Category Archives: 1-4% ABV

Titsey Brewery Company

A couple of months ago Titsey Brewery were raising money through crowd funding, the offer seemed too good to miss because, as well as some sample bottles of beer, there was a voucher for the well respected Botley Farmhouse pub. So without further ado I invested. Well I picked up the beers a couple of weeks ago and here is my view having sampled three of them.


First off we have the Gresham Hopper. It claims to be a hoppy pale ale, and it is very very hoppy. In my mind a bit too hoppy! It was also rather cloudy, now I don’t know if this is due to sediment in the bottle or if it is just naturally cloudy. Its just 3.7% so not strong and so should be easy drinking, however I struggled to finish it. So not my favourite.

Next the Leveson Buck IPA, this one is still very hoppy but much more manageable. It was also a little cloudy which make me think there are supposed to be like that. Both this and the Gresham Hopper have Cascade and Chinook hops but unlike the Hopper this one has Simcoe rather than Eurica. Anyway it is also 3.7% and a much better drink in my view. Still not my favourite of this bunch.

Gower Wolf

Gower Wolf is the Best Bitter and at 4% very drinkable. This was easily my favourite of the trio. Not too hoppy and with a nice finish. This one uses East Kent Golding the traditional English bitter’s hop. I have yet to try this on draft but I suspect that will be more or a treat.

I have one more to try but that will be subject to a later post. In the meantime Happy (or should that be hoppy) New Year.

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).

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]

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.

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!


Build a rocket boys

build a rocket boysFirst of all – well done Morrisons for stocking an amazing array of beers.   When I saw ‘build a rocket boys’ elbow on the bottle I didn’t make the connection immediately – the beer was designed by the Manchester band elbow!  It is brewed by Frederic Robinsons in Stockport (ignore the website address on the bottle it takes you to an American doctor who will tell you how to cure rotting toenails).  Now although I had heard of elbow I wasn’t familiar with their music so I have done some listening specifically to the ‘build a rocket boys‘ album; if you want you can listen to samples and buy here.

Anyway back to the beer.  This is supposed to be a limited edition brew from Robinsons and I can thoroughly recommend it; its a golden ale like a few of the summer ales but has a refreshing taste that wouldn’t bore you even after a few bottles.  The only down side I see is that it is almost £2 a bottle.  Nonetheless try it soon before it goes.

When I was at Uni I lived near Stockport and played table footie with a local lad called Robinson – wonder is there’s a connection?


GunhillWe have already sampled some of the Adnams beers and today it’s the turn of Gunhill.  When I opened the bottle I was slightly worried that I had a picked too heavy a beer for the first of the evening, however I was pleasantly surprised; the beer is full of barley and especially malty.  It has a slightly sweet flavour and goes down beautifully.  I’ve said this before but it can’t be stressed too much: some breweries are doing themselves no favours by making their beer too strong and these smaller breweries need to look to the experts like Adnams and keep it sensible, 4% is just right for this type of beer.  Also its a sensible 500ml bottle that they say is 33% lighter and therefore more environmental friendly.

Well done on all counts!

Master Brew

Masteer BrewAnother great beer from Shepherd Neame Britain’s Oldest brewery.  This is one of the few bitters that tastes the same at home as it does in the pub without the benefit of a widget.  I really like this beer it reminds me of my first days working in the City when we used to start at 9:30 and finish at 5pm with only 2 or 3 hours for lunch.  It was great we used to frequent the Dandy Roll in Bread Street for three or four pints of Master Brew and a big pub lunch.  Sadly this pub is no longer there and has been demolished to make way for the new shopping centre or its associated offices.  Needless to say the name got changed by swapping the first letters and was colloquially called the Doll. Now your education for the day the dandy roll is a printing term and is a roller that is used to put a watermark in the paper – go on check on Google for pictures and stories.

Anyway suffice to say Master Brew has great memories and is a great beer unfashionable mild and all the better for it.