Beer drinker, beer brewer and lover of all things beer.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Wolves Angels and Dragons

Sounds like a synopsis from a Harry Potter book but this is just a selection of beers and brewers from my latest reviews.
With names like this the oppurtunity is there for some decoractive bottle labels and these did not dissapoint. We have Golden Jackal from the Wolf brewery, Howlin Red Ale from Fallen Angel and Double Dragon from Felinfoel.

Golden Jackal

The Wolf brewery can be found in the village of Besthorpe central Norfolk and have been brewing since 1995. Founded by Wolfe Witham (obvious choice of name then) who's passion for producing quality ales was first realised in his hugely popular Reindeer brewpub in Norfolk. Major investment in 2006 saw them move to their current site from where they are trying to get the upperhand in the competetive East Anglia market.
Golden Jackal unsuprisingly pours a rich gold with a lacey white foam. A 3.7% abv session beer has a pleasant sweet malt aroma with pepper and berry fruit notes. Citric bitterness on the palate but nothing too dominating. Leaves a pleasant dry mouthfeel with a floral finish. This is not an impact beer but is certainly refreshing and a good beer to start a session on. Taking this beer in context I score it a solid 3.5 out of 5.

Howlin Red Ale
Fallen Angel are microbrewers based in East Hoathly, East Sussex. These unassuming brewers are making waves with their diverse range of ales and their provocatives artwork. With a range that encompasses Lemon Weissbier a dunkel bock and even a chilli beer these aren't your average traditional English brewers. I wasn't so brave to try a chilli beer so I opted for this potent 6.4% abv amber-red ale. Pouring with a red tinted head that fades quickly this is a deceptively light bodied beer. A sweet aroma somewhat reminiscent of a floral tea. The palate is met by a very tangy fruitiness with elements of apple and honey.  A very bitter finish leaves mouth feeling a little too dry. The high level of alcohol is apparent with a biting kick. Slightly peculiar beer but not wholey un-satisfying 3 out of 5.

Double Dragon
Felinfoel takes it's name from the Welsh village that is home to this long established Welsh brewery. Founded by David John in 1878 the brewery has remained an independant family concern ever since. They have their place in history as being the First British Brewers to put their beers in cans.
Double Dragon is a 4.2% traditional British ale. Amber in colour pours with a rich velvety head. Toffee sweetness and citrus fruit on the nose. A smooth medium bodied beer with hints of apple and grapes. A nutty pleasantness finishes with light bitterness. A satisfying easy drinking beer I score at 3.5 out of 5.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The further demise of Bass

This article in the Times reports of how the monster that is AB Inbev are looking to offload the brand that was once synonymous with British brewing. The distinctive red triangle logo that the ale is recognisable by boasts the record of being the countries first trademark. Bass Pale Ale was sold throughout the British empire and was the biggest beer on sale in the world during it's heyday. The company grew bigger throughout the 20th century buying out many other breweries and merged with Charrington United Breweries to become Bass Charrington. Bought out by AB Inbev (Interbrew at the time of purchase) Bass Pale Ale has been brewed under license by Marstons. The brand has suffered from a lack of marketing and a lack of interest from the massive lager producing company and now faces the final indignity of being palmed off again to whoever comes up with the asking price of 10-15 million. Marstons have announced that they won't be bidding and there has been a luke warm responses from other areas of the industry. Is this another nail in the coffin of an ale that helped make Burton the brewing capital or is a saviour waiting in the wings?

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Coopers Sparkling Ale

What do the Aussies know about brewing Ale? On the basis of this beer it would seem quite alot. Based in Adelaide and founded by Thomas Cooper in 1862, with that surname beer must have been in his blood. This institute of Australian brewing has managed to survive the many hurdles that faced the industry during the 20th century not to mention the Australians thirst for the bland fizzy stuff. It should then be no suprise that this their flagship ale is one of definite quality.
This Pale Ale is bottled conditioned and can be poured clear or shook up and served cloudy. I did the latter. ABV 5.8%. Straw coloured gives a short lived head and has a near lager like fizz. The aroma is of roasted malt and citrus fruits. On the palate their is light fruitiness of apple and lemon and a lingering bready maltiness. Their is a satisfying bitter kick and a pleasant dry mouthfeel. This is perfect served slightly chilled on a hot day.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Best Job in the World


I just found this and was just starting to make plans for a move down to the capital but alas I saw the date at the bottom and my hopes were dashed. Not a salaried position but great oppurtunities to drink free beer and spend your free time doing something you love, good luck to the successful applicant! It's nice to see this tradition being revived but the question is will they be required to sit in ale in their leather trousers?

