Category Archives: 4-5% ABV

Marston’s Pedigree and Old Empire IPA

Marston’s Pedigree

I used to drink Pedigree more or less every day when I was in my 20’s. It was what we had a lunchtime and it was on draft at one of the City’s (now disappeared) pubs. Obviously I liked it a lot so this bottled version , which I hadn’t tried before was a bit of a surprise: I found it had a strange after taste which was different to what I remember.Now I look at it the label speaks of bottle conditioned and explains how it continues to ferment in the bottle, maybe this explains it. Also a bit of surprise was that it is described as an amber ale as I had always assumed a bitter. It is a sensible 4.5%.

Marston’s Old Empire IPA

I had seem Old Empire on the Marston’s website when I was deciding whether or not to invest in Marston’s Brewery (I’m looking for dividends these days) but I had never had it. I loved it what a refreshing beer. I could imaging drinking this all day at a summer BBQ; only slight problem might be that I’d end up rather drunk because, although it’s easy drinking, it’s 5.7%. I will definitely be buying this again.

Newcastle Brown

Newcastle Brown

I haven’t had a bottle of Newcastle Brown since I was at University (a long time ago, I don’t remember the price then but the Uni bar sold draft Newcastle X at 10p a pint!). I suppose I never read the back label but interesting history/linguistics lesson there. Also put in my mind of a favourite band Humble Pie and from “30 days in the Hole”:

Newcastle Brown, I’m tellin’ you, it can sure smack you down 
Take a greasy whore and a rollin’ dance floor 
It’s got your head spinnin’ round 

Anyway I really enjoyed this and I guess the memories it brings back. Easy drinking – 4.7% great taste. And you can drink from the bottle – just make sure no one smashes theirs down on top.

Adnams Ease up IPA

Ease up

This is a strange one: someone bought this as a sampler and so I decided to try it at lunchtime. It’s very fruity – like a tropical fruit salad which is something of a shock if you haven’t read the label. Looking at it now the label looks like those fruit salad sweets which were 4 a penny when I was young. It’s quite a pleasant drink like for a summer BBQ in the garden but mid winter with hail coming down it just seems wrong. As noted elsewhere in this blog I am not averse to peach beers and various ciders but I should have waited for summer. 4.6% is a good lunchtime rate.

Timothy Taylor’s Landlord


I used to sometimes drink in The Old Bell in Fleet Street and they served a good pint of Landlord. They don’t anymore and it’s become part of a chain. I never really thought about it but reading the label on the back of the bottle it seems that it is a multi award winning beer, read about it on their website. I liked this in the pub but that was a long time ago and I hadn’t had it in the bottle before. My wife and I both commented on a slight bitter after task which I don’t remember in the draft version. Interesting the bottle says 4.1% and the website 4.3%. Maybe the bottle is different.

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.

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.

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!


Goose Island Honker’s Ale

Goose IslandAn American Ale in the style of English Ales?  Very pleasant and just like a good English bitter.  I get it!  If I lived in Chicago and could drink American mass produced beers or very nice American speciality or craft beers then this would certainly remind me of English beers and sensibly strong at 4.3%;  this might just be a summer lunchtime brew.  BUT whether this will catch on in a big way in the UK is another matter.  Imported by James Clay and Sons in Elland – looking at their website it look like they have plenty of craft beers to try and from some truly unusual locations.

The Lawn Mower

Lawn MowerThis is from the BackYard Brewery which is part of the Falkenberg Brewery in Sweden.  This is a craft beer from the experimental part of that brewery.  It calls it’s self an Amber Larger which I guess it is, although it is darker more like a bitter.  Best to ignore all the silly jokes on the can and when you do there is very little else going on here.  Not unpleasant but a won’t upset the “I’ll have a pint of Larger folks” either.  A little Ho-Hum.