Sunday, 30 October 2016

Joules – Moon Madness

WP_20161028_17_08_03_ProWhat they say: “A twisted but Smooth, rich and rounded ale is what our night brewer has to offer you during this haunting season. A mysterious but luxurious mild launched during the full moon of October 16th. Brewed using high quality English grown malts roasted alive, giving hints of rich fruit, treacle and liquorice, complemented with a gentle bitterness from traditional hops also grown within our shores. Fly the flag for Britain with this all English arresting ale.”

Yeah, I like this too. Sadly only a seasonal unlike the equally tasty Slumbering Monk. 4.666% A.B.V.

The Rose Villa Tavern, Birmingham. October 2016

George Gale & Co – Fire Cracker

WP_20161028_16_08_26_ProWhat they say:

“using mulling spices associated with the festive period. There’s a delicate touch of cinnamon in there, and some star anise too. We could tell you the rest, but then it wouldn’t be a secret recipe any more…”

“A rich, tawny ale, Firecracker combines a blend of malts with subtle spices for a complex yet not-too-sweet palate. Soft-fruit flavours and hints of orange come from the Gales yeast, bringing the beer to a satisfying, warming finish.”

So, Fullers really but nowt wrong with that in my book and I do love these winter warmers, though at 4.8% A.B.V I’d have to go easy. Not too sweet either. And in a great pub too.

The Old Joint Stock, Birmingham. October 2016

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Exeter Brewery – Fall’s Over

WP_20161027_18_49_55_ProWhat they say: “Our winter special. Fall’s Over was created in November 2011 as our full-bodied full-flavour winter season warmer. Fall’s Over is a deep ruby-red bitter with warm malt flavours and a crisp berry-fruit finish.”

Hmm, lovely stuff. As described above and a great ale for the colder months but at 5.0& A.B.V to might want to go easy. The malt flavours certainly dominated the fruits.

The Brickmakers Arms, Berkswell, Coventry. October 2016

Church End – What The Fox’s Hat

WP_20161026_19_49_41_ProWhat they say: “A full golden coloured beer with a soft hop flavour and finish.”

One of the clearest beers I’ve had on this trip. Very enjoyable too and from nearby Nuneaton. The hops were subtle and while I usually prefer a darker ale I would happily drink this again given it’s quality. The food was superb too, certainly the best we’ve had so far this week. 4.2% A.B.V

The Red Lion, Corley Moor, Coventry. October 2016

Mitchells & Butlers – Brew XI

WP_20161024_20_01_49_ProWhat they say? Well, www.perfectpint.co.uk reckon this: “A sweet malty beer with bitter hoppy aftertaste brewed in Burton.”

Bearing the M & B name but now brewed it seems by brewing giants Coors. Reviews online suggest it is a poor imitation of the original. They may well be right. Inoffensive and a good session beer but a little insipid. 3.6% A.B.V.

The White Lion, Hampton-in-Arden, Solihull. October 2016

Hobsons – Best Bitter

UntitledWP_20161024_19_27_02_ProWhat they say: “The pale brown to amber medium bodied beer has a strong hop character. It's a bitter but with unconventional warm tones of malt that lingers on the palette, the complex malty flavours gives richness, balanced by the clean hoppy finish. A good session bitter brewed with local British hops picked from the farm seven miles down the road in Worcestershire - Fuggles, Goldings, Challenger and Progress.”

Lovely. Didn’t find it too hoppy, just a good honest bitter. From nearby Shropshire.

The White Lion, Hampton-in-Arden, Solihull. October 2016

Elgood’s – Black Dog (cask)

WP_20161023_21_34_46_ProWhat they say: “An award-winning cask conditioned traditional dark mild.  Well balanced malt and hops gives a pleasant aroma and taste, with splendid roasted bitter flavours.

Black Dog is a traditional dark mild at 3.6%ABV.  It has many CAMRA awards to its name and is a well-known brand in the free-trade.  The beer is well balanced with a full roast flavour.

The use of crystal malt and roast barley give a deep underlying characteristic flavour, which is balanced with Fuggles hops as the sole variety.”

The last on our ale trail in Birmingham and clearly my taste buds have changed – or evolved - a bit. I didn’t enjoy this much when I tried the bottled version, however the draught went down quite well.

The Shakespeare, Lower Temple Street, Birmingham. October 2016.

Roosters – Red State

WP_20161023_19_53_34_ProWhat they say: “ Four different malts ( Golden Primrose, Melanoidin, Crystal and Red Rye Crystal) combine with for different hop varieties (Azacca, Walmea, Admiral and Ahtanum) to create a hop forward red ale that displays moderate citrus notes and a refreshing level of bitterness.”

I do like a red ale, this was no exception and one I’d happily drink again, it not being as sweet as some I have tried, however there was plenty of choice. Seventeen, yes seventeen hand pumps in this terrific pub.

