Category Archives: 4-5% ABV

Marston’s Stout

Marston stoutJust before Christmas I was doing the round of supermarkets and found Marston’s Stout.  Now I hadn’t heard of this before and always associate Marston’s with Pedigree and lunch time drinking in the Dandy Roll in Bread Street (long since demolished).  I always wondered what a Dandy Roll was and in those days without Google it was hard to find out – seems it is used in paper making to emboss or produce watermarks – well you can look it up!   Anyway early ’70s in the City it was expected that lunch was taken!  How did anything get done?  Anyway back to the Stout – not my usual beverage and generally I restrict myself to Guinness or one of the other Irish Stouts; it was easy drinking but not sure what the occasion would be when I would want another – maybe for medicinal reasons but usually that is Guinness for breast feeding mothers!

Curious Brew Larger

Curious BrewI was bought this for my birthday – what a find!  It really is something different: basically a larger but with a very clean, refreshing taste.   It’s brewed with two different hops but then there is a twist; according to the label it is re-pitched with Champagne yeast and finally given a “dosage” of rare and fragrant Nelson Sauvin hop.

Now I’m not completely sure what all this means or ho it works but the result is excellent.  It isn’t strong so doesn’t have the bad after taste that some beers do.  Well worth a try.  Brewed in Kent by Chapel Down Group who primarily make wines but check out all the Curious Brews.

Badger Golden Glory

Badger GloryWell it’s been very hot and so refreshing fruity drinks are the order of the day.  What is the beer drinkers alternative to joining in with the Pimms (actually Pimms is pretty good and you get your five a day at the same time)?  Well Badger Golden Glory is a great alternative and best drunk very cold.  I can’t say I’m a big fan of fruity beers normally – I think of those strawberry beers from Belgium or the mix of Weisbeer with fruit cordials which used to be in favour with the older generation in Berlin.  But that said I really like the peachy flavour and hints of other fruits in the Badger Golden Glory; it’s also sensibly not too strong at 4.5%.

The label suggests that this is a winter beer but also drink with BBQ ribs or interestingly with vanilla cheesecake.  Is this the “desert” beer alternative to sticky white wine?   Experiments need to be made, and there’s another bottle in the fridge.  All in all you need to try this at least once.

Test out the beer/food pairings at

Titanic Iceberg

I spotted this when I was out doing the weekly shop in Morrisons.  According to the label the captain Edward Smith hailed from The Potteries and the Titanic Brewery from Stoke-on-Trent was named named in his honour.   They have created a number of different brew but so far I have only tried this one.  It is quite mild so I was looking forward to this as a lunchtime tipple but it has a rather strong taste which taints the food you might be eating with it.   Away from food it’s fine, best served chilled.

I really need to taste their other offerings and/or track down a draught version.

Blanche des plateaux

Tastings from the Loue Valley in South Eastern France close to the Swiss border.  We were served these beers from La Brasseries Rouget de Lisle at a small restaurant/bar (which strangely closes at 11am on Mondays!)  we tried the three versions they had.  This Blanche was much less cloudy than the familiar Belgian or German equivalents and actually was much more like the Blonde beer.  It was the least strong of the variants but again lacked the bite of its more famous cousins.   When we were served this it came in brewery specific regular beer glass.   There was no difference in glasses across the range from this brewery.

Sorry about the alternate photo taker!

Brains – SA Gold

We all know Brains from watching the magnificent Welsh Rugby team, but I had never tried the beer.  This is an easy drinking hoppy beer but I think would be better if it was drunk as draught beer in the pub (probably with song).  At home it didn’t come across as memorable but that’s so often the way with ales at home.  I looked on the Brains site and there have a good range of beers available, I’ll have to seek out a local pub that stocks them.  The site has loads of other interesting stuff and it even recommends recipes that can be made with the beer, in this case Cheese Fondue which actually sounds good.  Basically using beer as the liquid base.  It still gets drunk with Kirsch though which is the downfall of cheese fondue (and mine on one occasion!).


Dark Star – Espresso

Who would have thought of adding Arabica coffee beans to the brewing process.  Before I tried this I was confused – were they trying to cure a hangover at the same time as consuming the alcohol?  Or is it to stop you falling asleep before you get to the end?  First of all I must commend Dark Star on their commentary on the back label – very clever.  You can really taste the coffee when you drink this and it is interesting but about half way through I started to get a little bored with the heavy flavour.  This would be great if you were sharing it or maybe it goes well with deserts or cheese – I just don’t think I’m going to drink enough of it to cure a hangover.

I’ll definitely be seeking out more Dark Star beers, the range looks interesting.

Also well done Morrisons for stocking weird and wonderful beers.


Blanche de Namur

We are all familiar with Hoegaarden, it comes on draft in some pubs and is available at Majestic and in the supermarkets; and it is one of the “blanche” or “witbier” beers.  These wheat beers are generally brewed in Northern Europe Belgium, Netherlands and Germany; this one, the Blanche de Namur, won the WBA (World Beer Awards) in the wheat beer category.  Although it doesn’t say on the bottle it contains coriander and has slightly spicy taste.  Some say it goes well with fish but my memory is eating lunch in the Touring pub in Brussels and their speciality was Chicon au Gratin: basically endives wrapped in ham served in a flat bowl with mashed potato and super hot cheese white sauce over the top and this went really well with the Blanche beer.

I’m not sure what the correct glass is for this so I served it in a Hogaarden glass.

I bought mine in France – not sure if it’s available in the UK.

Pelforth Brune


Pelforth Brune is a dark malty northern French beer.  This really is an old favourite and was my preferred beer when we had holidays in France.  We always bring a good many of these back from the French supermarket when we go over.  It’s just something a little different to the usual small lagers you find in the south of the country.  This is a reasonably strong beer at 6.5% which is compensated for by the smaller bottle.  Actually I also rather like the small 25cl bottle it seems somehow more special, they also sell 33cl in bars and cans in the supermarket.

Pelforth also make a Blonde which is also nice but a little more pricey than the usual generic Alsace largers and I’m not convinced it’s worth the premium.  There is also an Amber beer which I have tried once. I must have another go with both of these.

I have made a point of specifying the type of glass and I think there is a Pelforth globe type glass and I’ve also seen a tankard with the familiar Pelican logo but it works fine in a small straight glass or even straight from the bottle.

The Pelforth website is worth a visit (but use IE not Chrome), with tips on what food goes with the beers, best serving temperatures, strange beer cocktails and so on.  Bon Chance!