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Old Crafty Hen

Old Crafty Hen

Old Crafty Hen is the sister beer to Old Speckled Hen but aged in oak barrels. Old Speckled Hen is a favourite of mine in bottles and is the regular at parties, always a good bulk but price at the supermarket. So is Old Crafty any better? Well yes although its not really a huge difference. This one is quite strong and more flavoursome and we like the oak (being fans of Australian wines which are often heavily oaked). Another great effort from Moreland Brewery. There are many more in the series – must try the local alcohol version, could be a good thing to serve if the taste is still there. (And yes I did buy some Greene King shares yesterday.)

Abbot Reserve

Abbot Reserve

Abbot Reserve from Greene King of Suffolk. I tried to buy so Greene King shares last week when the price was low and now it’s sky rocketed. Important for me was the dividend and I figured people will always want beer and eating out however down spirited they feel (or maybe even because of it). This is one step up from ‘normal’ Abbot and I really really liked it, I wanted another but didn’t have one – I will rectify that today. Fruity and Malty which must be what I prefer over the hoppy ones. 6.5% ABV but didn’t even hint at that over strong flavour which so many 5+ beers have, Five stars.

Proper Job

Proper Job

When I saw this I thought of Scrapheap Challenge and the team that appeared several time. Typical west country expression though and this come from Cornwall so why not? It comes from the St. Austell Brewery which has been going since 1851 (is it breweries that are the oldest companies?) – I’ve only had Tribute before, but there is quite a choice on their site.

It has a golden colour and a slight bitter after taste. I liked it but I’m not sure I’d want to have two in a row. This might be better a little colder and in warmer weather. An IPA at 5.5% which deserves its name.

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.

Beardo IPA

Beardo – ready to drink

An interesting IPA from Robinsons Brewery in Stockport.  I spotted this on a trip to Morrisons (who by the way have an excellent range of beers in the larger stores).  Sensibly priced so I thought I’d give it a go.  I was very impressed, similar in some ways to Punk IPA, very hoppy and an enjoyable stronger IPA.

I was interested because I used to live in Levenshume just up the road from Stockport so I looked up Robinsons and found they have the largest hopnik in the world!  I then looked up hopnik: I’ll leave you to do the same and also to try the beer.

Oktoberfest report 2017

Arrived in Munich airport stupid early having got up at 4am UK time.  Not scheduled to meet my friend until close to midday, so took the leisurely bus into the Hauptbahnhof (€10.60 – remember this figure more later).  Wandered around the shops under the station looking for bottles of water, all the main shops closed because it’s Sunday so only expensive convenience stores.  Walked up to the bus station to meet him, thought I’d get a beer.  Now the bus station is super busy but again the shops are shut (there is a Lidl there but not going – people don’t need supplies before getting on a bus for a few hours).  So got a beer from the cafe and sat outside waiting.

Once we met up we went to the Augustiner beer garden opposite the bus station for a quick couple of halves.  Then walked on to the Lowenbrau garden for lunch.  Good to see that you can now order half a schweinhaxen ‘cos a full one is a Sunday roast for six!  Always order bratkartoffeln because generally everything comes with potato slop.

Sunday evening at the fest but sadly raining for the early part, so in walking there ended up at a small microbrewery which served several beer types made on the premises.  Not my favourite but welcome relief from the rain.  Entrance to the fest area is well controlled by the police: bag checks etc.  We spent most of the evening at the Old Oktoberfest (Oide Wiesn).  You pay €3 to get in but the big plus is that it is quieter, so can get a seat inside easily which is important if it’s raining and plus the beer is served in earthen ware mugs which for some reason tastes better and keeps cool longer.   Bad news is the music is a bit “traditional” too.   Back to local pub at chucking out time.

Monday went to a long walk by the river and finally crossing over at the Stauwehr Weir into the Englisher Garten where we stumbled across the Mini Hofbrauhaus.  Nice lunch sitting in the sunshine place is very popular with dog walkers but all very well behaved dogs.

Back to the fest and first a visit to Marstalls (used to be Hippodrome), nice Spartenbrau and great heaters in the garden.  After a couple we go off for our traditional fish supper, a great, and expensive treat, we share barbecued sea trout.

All the fish is cooked on metal sticks over the coals or on a gas BBQ.  The taste is fantastic cooking in its own oils quite slowly.


More beer at Paulaner before ending up at the Lowebrau tent.  Now this is the place for atmosphere and music.   See a rather drunken video below.

Couple of shots on the way back to the pub then off to the hotel.

Tuesday is all about going home, couple of beers at the Augustiner garden, which is massive and empty with good beer, have to dodge the falling conkers though!  I took the bus to Stuttgart airport  because the flight back was cheaper, this bus was €9.60; compare this to the bus from Munich airport at the start of this blog.  It’s five or six times the distance!  It seems long distance buses are reasonable in mainland Europe.

Needless to say the plane is delayed over an hour and the restaurant closes at something like 8pm, did manage to get a Dinkelacker, a beer with a personal history involving Liverpool football match in the early 80’s!  No I won’t tell.

If you’ve never been you should….

Ch’ti Blonde

A friend brought round this beer a couple of weeks ago and it’s been sitting in the fridge.  I’d never heard of this French brewery but it’s really excellent.  Even though it’s 6.4% its quite drinkable and the taste is not badly affected.  Lovely clean and refreshing when served cold.

I’ve done a little online research and I think it’s going to be best to make a trip to buy this as it’s about 2 euros more buying in the UK.  Anyway there are also several other beers from this brewery to try and so a full car is probably order of the day.  Visit the brewery website for the full range. I can’t wait to try some more.

Excellent! Five stars.

Brecon Brewing Gold Beacons

Another beer from the selection pack I was given.  Strangely this bottle looks like 330ml bottle but is actually just 275ml.  It is bottle conditioned which means that there might be sediment so store carefully.  Makes a noise about using water drawn from beneath the Brecon Beacons.  Sadly this doesn’t make this a memorable beer and now as I write this the following morning I can’t remember any features (and that’s not because of the quantity of beer consumed)!


Innis & Gunn Barrelmaster’s Reserve

ThiIMG_20150722_184437657s was a present and a very welcome one too!  I’d never heard of this brewery but I am definitely going to try some more of theirs; and they seem to have a big selection Innis and Gunn selection.  This is a stronger ale (7.4%) than I would normally drink but is well flavoured with the whisky casks that it is matured in, (hints of vanilla).  It’s the sort of thing that you would drink with food in small quantities, in fact the bottle is a 330ml which is sensible.  They recommend to drink with cheese I imagine a strong very hard cheese would be ideal – I didn’t have any so had to make do with mousetrap but all the same it worked well,  Bottle comes nicely boxed and would make an excellent present – hint hint!