Hot Hot Hot

It was a scorcher of a weekend and with such weather one does get a bit of a thirst. I was only too happy to quench that thirst with a further sampling of my Beers of Europe collection mixed in with a good few of my own brews of a honey beer and a blonde beer. The only problem of drinking in such heat is the desire to guzzle your beer and not to take the time to savour it's offerings. The weather does call for something pale, crisp and sessionable and my choices were influenced by this but not totally dominated. My own brews are perfect for the weather which allowed me to be more selective in my choice making. I will be reviewing each of these beers over the coming days and hopefully my comments will be of use to those looking to sample these beers for the first time.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Patio Beers

We had a beautiful evening yesterday and it was the perfect weather to sit on the deck and sample a couple of my new beers. Joined by my wife (it was our anniversary I had to let her join me, only joking Angel!) this is the perfect way to relax and I did just that.
With this kind of weather something pale and hoppy is called for and I put my choice in the fridge for a short burst to get them to perfect serving temperature. I chose to start with Adnams Innovation followed by Wensleydales Forrester.


This limited edition offering from the east coast brewery boast a powerful 6.7% abv. Bottled stylishly with a black label with raised writing and a silver name shouts out class. On the first sip you know they are backing this up with substance. By their own admission they are trying there hand at a hop packed American IPA style. This pours as promised a satisfying gold with an enduring white head. The nose is met with a subtle aroma of what I can best describe as toffee apple and slightly grassy. The taste is predominantly grapefruit with elements of Peach but the grapefruit doesn't overpower like in their explorer ale. Balanced with a caramel maltiness creating a smooth mouthfeel. Plenty of life and a bitter after-taste. All in all a very satisfying drink that I will score 4.5 out of 5.


The Wensleydale brewery founded in 2003 can found in Leysdale North Yorkshire. They supply on cask throughout the Dales and also bottle their ales for a wider market. This is a brewery that seems very much in their infancy if their labels are any indication. The Forresters Bitter is labelled as an ideal session bitter and is a modest 3.7% abv. It pours a slightly cloudy straw colour and loses it's head quite quickly. The nose is met with strong aromas of caramel and butterscotch anticipating a sweet beer. I was suprised to be met with quite the opposite a very zesty lemon slightly spicey flavour. Their was little maltiness and a slightly sour feel on the tongue. A strong bitter aftertaste leaving the pallet with a pleasant dryness. I wouldn't personally fancy this as a session bitter as it wasn't smooth enough but nod a bad effort from a burgeoning brewery. I would score this at 3.5 out of 5

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Anniversary gifts

I am celebrating my 10th Wedding Anniversary today to my long suffering lovely wife. I am sure many of you guys can relate to how it helps to have an understanding spouse. My wife has always not only been tolerant but supportive of my passion. She takes an interest in the beers I sample and even has a taste herself even though she is in no way a beer drinker (strictly alcopops and Tia Maria.) She listen to me prattle on about beer trivia and does her best act of looking interested. She puts up with me taking over the kitchen when I am doing my brewing even though I know it grates to see my equipment and ingredients spread all over the worktops. She is also the Angel that balances out my Demon and keeps me on the straight and narrow. If I ever let the drinking become too excessive she is the voice of reason (or slap) that brings me back to my senses. She would probably prefer it if I was a tee-totaller and she didn't concern herself with my drinking habits but she accepts that will never be the case. To top off all of this as an Anniversary present she has bought me a case of beer from the wonderful people at Beers of Europe. I have an interesting mix of styles and a range of brewers new to me for me to sample and I will be writing my reviews as I 'work' my way through them. I thank my Angel for putting up with me for 10 years and I hope you can put up with me for 10 more and beyond.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Baby For Beer

Mans baby for beer swap
'A MAN was so desperate for a drink he offered to swap his baby for two bottles of BEER.

