One woman's ale journey

A beery boozy journey with delightful snacks along the way and a book in my hand.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Badger Golden Glory

As you can see, I didn't quite manage to get a full pint as there was a bit of sediment in the bottle, which is unusual for Badger ales but I think perhaps it had something to do with the peach.  Peach?  It's not a misprint, Golden Glory is a peachy beer!  It's an absolutely glorious colour like melted toffee with a loose, thin creamy head.

The initail hoppy aroma gives way to the most amazing peach smell.  Even if it didn't have peach on the neck label there is no mistaking this aroma.  I admit I wasn't looking forward to tasting it but I was pleasantly surprised.  The peach flavour is not overbearing at all, it's dry and slightly sweet at first with an unusual peach flavour lingering on the tongue.  Despite the small head, it's very fizzy with hard bubbles full of flavour.  Golden Glory is so very refreshing and perfect for a sunny day.

Much better than I thought, it's more likely Ale Be Seeing You Again than seeing the sun in North East England.

Brewed by Hall & Woodhouse, Dorset
4.5% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Hall & Woodhouse

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Allendale Black Grouse

This deliciously dark porter smells amazing with aromas of treacle, chocolate and coffee and a slight smokiness due to being brewed with oak chips.  The loose beige head disappears very quickly, so don't blink or you'll miss it, and it leaves you with a glass of something that resembles coke but the mouthwatering taste definitely compensates for the lack of head.

The mouthfeel is quite an experience as you start to taste treacle and liquorice whilst dark chocolate bubbles stroke and lightly tickle your tongue before bursting in a mini chocolate explosion.  It's so delicious that it goes down far too easily and would be a perfect drink on a cold winter's night sitting beside the fire with a good book.

I love the strong treacle and liquorice toffee taste, it has a bit of a fruity sweetness at first closely followed by a bitter chocolate aftertaste.  There is also a hint of flavour that reminded me of whiskies brewed in sherrywood casks, so don't be put off by the description of this ale being brewed with oak chips.  The flavours are perfectly balanced, making Black Grouse a top notch porter and Ale Be Seeing You Again!

Brewed by Allendale Brewery, Northumberland
4% ABV

My rating:

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Hadrian Border Newcastle Commercials

A different Newcastle brown ale to the famous one brewed and mass produced by S&N, this ale from Hadrian Border brewery was brewed to commemorate the centenary of World War I and some of the proceeds are going towards events planned to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of the great war in 2018.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

This is a deep chestnut brown ale with a small but thick frothy beige head.  It has an amazing malty, chocolate and treacle aroma that is replicated in the lovely taste.  It has a slightly bitter aftertaste once the maltiness wears off but that's easily dealt with by taking another sip, and this delicious addictive beer encourages you to do so.  

It's softly carbonated making it a very smooth drink with the thick head remaining until the end, leaving heavy lacing on the glass.  With malty sweetness, chocolate hints and a citrus burst at the end, it is indeed a fitting ale for heroes.

A very nice brown ale and, although it was a limited edition, it bears a striking similarity to Hadrian Border Brewery's Tyneside Brown so I do believe that Ale Be Seeing You Again.

Brewed by Hadrian Border Brewery, Newcastle upon Tyne
4.7% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Hadrian Border Brewery

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Bath Ales Gem

This is a fabulous deep amber, toffee coloured ale with a subtle aroma of hops and malt that almost smells like you have a glass of rich melted toffee.  There's not much head to write home about and what is there very quickly disappears leaving a flat looking ale.  Like I would never judge a book by its cover, I wouldn't judge a beer on appearance alone so let's dive in for a taste.

There isn't really a predominant taste, it's all very subtle.  It's equally sweet to start and bitter to finish with a slight spicy/floral hint throughout.  Now and again I get a hint of bread or biscuit but it's all so very subtle that no sooner have I tasted it than it has gone.  It's a very smooth ale but it just feels as if it should be more carbonated almost as if it's been open too long, making it slightly flat.  

