Beer Store Focus: Market Row Wines, Brixton

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Having moved from what I consider the centre of Canadian craft brewing, Vancouver, back to my old home in London, I quickly missed the range of cutting edge brews that were available in a number of stores around town. The British supermarket choice is fair at best but can’t compare with the specialist retailer I have been spoilt with for the last 6 years or so.

On a slow day searching for new employment opportunities I took a break and had a stroll around the fantastic Brixton Village and Market Row, the indoor . . . → Read More: Beer Store Focus: Market Row Wines, Brixton

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The Great Pumpkin beer tasting

 

 

So I decided to try some Pumpkin beers on Hallowe’en while watching some bad horror movies (starting with “The Children”- murderous kids and toddlers go on the rampage!) I had five different beers from four breweries. I started with Parallel 49’s Shadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest. A clever idea marrying the easy, malty marzen style lager of the Oktoberfest with some pumpkin and spices of Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving.

 

 

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. Parallel 49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest

This is the only lager from the group and it certainly is easy drinking. There is some nice sweet pumpkin . . . → Read More: The Great Pumpkin beer tasting

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Lighthouse Switchback IPA

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

I keep drinking this beer, so it stands to reason that I

a) like it and b) should write about it.

The problem is that every time I crack one open I just want to relax and enjoy it, rather than actually open my rather neglected blog and get to it!

Lighthouse Brewing have really upped their game in the last year and a half with some cracking and interesting “big flavour” bombers. They waited a bit to follow up with an addition to their popular if conservative 6-pack range, but it was well worth it. The . . . → Read More: Lighthouse Switchback IPA

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Abbatiale Triple (Brasserie des Sources)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Abbatiale Triple is brewed by Brasserie des Sources in St-Amand les Eaux in northern France, and scored gold medals at the Paris beer competition in 2006 and 2008; now let’s see how it scores with me!

The cool packaging is the first thing you notice when you approach the beer shelf at your favourite local specialty ‘beertique’. With a white ceramic bottle, cork and a cage it makes me want to investigate further. As I draw nearer the bright golden label reads ‘Abbatiale Triple Blonde, 7% ABV 50cl 6-12°c, refermented in bottle, delicately flavoured with juniper berries, . . . → Read More: Abbatiale Triple (Brasserie des Sources)

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It’s Hammer Time -Phillips Style

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Phillips Brewing make a highly regarded Imperial Stout every year in limited amounts which usually sells out fairly quickly. This . . . → Read More: It’s Hammer Time -Phillips Style

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Driftwood Fat Tug IPA

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Driftwood’s Fat Tug IPA is the long awaited addition to the brewery’s regular line up that filled in the gaping hole of a classic Pacific Northwest IPA. A hefty 7% ABV and 80 IBUs sees this beer punching in the heavyweight category for a ‘standard’ IPA. The hit of hops is fresh, fruity and sharp, and will please the hop-heads out there. On the palate the hops retain their power and vibrancy, and cover the alcohol admirably. The malt is there too, but it is in a supporting role, and props up the hop flavours nicely. This . . . → Read More: Driftwood Fat Tug IPA

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Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo is a classic in the British beer scene. It’s an Old Ale which means that it has had some time well spent in very old seasoned oak casks, many of which date back more than a century. Each year adds to the beer-soaked wood and helps them give more complexity to the finished product. This ale spends over a year conditioning in the oak and is bottled with yeast, so can condition further in the bottle. It pours a deep amber colour with a thick and lively tan head. The aromas are fruity . . . → Read More: Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo

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Driftwood Belle Royale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Driftwood Brewery Belle Royale is described as a Strong Belgian Cherry Ale, and seems to be based on a Tripel or strong golden ale recipe, with “900 pounds of cherries” added. They don’t specify how much beer gets the 900 pounds but we get the idea – there’s a lot, and they’re real cherries, not cherry flavour or syrup. It has a lovely pink amber colour, a thinnish head, with a spicy, fruity aroma. The flavour has a hit of sweet spice and sour red cherries that lingers on the palate and develops into a long finish . . . → Read More: Driftwood Belle Royale

