which traditionally have a Seville Orange marmalade flavour. As well as Pale Ale malt, Hoppit also contains dark Invert Sugar which gives the beer its smooth taste.

My first beer from this Oxfordshire brewery and it didn’t disappoint. The lighter 3.5% A.B.V was welcome as we were well into our New Years Eve research expedition. Enjoyable and a great session beer.

By The Horns–The Mayor of Garratt

WP_20131231_004What the brewery says: A truly London Bitter brewed in the most traditional way. This best bitter is brewed with British Malt, Yeast and Hops, with London water, passion and heritage.

Yes, loved this second offering from young London brewery By The Horns. Everything I like about an ale was here. 4.3% A.B.V.

Brains – S.A.

WP_20131231_003What the brewer says: The renowned ‘special ale’ is copper coloured with a full premium quality flavour. A nutty richness derived from a blend of fine pale and crystal malts is balanced with a satisfying dryness from the unique use of three hops: Challenger, Goldings and Fuggles. The aroma has a hint of spirit which adds to the legendary mystique of this premium cask beer.

Enjoyed this more than once on our British Isles Tour which started in Cardiff. An excellent Best Bitter found over 200 miles away in South London, and the 2nd on our New Years Eve research expedition.

Exmoor – Gold

WP_20131231_002What the brewery says: an appetising and enticing gold in colour. The nose is an interplay between a fresh bouquet of grassy and floral hop and a subtly soft, fluffy caramel-tinged maltiness. The palate sees more balance between gentle grainy maltiness and sprightly floral, citrusy fresh hop fruitiness. The finish is bittersweet with hints of citrus fruit weaving in and out.

Actually, they said a whole lot more too. Click HERE to check out the full, unedited text which pretty much sums it up. Perhaps more likely to lure lager drinkers than bitter lovers, I enjoyed it nonetheless. The first of rather too much ‘research’ on New Years Eve.

Brighton Bier – West Pier

WP_20131230_008What the brewer says: A classic, hop forward, flavour packed pale ale. Simcoe, Centennial and Cascade hops set against a satisfying malt base.

Liked this offering from a craft brewery in what is now our home town, but sampled whilst up in Crystal palace, South London. Not over hoppy and at 4% A.B.V, flavoured but not overpowering.

Sharp’s – Cornish Coaster

WP_20131230_007What the brewery says: At 3.6% abv and with a generous measure of refreshing flavour and light golden hue, Cornish Coaster is the perfect drink to quench the thirst on a hot summer day.

Couldn’t agree more, but sadly didn’t come across this whilst in Cornwall in the summer. On offer at Westow House in Crystal Palace over Christmas, who can always be relied upon for a varied selection of real ales. 

Slaters – Bitter

WP_20131229_005What the brewery says: Following a successful small trial in 2010, this exciting golden beer has become a firm favourite. Traditionally hopped with lots of Fuggles and Golding Hops.

Yes, regulars will guess that this was a little too hoppy for me but not unpleasant and at 3.8% A.B.V, easy drinking. 3rd in line after a strong Pale Ale and an equally strong Porter on a Sunday night before New Year in Crystal Palace so my taste buds were perhaps not as receptive as they could have been…..

Hogs Back - TEA

WP_20131229_003What the brewer says: Our top selling, award winning, best bitter in a bottle. A deep golden colour. TEA is refreshing, hoppy and well balanced. Surely the best drink of the day!

Have had this in the bottle but never on draught. Again The Grape & Grain in Crystal Palace came up trumps. If I recall correctly this has been on most of the times we have been in there in the last couple of years. The TEA is Traditional English Ale and it didn’t disappoint. The 4.2% A.B.V. adds body but does not overpower it. Very, very nice.

Click on the picture to go to the brewery’s web site.

By The Horns – Lambeth Walk

WP_20131229_002What the brewer says: Velvety, rich and chock full of flavour with notes of coffee bean, cocoa, toasted hazelnuts and hint of dark berries.

Not my usual tipple but when in Rome, well London, it seemed rude not to try a traditional London ale. On offer at the excellent The Grape & Grain in Crystal Palace over the Christmas break was this from a very young (2011) brewery just a few miles away in Wandsworth.

Not a beer to rush and at 5.1% A.B.V you wouldn't want to.

Kelham Island – Pale Rider

WP_20131229_001What the brewery says: A legendary premium pale ale forged from the finest Maris Otter malt and a special blend of American hops. The nose is of fresh citrus and berry fruits with a smooth juicy malt character and deceptively moreish finish that belies its strength.

Our stays at the Crystal Palace caravan park in South London provide excellent ‘research’ opportunities thanks to the large number of hostelries within walking distance that keep a wide and changing selection of real ales.

This one popped up at the Wetherspoons ‘ The Postal Order’ just before New Year and well done to them for continuing to source beers from smaller regional breweries as well as the big boys. 5.2% A.B.V so go easy!

Badger – First Gold

WP_20131228_008What the brewery says: A clean, fresh, distinctive ale with hints of orange and spice from the hop, perfect with traditional English roasts and pies.

Another very drinkable ale from the popular  Dorset brewery that can be served a little colder than your more traditional bitter. A good summer ale – if we ever get one. 4% A.B.V in both bottle and on draught

Monday, 3 February 2014

Thwaites – Nutty Black

WP_20131228_007What the brewers say: Curious dark ruby mild with a hint of nuttiness but unmistakable roasted and bittersweet flavours. Brewed with only the finest dark kiln roasted malts and English barley for a bittersweet flavour and lightly hopped with Fuggles and Goldings.

Following on from Fullers Black Cab was this offering from Thwaites, procured at the same Londis store in Crystal Palace and continuing the evenings dark ale theme. This mild was a little sweet for me but made for an interesting alternative. A true bottle conditioned beer so store upright and pour carefully to avoid disturbing the yeast. 3.9% A.B.V.

Fullers – Black Cab

WP_20131228_003 What the brewers say: this tasty dark beer, from London's only traditional brewery, will transport you to the days when porters and stouts were Londoners' drink of choice. Now being rediscovered by today's discerning drinker, this style of stout delivers a rich full flavour from the chocolate malts in the brew, giving way to a satisfying creamy finish.

I’m not a regular stout drinker but will try anything once – particularly if it’s from Fullers who produce one of my favourite ales (London Pride). Not only that, but anything with black in the title piques my interest! Procured from a Londis in Westow Hill in Crystal Palace which had an impressive number of bottled ales. Not as creamy as say a Guinness but enjoyable still 4.2% A.B.V.