It's a bit of a ghost of a beer so just a 3 pint rating from me, which is slightly disappointing as I was looking forward to this one.  It just needs a bit more oomph!

Brewed by Bath Ales, Warmley
4.8% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Bath Ales

Monday, 17 April 2017

Brains Welsh Golden Ale

A traditional looking beer - a lovely deep golden body with a frothy white head.  The head does disappear but it leaves just enough to remind you it is there.  There is a bit of sediment in this one, so I poured carefully to minimise the cloudiness.

It smells of citrus fruits and hops, kind of like an IPA mixed with a bitter.  The carbonation is excellent, with bubbles bursting on your tongue to leave bitter grapefruit notes.  It has a subtle hop flavour, resulting in a crisp, refreshing beer.

Brewed for Marks and Spencer by S.A. Brain & Co, Cardiff
4.6% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at S.A. Brain & Co Brewery

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Wychwood Imperial Red

I do love my ruby ales and on today's menu we have Imperial Red from Wychwood.  With red in the name, it was no surprise to see a glorious ruby hued beer flow out of the bottle with a small, but thick, beige head.

It has a sweet malty smell with a hint of a metallic aroma, almost as if you were smelling a bloody battlefield inhabited by the warrior on the label.  The taste is something that my tastebuds enjoy: a mixture of toffee, malt and something I can only describe as a red liquorice laces aftertaste.

Fizzy and tasty, it's a really enjoyably ruby and Ale Be Seeing You Again.

Brewed by Wychwood, Oxfordshire
4.7% ABV

My rating:

Friday, 17 March 2017

Guinness Original

Well we couldn't celebrate St. Patrick's Day without a little drop of the black stuff, not that I need an excuse to have a little drink of Guinness.  I usually have a few cans in stock but this one came with a Christmas gift and I do like my bottled beer.

I feel a bit cheeky reviewing Guinness, it's always a guaranteed 5 out of 5 or 10 out of 10 but what makes it so special?  It's that black as coal look with the thick beige head that not even a scrubbing brush could remove.  It has a quite unique dark treacle, sweet molasses, liquorice and earthy smell that cries out to be tasted.

Guinness really is as smooth as velvet with a dark chocolate, treacle and liquorice taste.  It is the original and the best with the most amazing head in the world that laces the hell out of the glass.

I'm not going to ramble on too much, who doesn't love Guinness?  If you haven't tried it, you must have been living on the moon.  With a fridge full of handsome black cans, this is one I can definitely say Ale Be Seeing Again!

Brewed by Guinness, Dublin
4.2% ABV

Friday, 10 March 2017

Woodforde's Norfolk Bitter

Now this is what I like to see!  A lovely toffee amber colour and a thick white head.  It has a slightly hoppy fruity sweet smell and absolutely no sign of sediment, despite the bottle referring to it. 

This Norfolk bitter is a top class bitter without even a hint of a metallic aftertaste. It has just the right amount of carbonation as a rush of bubbles fizz across the tongue, bubbles that burst with an explosion of delicious malty fruitiness.  All that's missing is a smoking jacket and a roaring fire.

Brewed by Woodforde's, Norfolk
4.5% ABV

My rating:
Norfolk Bitter is specially brewed for Marks & Spencer but you can find out more at Woodforde's Brewery.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Brains The Rev. James Rye

There is an amazing malty treacle smell as this tasty-looking ruby ale is poured.  Added to the fabulous ruby colour is a thick beige head that doesn't lose any of its body at all.  It is the closest I've ever seen to a Guinness style head.

Sadly, the taste is not what I imagined at all; it has an unexpected bitter and slightly metallic taste with a strong grapefruity aftertaste that lingers a bit too long for my liking.  The head is simply amazing though and what head that does disperse actually sticks to the side of the glass.

Thumbs up for the head and aroma but let down by the unexpectedly bitter and metallic taste.