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Archiduc Belgian Beer (Brasserie d’Ecaussinnes)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Archiduc is an unassuming beer that doesn’t give too many clues as to what it is on the bottle (the Belgians obviously don’t have the same predilection for categorising as we do in North America). It is in fact a strongish Belgian Amber Ale with bags of flavour. It comes in a 750ml bottle that is corked and the beer has a deposit of yeast from the re-fermentation. It pours a rich amber hue with a medium tight head that slowly disappears. The aromas are spicy, rich and fruity, and the taste doesn’t disappoint after such . . . → Read More: Archiduc Belgian Beer (Brasserie d’Ecaussinnes)

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Bath Ales Dark Hare

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Dark Hare, the latest offering from Bath Ales , with their beautiful hare themed labels, is absolutely delicious. As it pours into the glass you notice the deep ruddy brown colour, and the notes of toasted malt and dark chocolate on the nose. The very creamy mouthfeel is punctuated with molasses, which gives way to burnt chocolate as the fuggles hops leave their distinct taste on the finish.

A great Sunday afternoon brew, Dark Hare would also be fabulous with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, créme brûlée or a not overly syrupy sticky toffee pudding.

ABV: . . . → Read More: Bath Ales Dark Hare

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Phillips Double Dragon Imperial Red Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Phillips Double Dragon Imperial Red Ale is this British Columbian craft brewer’s pumped up version of an American Red Ale, which is a hoppier version of the Irish Red Ales. The Imperialisation of this fairly modern style of beer gives it a big punch in both the flavour and strength departments, so is not to be taken lightly!

This deep red ruby ale has a fairly hoppy aroma, with a robust full-bodied flavour. The rich roasted malt features heavily on the palate and is quite sweet, with notes of caramel, molasses and malty bread, but there is . . . → Read More: Phillips Double Dragon Imperial Red Ale

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Krusovice Imperial

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Krusovice Imperial is a Czech Pilsner lager, that is eminently drinkable, and a great benchmark for this classic style of beer. It has a pale golden colour and fluffy head, with a nice level of carbonation that is a little less than many lagers, but makes this beer an easy one to drink. It is still refreshing though, as it relies on a great balance of sweet malt and bitterness rather than mere fizz. Although clean and crisp, it has a good dose of pale malt on the palate that leads into a dry, slightly citrus . . . → Read More: Krusovice Imperial

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3 Monts (Brasserie de Saint Sylvestre)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

3 Monts is a strong Biere de Garde from the Flanders region of France, which is a style that can be hard to find outside of its native country, but is well worth the hunt especially if you are a fan of the more familiar Belgian Saison beer, which this is a close relative of. This beer gets a maturation period after fermentation at very cold temperatures to further enhance and integrate the complex flavours of this refreshing ale.

It has a bright, pale golden colour, with a long lasting, tightly knit head that genuinely stays . . . → Read More: 3 Monts (Brasserie de Saint Sylvestre)

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The Beer Book – Tim Hampson (Ed)

Wrangler Rating (Excellent)

The Beer Book is more than just a coffee table decoration, it’s a really enjoyable voyage through a world of ales, lagers, brewing traditions and beery nations! It has a myriad of must try beers of all styles from around the globe. There are travel ideas for beer trails in some of the classic places making the brews that feature in the book, like Oregon, Brussels or Bamburg. There are also brewery features, from the big names like Guinness to great craft producers like Thornbridge in the UK. The book boasts over 1700 beer reviews so . . . → Read More: The Beer Book – Tim Hampson (Ed)

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Howe Sound Total Eclipse Of The Hop

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Howe Sound’s Imperial IPA has a nice name that some of its younger drinkers might not get. I am not sure if Bonnie Tyler is a fan of this beer, but she should be. Imperial or double IPAs are usually a mouthful of hops with a hit of alcohol, but the brewers at Howe Sound have managed to brew in a style that the original creators of the IPA in the 18th Century would recognise and hopefully approve of.

