One woman's ale journey

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

Sunday 28 June 2015

Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted

As you can see from the size and texture of the bubbles, the head didn't last a minute! This ale was a lovely golden colour and perfect for a Saturday afternoon after returning bitter and twisted from work (I work Monday-Friday, hence my bitterness).  It was quite unusual as it has a bitter aftertaste to it, so I think if you closed your eyes you would expect to have been drinking an amber bitter.  It has a lovely grapefruit aroma and almost a hint of spice that I couldn't put my finger on - having visited the Harviestoun website I have since found out it was pepper!

An unusual ale, perfect for summertime drinking. 

Brewed by Harviestoun, Alva, Scotland
4.2% ABV

Marston's Help for Heroes Blonde Ale

To celebrate British Armed Forces Day I thought it was the perfect time to have a pint of Help for Heroes blonde ale.  Help for Heroes is an amazing charity who do so much work for our armed forces, men and women with scars both inside and out.

This is a very blonde ale, like a little ray of sunshine!  It smells slightly fruity but the teeny tiny head doesn't last very long.  It is a very refreshing ale, not overly fizzy with not even a hint of a nasty aftertaste.  It has a hint of citrus taste to it without being too overpowering and would be a perfect ale for a sunny day in a beer garden.

No better way to do your bit than with a pint of Help for Heroes Golden Ale!

Brewed by Marstons, Burton upon Trent
4.2% ABV

Thursday 25 June 2015

Brakspear Bitter

This pours out a nice dark amber colour and smells quite malty. The head disappears very quickly and there's not really a lot of taste to it, possibly due to the low alcohol content. It almost feels a bit thin and lacking in body. It does have a slight toffee aroma but a bitter aftertaste, almost like a grapefruit.

Brewed by Brakspear, Oxford
3.4% ABV

Badger Daring Diver

I almost didn't buy this one but I am so glad that I did!  It has an abundant foamy head with bubbles a-plenty. It is a beautiful deep golden / light copper colour and it smells fruity, like a distant aroma of freshly squeezed oranges.

It tastes so creamy with a delicious malt biscuit taste and has a very slight aftertaste of lemons.  Although there is a lot of carbonation it is not too gassy. The head is amazing and lasts right to the end, even leaving a delightful lacy pattern on side of glass.

Brewed by Hall & Woodhouse, Dorset 
4.7% ABV

Saturday 20 June 2015

Courage Director's

This is a beautiful amber colour and it smells fruity as soon as it is poured. It has definite hints of spice but my first taste is of toffee. It has quite a small head that doesn't last. It's not gassy but the bubbles have a harshness about them as their spicy bitter flavour bursts on my tongue. It leaves a bit of a weird aftertaste, almost like a very very weak Fernet Branca.

Brewed by Wells & Youngs, Bedford
4.8% ABV

Saturday 13 June 2015

Theakston Old Peculier

I didn't need to taste this to know I'd like it!  A strong ale that glows a lovely deep dark ruby in the glass and I got an aroma of treacle as I poured it.  It has a reasonable head that reduces quite quickly but my first sip was DIVINE!!!  There are so many flavours evident in each mouthful: treacle, dark red fruit (perhaps cherries), liquorice and a hint of chocolate. 

This is a dark and decadent ale and Ale definitely be seeing you again, Old Peculier!

Brewed by Theakston, Ripon
5.6% ABV

Wychwood Hot Cross Bunny

I thought I'd try a novelty beer from Wychwood.  It smells a bit fruity on opening, and pours a lovely deep golden colour with a nice pearly white head.  It doesn't have a lot of taste though, just a very strong aftertaste of cloves.  I got an aroma of cinnamon but the "hint" of cloves is more like a big nudge in the ribs.  It wasn't horrible by any means, it didn't have enough taste to be horrible!  It was just far too odd for my liking.

Brewed by Wychwood, Oxfordshire
3.8% ABV

Sunday 7 June 2015

Shepherd Neame Spitfire

This is what I call proper British beer and I have the matching glassware!  To emphasise its intense Britishness, it was rather fittingly first brewed in 1990 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

It is a lovely dark amber with just a hint of spice to take the edge off the bitter.  It smells really hoppy on opening but the hops isn't overpowering at all and you get hints of slightly spicy toffee with every mouthful.  Being a Northerner, I would have liked a bit of a longer lasting head but it doesn't really spoil this ace ale.

Intensely British - tally ho pip pip!

Brewed by Shepherd Neame, Kent
4.5% ABV

Saturday 6 June 2015

Wold Top Headland Red

I've been looking forward to this one, as you know I like a ruby ale!  This is an absolutely delicious colour.

This smells of berries and chocolate and tastes like mocha.  The chocolate taste is really strong and not at all what I was expecting.  

It doesn't have much of a head so no surprise that it disappears quite quickly.  The taste is so unusual that I just can't stop drinking it.  Its not sweet at all but has a bitter bite of dark chocolate that lingers on your tongue.  It's not something I could drink lots of but it is absolutely divine!

Brewed by Wold Top Brewery, Yorkshire
4.3% ABV

Theakston Masham Glory

This smells like fruity bitter but my first taste was not good.  The cinnamon taste is just wrong, and I like cinnamon!