The Wellington, Birmingham. October 2016

Hadley Brewing Co. – Moonstone IPA

WP_20161023_19_05_45_ProWhat they say:” Golden, caramel, fruity…. An American style IPA. Straw coloured with tropical fruit and pine notes”

The first ‘new’ beer I found on our trawl around some of Birmingham's Pubs, sorry, research venues.

The Hadley in the name is Tony Hadley – yes, he of Spandau Ballet fame whose own micro brewery  works with the Great Yorkshire Brewery where the beer is produced on the North Yorkshire Moors.

Not my favourite style of beer but the surroundings were convivial and the company good. 5 % A.B.V.

The Shakespeare Inn, Summer Row,  Birmingham, October 2016 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Sadler’s - Peaky Blinder (cask)

WP_20161023_18_19_07_ProWhat they say: “What they say: Brewed with Five different malts and five different hop varieties. Dark and delicious yet refreshing and hoppy.”

Whilst staying at Somers Wood caravan park in Warwickshire we were lucky enough to have a guided tour of some of Birmingham’s pubs. Thanks again Richard for a cracking evening.

Our first pit stop offered at least five beers and a couple at least that I hadn’t had before. This one I had – in the bottle – and was grateful to at least be able to try the draught version. Whether it was the atmosphere or the company I certainly enjoyed it more. Having black in the title helped. Obviously! 4.6% A.B.V.

The Canalside Cafe, Birmingham. October 2016.

Banks’s – Amber (Bitter)

WP_20161021_21_02_14_ProWhat they say: “Bank’s Amber is a beautiful, easy drinking bitter with lots of malty, hoppy flavours – delivering a beer which is refreshingly bitter. Unsurprisingly, once you’ve finished savouring this deep gold bitter, you’ll finish on an addictive, dry note.  Needless to say, Bank’s Amber is a classic, easy-drinking beer made from high quality ingredients, which makes this particular bitter far too easy to drink.
Brewed using the same yeast stream for over hundreds of years, Bank’s Amber is a beer which keeps delivering.”

The first ( I thought) of hopefully many new beers on our trip to Warwickshire and around but it needed a visit to a second pub to find something I hadn’t tried. Oh the hardship! However it appears that this is just a rebranding of Banks’s Bitter but I’ll include it again anyway.

The Queens Head, Meriden, Warwickshire. October 2016

Monday, 17 October 2016

Hop Back - GFB

WP_20161015_21_10_15_ProWhat they say: “GFB our Golden, with the sort of light clean tasty quality which makes an ideal session ale. Tasted to destruction by our brewers, GFB our Golden Best has a hoppy aroma and is packed full of the very best East Kent Goldings, leading to a good dry finish.”

Nice and light at 3.5% A.B.V but being a golden it didn’t really excite my taste buds. More of a beer to be enjoyed in the garden on a hot summers night than in the bar in front of a roaring fire I reckon.

The Lion and Lamb, Milton, Cambridgeshire. October 2016

Elgood’s - Cambridge Bitter

WP_20161015_19_29_07_ProWhat they say: “Malty and fruity  aroma with a satisfying flavour and bitter finish, Cambridge Bitter is the main brand beer at an ABV of 3.8%………..A mild brown bitter with a good balance of malt and hop character give a pleasing session drink.  The finest pale ale malt (made from Maris Otter barley) is blended with torrified wheat, invert sugar and a small amount of roast barley, to ensure consistent colour……..Hops used are English Fuggles and challenger, a blend that gives a full hop character to the beer.”

A recent visit to our old home town to catch up with HRH, aka Trev’s Mum gave us the opportunity to visit a couple of hostelries once familial duties had been completed. Located in the next village, the pub in which we found this also had rooms and could well be our destination next time instead of the cheap and comfortable but rather characterless Travelodge.

They had several guest beers but I only got to try this one, however I wasn’t disappointed. Tasty, but not too strong and hence a great session beer, brewed just 30 or so miles away. Very enjoyable.

The Jolly Brewers, Milton, Cambridgeshire. October 2016.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Greene King - Gangly Ghoul

WP_20161013_18_50_26_ProWhat they say? www.perfectpint.co.uk reckon this: “Malts, sweet malty molasses in the nose, with just a touch of hop floral notes to take away some of the malty sweetness.”

Quite obviously a seasonal, I’m sure I’ve had this before but it’s not on the archive. Regardless, dark and full of flavour, a beer I’d drink any time of the year. 4.2% A.B.V.

The White Horse, Rottingdean, East Sussex. October 2016

Belhaven - 80 Shilling

WP_20161001_20_56_52_ProWhat they say: “Historically, the "Shilling" names associated with Scottish ales referred to the wholesale price of a cask………80 Shillings were top-shelf stuff, so we use only the very best Scottish barley malt and finest hops in our 80………A rich, smooth ale with notes of toffee and soft fruit.”

This appeared in our local Lidl a couple of weeks ago and having enjoyed Belhaven ales in the past I was eager to try it, and it didn’t disappoint. Just 3.9% A.B.V but very tasty. Would happily drink again, particularly at Lidl’s price!