My rating:

Find out more at Brains Brewery

Monday, 6 March 2017

Skinner's Hops 'n' Honey

With an eyecatching colour that looks like it has just been poured out of a honey jar and an aroma of hops and honey, this ale is exactly what it says on the tin.  There's only a small head but it is tight enough to hold its shape.

As with any honeyed ale, the taste is quite mellow with a very smooth consistency that makes it slip down very easily indeed.  The balance of hoppiness and sweetness is perfect giving it a bitter/sweet taste with a tangy toffee aftertaste.

The head leaves nice lacing on the glass, showing that quality over quantity really pays off in some cases.  It's a very pleasant golden ale, that you think doesn't have a lot of taste at first but it awakens something in your tastebuds and you get a different experience with every mouthful.

Brewed by Skinner's Brewery, Cornwall
4.2% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Skinner's Brewery

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Sambrooks Pumphouse Pale Ale

You can't help but notice the strong smell of hops as the lid pops off this one. There is a bit of sediment in the bottle so I poured it carefully at the expense of the head, although the head is so loose I don't think it made that much difference.  It's a delicious deep golden/light amber colour and it's such a shame that the head disappears so quickly.

Not really my cup of tea (or pint of ale), it has quite a harsh strong taste but I did get used to it and it left a crisp citrus aftertaste.  Not one Ale Be Seeing Again, unfortunately.

Brewed by Sambrooks Brewery, London
4.2% ABV

My rating:

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Bath Ales Wild Hare

A lovely golden yellow colour with a bit of sediment in the bottle so I stopped pouring just before it started to get cloudy.  There is a small white frothy head which disappears quickly, leaving a small frothy film.  It has a really nice hoppy aroma for a pale ale with not even a hint of the citrus aroma you often get with a pale ale.

As you know, I'm not really a pale ale fan but this has to be one of the best pale ales I have ever tasted.  It transforms from dry with a sweet edge to bitter and slightly grapefruity on the palate.  It is crisp and refreshing with the perfect amount of fizz to make it a smooth easily drinkable ale.

I didn't think I would ever give a five pint rating to a pale ale but Wild Hare gets a big thumbs up from me.

Brewed by Bath Ales, Bristol
5.0% ABV

My rating:

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Wold Top Anglers Reward

Another fabulous Yorkshire ale from the guys and gals at Wold Top.  Anglers Reward is a mouthwatering deep golden colour with a nice little frothy head, although it does disappear quite quickly (both the head and the beer).  The aroma I get from it is one of hops and golden straw; very fresh and appetising.

Tastewise it is very pleasant indeed.  It has a bit of a nutty taste with a slightly bitter aftertaste resulting in a very refreshing ale.  Despite the appearance of the bubbles sticking to the side of the glass, it isn't too fizzy and goes down very smoothly.  A very tasty ale - I loved it and it makes me want to take up fishing if I can have one of these as a reward.

Brewed by Wold Top, Yorkshire
4.0% ABV

My rating:

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Freedom Organic Lager

A light honey coloured lager that looks a bit lost in the pint glass but I couldn't miss the opportunity to match my glass with my beer.  You can see the vigorous bubbles in the photo which give rise to the impressive frothy white head.

It's a lager so it doesn't have a great deal of smell or taste but what I could discern was pleasantly malty and hoppy.  It's not as fizzy as I expected and there's a nice lingering sweet honey taste.  A pleasant refreshing lager that won't set the world on fire but would be a perfect cool down on a summer's day.

Brewed by Freedom Brewery, Staffordshire 
4.8% ABV

My rating:

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Robinsons Old Tom

Old Tom has won both The World's Best Ale and Champion Beer of Britain and I absolutely love the old fashioned, almost medicinal, shaped bottle.  I actually came across it when we bought it for my Uncle Tom's birthday - one for him and one for me, of course!