This is a supremely well balanced beer that has 9o IBUs and 8% alcohol, but manages to . . . → Read More: Howe Sound Total Eclipse Of The Hop

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Maredsous Abbey Brune

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Maredsous is a true Abbey beer, which means that it was originally brewed in the Benetictine Abbey at Maredsous in Wallonia, Southern Belgium, but now has been transferred to a brewery outside of the monastic grounds, but is still overseen by the monks themselves. Many beers that claim to be “abbey” beers do not have that distinction, and the name just describes a style.

The bottle I had this beer in was a corked 75 cl variety, still resting on the yeast, which would help explain the bready nature of this enjoyable ale, and served in . . . → Read More: Maredsous Abbey Brune

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Dogfish Head Midas Touch

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Yum Yum! Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch is both justified and ancient, being based on a 2700 year old ancient Anatolian recipe which is a re-creation based on analysis of drinking vessels that were uncovered during an archaeological dig in what is now Turkey – drinking vessels that resided within what is thought to be the tomb of none other than King Midas himself (although suspiciously they had not been turned to gold!)

I can’t say that I have ever tasted a beer quite like this (which is equal parts a delight and a shame.) Deeply golden . . . → Read More: Dogfish Head Midas Touch

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Pyramid Breweries Snow Cap Winter Warmer

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Pyramid Snow Cap is the Winter seasonal offering from this popular Seattle brewery, and claims to be made in the “spirit of the British Winter ales”. At 7% alcohol, it certainly has the strength to warm the cockles, but does the flavour keep up? The combination of English and Pacific North West hops give this Winter warmer a nice bitterness, but unlike many other North American versions of this classic Christmas brew, it has copious amounts of delicious malt to back it up and keep them in check. There are notes of cocoa bean and dark caramel . . . → Read More: Pyramid Breweries Snow Cap Winter Warmer

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Wychwood Bah Humbug Christmas Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Bah Humbug is Wychwood Brewery’s offering at Christmas time to warm up those cold toes on a winter’s night. This is a very mildly spiced amber ale that is not quite malty enough to be a classic winter warmer, but it doesn’t pretend to be, as it is labelled ‘Christmas Ale’ and implies a more general festive beer, made with the addition of some seasonal flavour. This ale has a pleasant medium-bodied feel to it, with subtle notes of banana and clove; the hops are just detectable too, though mainly on the finish and aftertaste. The solitary . . . → Read More: Wychwood Bah Humbug Christmas Ale

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Anchor Brewing ‘Our Special Ale’ 2009 (Christmas Ale)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Anchor Brewing famously change the recipe for their Special Ale every year, as well choose a different tree, a symbol of the Winter Solstice, to adorn the label. This version (2009), when held up to the light, has a gorgeously dense ruby colour and an almost creamy pale tan head. The aroma is full of malty molasses with a definite hoppy highlight. The flavours that follow fill the mouth, but don’t overwhelm it; the main taste that starts off is a strong malty one, that develops into a black molasses backbone to the beer. There are some . . . → Read More: Anchor Brewing ‘Our Special Ale’ 2009 (Christmas Ale)

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Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale is a fantastically warming, well spiced brew that comes in a nice 1 litre swing-top bottle. It has a dark amber colour with a loose head, a rich malty aroma with an obvious spiciness. This full-bodied Christmas Ale has a very malty profile that is the backbone for all the other seasonal flavours that are added. Ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon are the spices that give this warming beer bags of flavour, but it is kept well in balance, and not one really dominates. There are also definite notes of . . . → Read More: Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale

