Category Archives: England

Banks’s Amber Bitter

Tried this Amber beer mainly because it was the cheapest on offer at Morrisons.  It’s not strong at 3.8% and initially I thought this is very pleasant and might be something that could accompany a lazy afternoon and BBQ but by the time I had got to the bottom of the glass I was detecting a slight aftertaste that I found unpleasant.  I had decided against it.  I do have a second bottle and I will try it again because it could be a fault.  This comes from the Marston family of breweries and they are normally super reliable with their draught beers – of course anyone who tried to make sense of who’s bought who in brewing will have a hard time (see Wikipedia if you don’t believe me).

Badger – Poacher’s Choice

This is quite a strong flavoured ale (they call it a ruby beer).  It’s also quite strong at 5.7%.   The neck label says Fruity Plumage and it says it all.  I found this too sweet and too fruity, in fact I really didn’t like it and it’s the first beer in a long time that I haven’t been able to finish.  Maybe it suits you, but too far away from my taste for me to buy again.

Whitstable Bay Pale Ale

Last night I sampled the Faversham Brewery’s Whitstable Bay Pale Ale.  This is a light and easy to drink ale and full of aromatic hop flavours.  When I bought it I assumed it came from Whitstable and I was drawn to it because of two memorable incidents: my first Cub Scout camp was just outside Whitstable and we sampled winkles from a stall on the sea front – weird! And secondly my wife and I stayed in a small cottage just behind the high street in Whitstable that had a round jacuzzi bath in the kitchen where we enjoyed gin and tonics before heading off the jazz bars – more weird!  Anyway it turns out this is brewed by Shepherd Neame in Faversham and very good it is too.  Sensible 4% and, I know this is really irrelevant, but I like the clear bottle – allows you to see the colour of the beer.

Wadworth IPA

 I saw this bottle in Sainsbury on the reduced shelf by the checkout (always check these for beer bargains because quite often one bottle falls out of a pack of four or six and they sell the remainder off with gaffer tape round them).  I have always associated Wadworth with 6x and the town of Devizes, the brewery being bang in the middle of the town.  Obviously they brew other beers and here is one a new experience for me.  It is not strong (3.6%) and is refreshingly easy to drink, and, as they say on the back of the bottle “a local session ale”.  I really liked this and although slightly malty its a nice change from the heavily flavoured craft ales.  I will seek out more of this, especially if it’s on draft or on the reduced shelf!  [Sadly Wadworth have no pubs in Surrey – we have beer drinkers here too]

13 guns

This one is a bit special!  13 guns apparently is a salute to the original 13 states of America, can you name them?  Hint: they are on the eastern seaboard.  Answer here.  It claims to the an American IPA which is a an interesting concept!  The first thing you notice is the almost overpowering hop flavours and slightly fruity finish.  I really like this beer but I think it’s one for small quantities as I think the hops would eventually be too much.  The label is full of technical data but really who cares because it’s all about the taste.  5.5% ABV.




Flack Catcher

This the second of the beers my son gave me at Christmas also from the three pack from the Flack Brewery (I’m working up from weakest to strongest although they are all much of muchness).  Not sure if I would chase it down but it’s perfectly fine drinking.  It says on the label that it is “smoothly spiced with a crisp bitter finish leading to an old fashioned zesty linger”.  Not sure what all that means but this is a pleasant golden ale more ale than golden though.    4.4% ABV.

Adnams Jack Brand Mosaic Pale Ale

We had a party just before Christmas and many people brought a bottle of wine, but increasingly I see people bring beer or more specifically selection boxes of special beers.  Very welcome because I get to try something new.  First up an Adnams Mosaic Pale Ale which is a single hop beer based on the Mosaic hop which is a new variety; it is marketed under their Jack Brand label.   This is a rather golden version of a pale ale at 4.1% ABV but in my view not really a pale ale but suffering from too much fruit flavour similar in taste to Badger Golden Glory which is cheaper for 1½ times as much beer.   BTW don’t drink peachy beer other than at BBQ’s in the height of summer.

I was rather disappointed with this as I am normally a bit of an Adnams fan.  Glad to have tried it though so well done to all those who put together these selection packs.

Flack’s Double Drop

 My son bought me some beer for Christmas a selection from the Flack Manor brewery.  I started with the Double Drop which is an amber ale.  It is sensibly not too strong (3.7%) and has a very bitter taste with a pleasant finish.  It certainly tastes very pure which I guess is down to the Double Drop process.  I had to look up what that means and there is an explanation on their site here.  Basically the fermentation process is split in two parts starting is a high up vessel which is drained (dropped) to a lower vessel to complete the process.  The idea is the impurities are left behind during this process, I think it shows.  I’m not sure this is my favourite but it is worth a try just to sample process.  The Flack Brewery is based in Romsey near Southampton and has an interesting history described on the bottle.

Sam Smiths Pale Ale

IMG_20160602_130856It’s been a while since I had a bottle Sam Smiths Pale Ale.  It is smooth and super tasty and now is organic (maybe it always was but now it’s obvious on the label).  I could happily drink several of these but at 5% its a little strong for lunch!  Do not confuse this with the draft bitters that are on offer in Sam Smiths pubs.  I enjoyed this particular one with lunch in the Cittee of Yorke pub in Holborn, if you’ve never been there you must now.  Go right to the back of the pub and there are booths (you need to be early in the evenings) but seem pretty available at lunch; there is also a wonderful three sided real fire with no chimney (it must go down somehow); if you visit in the winter you can stand around the fire and put your pint on the top!  Just a quick note about food, I had the gammon steak – it was huge and good value at £8.95, you can just see the remains in the picture.

Nearest tube: Chancery Lane on the central line.  Trip advisor review

Brakspear, Boon Doggle, Hobgoblin, Pedigree, Cumberland, Banks’s Bitter

Classic BeersSo normally I would list a beer and some notes about it but this week I have been working my way through a box set I was give on my birthday.  They’re all the rage!  This time the box set is a box set of beer and they are all excellent.  They fit my criteria of being not too strong and great tasting.  Some of them are reviewed elsewhere on the site but I want to mention some which were more unusual or anyway unknown to me.

Banks’s Bitter, this one from Wolverhampton, slightly darker and strangely slightly less strong at 3.8%.  I ready on the back that “A bitter that resonates with tangy and refreshing flavours that only Fuggles and Goldings – the twin masterpieces of the English hopgrower’s artn can deliver”.  Well I don’t know about that but the it makes a wonderful accompaniment to a BBQ (I don’t mean the eating bit I mean the blokes standing around burning things), something else with the eating maybe.  Excellent.

IMG_20150618_195202856Next, Jennings Cumberland from the Castle Brewery.  It is called a Deep Golden Ale, I don’t know if the water from the lake district or what but I found this a really refreshingly different beer – maybe a perfect summer drink at just 4%.  Definitely recommended.


Anyway they are all good and I’m off to find any other box for the weekend barbie!