They say that good things come in small packages so let's see what's hiding within the bottle.  Old Tom is a mouthwatering dark ale ark like Guinness but with more of a ruby tinge.  It definitely gives Guinness a run for its money in the thick robust head stakes - the head holds its form and leaves tremendous lacing that needs a scrubbing brush to get it off the glass.  The medicinal theme continues into the aroma which is sweet and spicy and reminds me of Coca Cola.

The oldies are certainly the goodies, with a delicious taste of dark treacle toffee and a lip smacking sweet aftertaste this is a Taste experience with a capital 'T'.  It's a shame it only comes in a 330ml bottle but then again at a whopping 8.5% it's not to be drunk lightly.

Simply divine and Ale definitely Be Seeing You Again!

Brewed by Robinsons Brewery, Stockport
8.5% ABV

My rating:

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Adnams Southwold Bitter

This is a lovely dark copper ale with a hint of delicious ruby red.  There is a light, loose frothy head that disappears quite quickly although does leave a thin layer to give a bit of lacing on the glass.

It smells very malty with a slightly sweet fruity aroma, reminiscent of a thick buttered slice of malt loaf.  The aroma is very subtle so it doesn't influence the taste experience.

Southwold is actually a really nice bitter; there is no hint at all of copper coins and it has the perfect amount of maltiness for me.  It has a very smooth appearance but is filled with citrus metallic bubbles that race over your tongue to remind you that it's a bitter.

A classic bitter without any citrus or metallic overkill, ensuring that it will be a repeat purchase on my beery shopping list so Ale Be Seeing You Again!

Brewed by Adnams, Suffolk
4.1% ABV

My rating:

Find out more at Adnams Brewery

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Wold Top Wold Gold

Wold Gold is, not surprisingly, a deep golden coloured ale with an unusual but enticing spicy aroma that reminded me of Christmas. Eager bubbles burst to the surface where a thick, brilliant white head awaits them.  A head that appears to be for life, not just for Christmas.

There is perhaps a slight bitter aftertaste but it has a delicious spicy hint followed by a hint of oranges.  It is surprisingly smooth despite the voracious bubbles.

I've been really impressed with all of the Wold Top ales I have tried so far and Ale definitely Be Seeing Wold Gold Again.

Brewed by Wold Top, Yorkshire
4.8% ABV

My rating:

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Felinfoel Double Dragon

A gorgeous dark amber ale spills out of this bottle smelling of toffee, malt and something a bit fruity like apples.  It has quite a little head which disappears very quickly and the ale looks quite flat, but appearances can be deceptive.

Double Dragon has a delightful smooth toffee nutty taste with a bitter aftertaste of copper coins.  The metallic taste becomes unnoticeable after a few sips and the apple fragrance intensifies.  It really does smell like appletise! 

It is surprisingly full-bodied with bubbles bursting on the tongue despite there being no head.  It really is surprisingly carbonated with such a flat appearance.

It has a very addictive taste, and is certainly very moreish.  With an aroma of freshly cut green grass, I can almost smell and taste the Welsh valleys bursting out of my glass.  Ale Be Seeing You Again, Boyo!

Brewed by Felinfoel Brewery, Llanelli
4.2% ABV

My rating:

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Wylam Jakehead IPA

I was looking forward to this one as I had heard so much about it and it surprised me on every level.  Firstly the colour, I would have expected an IPA to be golden yellow but this is a ginger orange.  I got the impression that this wasn't going to be a regular IPA.

It smells very medicinal and orangey with an absolutely massive beige head. The head is so thick that I thought I might have needed a spoon to get through it.  So I love the colour, I love the head, the smell is intriguing now on to the taste...

The taste is far too strong for me, I felt like I needed to brush my tongue afterwards.  I often find that by increasing the alcohol volume the taste is overpowered and this was the case for me with Jakehead.  It just tasted of 'strong' ale, I couldn't differentiate between tastes and was disappointed that some of the orangey smell wasn't replicated in the flavour.  I'm not a big fan of citrus ales, so this just wasn't for me.