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Granville Island Brewing Belgian Blonde Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Granville Island Belgian Blonde Ale is a great seasonal beer from British Columbia’s most prevalent brewery. It has a beautiful golden hue and a frothy head that leaves a fair bit of lacing on the sides of the glass. This is a slightly lighter version of the famous Belgian breweries strong blonde or golden ale, but they pull it off with style. It maintains the traditional spicy, candied fruit flavours while being a very refreshing beer that still weighs in at 6% alcohol. There is sweet pineapple on the palate and some nice clove notes on the . . . → Read More: Granville Island Brewing Belgian Blonde Ale

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Brew Dog Punk IPA

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Brew Dog Punk IPA comes from the new wave of British brewers whose beers may be more at home with the American west coast craft beer drinkers, than in a traditional pub. This should not put anyone off as their IPA is a delicious explosion of hoppy goodness! The colour of this beer is very pale for the style, and almost looks like a hefe-weizen, as there is a touch of cloudiness too. The Punk IPA has a floral-citrussy aroma, and the palate won’t disappoint fans of this style. It’s crisp, spicy and refreshing, with a . . . → Read More: Brew Dog Punk IPA

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Homebrewing for Dummies (2nd Ed) – Marty Nachel

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Homebrewing for Dummies might not make it as a ‘classic’ homebrewing book, and there might well be guides with nicer covers and lots of photos inside, but do not underestimate the value of this one! The book starts with the basics, and everything is laid out very simply, keeping the more advanced information for later. Equipment, ingredients, sanitation and basic methods are well covered before you get to the stage where you actually brew. The brewing process is unbelievably simply put, so that even I could follow it with no mishaps when brewing my first batch. . . . → Read More: Homebrewing for Dummies (2nd Ed) – Marty Nachel

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Flying Dog Porter

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Flying Dog Porter comes from one of the most irreverent breweries around, with their “Good Beer, No Shit” motto, and anarchic Ralph Steadman artwork on the labels. The beer however, is mighty fine, and their porter will delight many a dark ale fan. Its colour is a rich black, with dark cherry highlights and a creamy tightly bubbled head. Sweet molasses and coffee bean dominate the aroma and the palate is also fairly full on. Burnt chocolate notes start off, and are followed by a nice molasses malt taste. This full-bodied porter’s flavour lingers on, creating . . . → Read More: Flying Dog Porter

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Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout definitely deserves the adage ‘an oldie but a goodie’. This deliciously creamy beer pours near black with a fluffy tan head while the aroma mingles chocolate, roasted coffee and dark malt. The flavour is delightful. At first sip you can taste the creamy oats, velvety dark molasses as well as the aforementioned chocolate and burnt coffee which gives way to an enjoyably bitter after-taste on the finish. Brewed in England at Yorkshire’s oldest brewery (founded in 1758) this is a gorgeous, easy drinking beer and a great first choice if you’re new to . . . → Read More: Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

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Yukon Red – Amber Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Yukon Brewing are a shining light in a territory without much in the way of craft brewers. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t compete in parts of the world thick with micro-brewers though, and this beer is a good example why! This pours a deep red mahogany colour with a nice light head. It tastes of toasted malt with a touch of caramel sweetness, but well balanced by some spicy, slightly citric hops on the finish. This is a very drinkable beer, and slips down nicely on a Winter’s evening! Pair this with some roast pork . . . → Read More: Yukon Red – Amber Ale

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The Brewmaster’s Table – by Garrett Oliver

Wrangler Rating (Excellent)

The Brewmaster’s Table by Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver is a journey around the world of beer as seen through the eyes of a food lover, or should that be the other way round? Either way this book covers all angles of food and beer and how they interact when served together. It is a very readable book, and I read it cover to cover fairly quickly. The conversational and personal style is enjoyable to read and tells of the author’s journey to Europe where he discovered the joys of quality beer as a young man. He . . . → Read More: The Brewmaster’s Table – by Garrett Oliver