It's a beautiful colour with a thick creamy long lasting white head which is why the taste is so disappointing.  I did get used to the taste after a while but it is just too harsh.  It's an experiment that went wrong and full marks to Theakston for trying it, but don't ever do that again!

Brewed by Theakston, North Yorkshire
4.7% ABV

Friday 5 June 2015

Joseph Holt Two Hoots

This smells quite hoppy on opening and the first sip had a slight metallic aftertaste.  It rapidly loses its head but it redeems itself by having quite a nice taste.  It has just the slightest hint of sweetness and I imagined I was drinking a Crunchie.  I didn't really get any of the citrus flavour it claims to have but it was a pleasant golden ale.

Brewed by Joseph Holt, Manchester
4.2% ABV

St Austell Tribute

Purple is my favourite colour and with a label reminiscent of Cadbury's chocolate I just had to get this Cornish Pale Ale.

It's a nice deep golden or light amber colour and smells of tropical fruit when poured.  It has a definite citrus taste but, being mainly a palate of grapefruit, it doesn't taste like lemon squeezy washing up liquid (not that I've ever tried it).

A very refreshing ale with a hint of a malty taste so I would put this somewhere between a pale ale and a bitter.  I am definitely a bitter girl (it's a fact - I'm bitter and I like bitter!) and with the sun shining in the North East today this gets a big thumbs up from me!

Brewed by St Austell Brewery, Cornwall
4.2% ABV

Thursday 4 June 2015

Mordue Radgie Gadgie

A deep golden and strong tasting outstanding ale - just look how perfect it is!  Another proper northern bitter with good body, a hoppy flavour and malty aftertaste.  It's very pleasant and exceedingly good - indeed, it's a Mr Kipling of beers!

After spending half of my holidays working and feeling like a bit of a radgie lass it was rather fitting that I had a Radgie Gadgie!  It tastes of sunshine and beer gardens - yes, we do sometimes see the sun Up North!

Interesting fact: Radgie Gadgie means angry old man in Geordie

Brewed by Mordue Brewery, Tyne & Wear
4.8% ABV

Check out my review of Mordue Workie Ticket here

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Cumberland Breweries Corby Ale

This is a nice light amber colour but as you can see it is slightly cloudy, although not unpleasant.  It is labelled as being fruity with malt and biscuit notes but I felt that it had more subtle notes of toffee and honey and is quite refreshing.  There's a small amount of fizz which goes a bit flat after a while.  So drink it quickly!

Brewed by Cumberland Breweries, Carlisle
3.8% ABV

Coniston Brewing Co Bluebird Bitter

This fizzes out of the bottle thanks to the live yeast and pours with a stunning bubbly frothy head.  It is a lovely amber colour so I knew I was in for a treat.  There is a very light sediment but it's hardly noticeable and I managed to keep most of it in the bottle on pouring.

It has a very light fruity taste and there is a definite and not unpleasant hint of geraniums. Its not even too fizzy, which I expected it to be after the explosion of bubbles on opening. The big frothy head soon disappears and leaves a much more manageable foam.  I felt it also had a bit of a buttery taste and could imagine eating buttered scones on the banks of Coniston Water with the ghost of The Bluebird whizzing by.

Voted CAMRA Supreme Champion Beer of Britain 1998

It's been on my wishlist for a while and will definitely be a repeat purchase.

Brewed by Coniston Brewing Co, Cumbria
4.2% ABV

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Badger Hopping Hare

The first thing you notice on popping the top off this one is the very strong smell of hops, which is not surprising given the name but it really is a very strong smell and lingers long after the beer has gone!

It's actually a very refreshing light amber ale - there is a distinct citrus flavour, bubbles that never seem to disappear and a perfect foamy head.  It made me think of rustling cornfields and summer sun.  I would definitely buy it again and will ignore the complaint of the house smelling like a brewery!

Brewed by Hall & Woodhouse in Dorset
4.4% ABV

Blue Moon Brewing Co Blue Moon

The sun is out, it's almost summer, so time for a wheat beer.  This is my favourite wheat beer - it's not as gassy as most and has an appealing cloudy appearance.

Blue Moon is best served with a slice of orange, but it's just as good without one.  It has enough of its own citrus flavour to blast your tastebuds and a creamy head that lasts despite its minimal appearance.

It's definitely very moreish which is why it's an astounding wheat beer - most wheat beers fill you so full of gas that you can't drink too many but I could keep drinking this one until the moon rises and beyond.

Brewed by Blue Moon Brewing Co, Toronto, Canada
5.4% ABV

Monday 1 June 2015

Batemans Dark Lord

This beer was brewed to commemorate 'Black Tom' who fought in the English Civil war Battle of Winceby in Lincolnshire.

Like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to this dark ruby beer and I wasn't disappointed.  You can just see the dark ruby glow in my photograph and it is very dark - it looks almost stout-like.

My first taste was like eating a bag of liquorice allsorts - not overpowering by any means, but enough to tell you with your eyes closed that you were drinking a dark ale.  The label states spicy notes but I found it a bit more fruity than spicy.  It's not overly fizzy, there's no nasty aftertaste and the head clings to the glass until the last drop.  A perfect dark ale.

If you like stout and porter you will love this!  It's going on my shopping list.

Brewed by Batemans in Lincolnshire
5% ABV