Brewed by Wylam Brewery, Northumberland
6.3% ABV

My rating:

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Wells Bombardier

In homage to the incredibly funny Rik Mayall, I dedicated this pint to the eternal Young One himself and it was indeed Bang On!  The first thing I noticed was the amazing thick head,that stands up like a Mr Whippy and shows no sign of disappearing.  It is a beautiful ruby red colour and I couldn't wait to tuck in.

There is a delicious taste of sweet treacle and rich dark fruit followed by some nice bitter bubbles on the tongue.  Bombardier should be a staple in your ale cellar and definitely one Ale Be Seeing Again.

Brewed by Charles Wells, Bedford
4.1% ABV

My rating:

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Ilkley Brewery Joshua Jane

A delicious dark brown/deep copper ale as if all of your 1p and 2p coins had been melted down to create the perfect colour of ale.  Although it looks like copper coins, it smells fruity and malty.

I expected a metallic copper coin taste but it is a surprisingly nice spicy bitter with a hint of grapefruit lingering on the tongue.  The frothy beige head does disappear but it leaves some lacing on the glass.  It's from Yorkshire, so you're always guaranteed a good pint!

Brewed by Ilkley Brewery, Yorkshire
3.7% ABV

My rating:

Badger First Gold

Now named First Call, this Badger ale is named after the dwarf hops used in its brewing. It is a delicious dark amber ale with a hint of ruby and an amazing head.  It smells predominantly malty with a nice hint of orange fruit.  The thick creamy head shows no sign of disappearing and leaves tremendous lacing as it is supped.

It's a really pleasant taste which is nice and creamy on the palate with a slight hint of orange and a subtle spicy aftertaste followed by a mellow nutty taste.  There is just the right amount of carbonation giving it a lovely refreshing zing.

An excellent light choice for a cold winter's day and, come snow or sun, Ale Be Seeing You Again!

Brewed by Hall and Woodhouse, Dorset
4.0% ABV

My rating:

Monday, 30 January 2017

Purity Warwickshire Amber Ale

I just have to say that, although it is a perfect amber colour, this ale has no head, nothing at all no matter whether poured straight or at an angle. There wasn't even a rapidly disappearing head, it's just not there at all, there are only a few bubbles around the edges. It's slightly disappointing in appearance for an amber ale, but we all know that appearances can be deceptive, so let's see what it smells and tastes like.

I was very impressed by the smell and taste; it is very malty and has a smooth and fruity taste like a thick butterly slice of malt loaf. It's actually a very nice taste and it's a real shame that there's no head (did I mention that). It is quite fizzy but smooth, you can see from the picture that there isn't much carbonation but the bubbles appear from nowhere as they burst on your tongue.  It's tastes very crisp and refreshing, with a clear spring water aftertaste.  Half way down the glass, the head magically appeared, but it was too little too late I think.

Brewed by Purity Brewing Company, Warwickshire
4.5% ABV

My rating:

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Arundel Castle

This is definitely a traditional bitter colour of ale - it's a lovely toffee colour with a traditional tight frothy head.  It smells hoppy, fruity, malty and ever so slightly sweet.

There is an abundant mixture of tastes coming through including toffee, fruit and biscuit with the traditional slight metallic aftertaste.  Arundel Caste is smooth, dry and deliciously hoppy; an easy 4 or even 4.5 rating from me.

Brewed by Arundel Brewery, West Sussex
3.8% ABV

My rating:

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Wychwood Dunkel Fester

A Halloween special edition ale from Wychwood is a delicious dark ale with a ruby tinge.  It has a beige head although there isn't much of it.  The smell is predominantly malty yet fruity so I think I'm going to like this one!

It has a lovely sweet liquorice taste, very much like Guinness but fizzy.  It's a surprisingly pleasant drink, and feels rather light for a dark ale, but one I'd definitely pick up again at around the £1.50 mark from Aldi. 

Brewed by Wychwood, Oxfordshire
4.4% ABV

My rating:
Although Dunkel Fester was a seasonal ale, you can find out more about Wychwood brewery by clicking here.