He now faces a child endangerment charge for allegedly offering to strike the deal for the three-month old baby girl.'
Now there are times when I feel like I could 'kill for a beer' but not literally and even though my kids can get on my wick at times I don't think I would give them up for just a couple of beers, it would take at least a case! Seriously though having kids should be reason enough to keep yourself on the straight and narrow when it comes to your drinking but to actually try to swap one for a couple of beers is beyond comprehension.
Maybe we should take this story with a pinch of salt, it may transpire that there is more to it than is being reported. The worrying thing though is this is perfect amunition for the neo-prohibitionists to highlight 'the evils of drink' The thing that makes this story reportable matter is how shocking it actually is and the reason it is so shocking is that it is a one-off. We all know this doesn't reflect the vast majority of drinkers but it will be cited in some corners as evidence of the path that drinking leads you down. The only suprising thing is that a picture of real ale wasn't used!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Stag Do

My friend of many years is getting married soon to his girlfriend of many years and Mother of his two beautiful Daughters. Saturday was time for the obligatory Stag Do. The afternoon was spent accumulating injuries and bruises while taking part in the masochistic sport of Paintball. After returning home for a shower, counting bruises and strapping up my knee (I was in no way one the oldest there but I do feel I am getting too old for that lark) we met up in the town for some food and the start of our drinking session at 5:30. I do love my Beer but I do usually drink moderately and it has been a few years since I have emabarked on a drinking session like this one that was to last about 8 hours. I would normally pace myself, you can't enjoy Beer when you are knecking it but there was no chance of that after somebody had the bright idea of all putting in a kitty (no animals were harmed in the making of this session.) The problem with this set-up is the fastest drinker dictates the pace and as most of the guys were drinking fizzy Australian piss it was quite some pace. I did manage to exert influence over the choice of drinking establishment for the first part of the session so we got a few cask ales in but as the evening carried on we were frequenting the trendier plastic pubs that serve a choice of some extra smooth and nothing else. At this point I was drinking Bottles of Corona (B.O.G.O.F.) so good they stick lime in the top to disguise the taste or Bulmers which although slightly better is far too fizzy.
The cask ales i did consume were the ever dependable London Pride from Fullers which although served in a run down pub was in great shape. I also enjoyed a Black Sheep Bitter a very nice session ale which slipped down nicely. I had a few pints of Marstons EPA, my first beer served from a 'Fast Cask' I have to say I didn't notice any difference in the quality to other Cask beers so it gets the thumbs up from me. A very pleasant Blonde Beer with Orangey citrus notes and a nice bitter after kick. A nice Caramely malt presence but a little thin in body with poor head retention. Very sessionable and one I will happily return to in the future. The only beer of any quality during the rest of the evening was a Wheat beer served in the Wetherspoons but I was too far gone by that point to even remember it's name.
All in all a good evening even if the beer choice was not always what I would have liked it to be and a hangover from hell was experienced the next morning (it was a stag-do it wouldn't be right if I didn't suffer)

Friday, 14 May 2010


I love Beer, no I really Love Beer, No I really really LOVE Beer. Lets face it if you are reading a Beer Blog you probably do too. There are many many others out there too and some of you Blog aswell. I am a Newbie and I am very nervous about this first post because I don't want to turn people off before I get going, so please stick with me and give me a chance to find my footing. My thirst  for new Beers has grown with momentum over recent years as has my thirst for Knowledge. My heroes in the world of Beer writing are Pete Brown and Michael Jackson who's books have been an invaluable source of information and entertainment. I enjoy many different styles of Beer whether it's traditional English Ales, hop Packed IPA's, Wheat Beers, Lambics or Stouts. I am always looking to sample something new and diverse.  I plan to review any Beers of interest that I sample, review my own brews and chart the progress I make in developing my skills. I will sound off on subjects that are close to my heart and try to provide interesting information relating to the world of Beer.