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Howe Sound Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Howe Sound’s Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale (as part of the John Mitchell series) may just be one of my favourite seasonal ales ever! The ruddy amber colour reminds me of fresh roasted pumpkin and the sweet aroma has just a touch of star anise. Unlike lesser Pumpkin Ales this full-bodied beer warms the stomach and actually tastes like pumpkin pie. Hints of nutmeg, cinnamon and roasted pumpkin flesh give way to the slightly astringent taste of cloves on the finish. At 8% this isn’t a beer for the faint hearted but it is absolutely perfect for the . . . → Read More: Howe Sound Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale

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Marin Brewing Co. Point Reyes Porter

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Marin Brewing Point Reyes Porter is a rich chocolate opaque brown and this is good indicator as to the flavour that follows the pour. Roasted coffee bean and dark cocoa are at the forefront here, and their rich bitterness is very satisfying and extremely moreish. There is a touch of chocolaty sweetness on the finish, but only enough to balance the enjoyable bitter notes that rounds this beer off nicely. This is a supremely drinkable porter that slips down without any trouble at all, so even the large 650 ml bottle seems to disappear far too . . . → Read More: Marin Brewing Co. Point Reyes Porter

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Ayinger Ur-Weisse Dunkel Weizen

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Ayinger Ur-Weisse is a well made Dunkel Weizen from the region which is the home of German brewing: Bavaria. The colour is of rich amber and is accompanied by the classic foamy wheat beer head. Malt, wheat and citrus tickle the olfactory senses, and leads us to take a sip. This is gently refreshing, yet full of flavour; tastes of grapefruit and malted barley are at the fore followed by nice floral hoppy notes. The finish has a touch of spicy clove and more of the dry floral hops that we found on the mid-palate. This is . . . → Read More: Ayinger Ur-Weisse Dunkel Weizen

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Okanagan Spring Porter

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Okanagan Spring Porter is not labelled as a ‘Baltic’ Porter but it should be as it has plenty of power, strength and depth. This sipping beer is really full bodied, and flavoursome. The colour is a deep browny black with tiny red highlights if there is enough light to fight its way through the near opaque brew. There is an immediate punch of black molasses on the palate, and it is these notes that dominate right though to the finish. There are however, other flavours that have to force their way out, and those are of . . . → Read More: Okanagan Spring Porter

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Driftwood Brewery Crooked Coast Amber Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Driftwood Brewery’s Crooked Coast Amber Ale pours into the glass with a lovely dark amber colour and accented by vibrant red highlights. The head is thick and tightly bubbled, then thins out but stays with the beer to the bottom of the glass. There is a distinct roasted malt aroma, but without much sweetness accompanying it. The flavour is more complex and rich than the aroma suggests but the roasted notes are still at the fore. There is an enjoyable nuttiness, reminiscent of hazelnuts on the finish, joined by a dry spiciness. This is a fairly . . . → Read More: Driftwood Brewery Crooked Coast Amber Ale

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Belhaven St. Andrews Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Belhaven St. Andrews Ale is a classic session ale in the style of a British Bitter. There are aromas of light caramel and fruity hops when I dipped my nose in the glass, the body is light-medium with a light head that leaves a little lacing behind. There are some caramel malt notes on the palate but they do not dominate or overwhelm, the hops are perfectly balanced for this style and give off a slightly fruity and grassy taste right through to the finish. This might not be the most pronounced bitter I’ve ever tasted, . . . → Read More: Belhaven St. Andrews Ale

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Nostradamus Bruin (Brasserie Caracole)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Nostradamus Bruin from Brasserie Caracole is a medium to full bodied brown Dubbel style Belgian ale. It pours a deep ruby brown colour with a tan head that dissipates without much lacing. An aroma of black molasses hits the olfactory senses, and is followed by liqueur soaked candied citrus peel and morello cherry. The flavour is complex and deep, and fills the palate with a load of dried fruit, like dates, figs and cherries with more molasses and and muscovado sugar notes. The finish has a surprising freshness to it which stops the richness become overwhelming, . . . → Read More: Nostradamus Bruin (Brasserie Caracole)

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Rogue Ales Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Rogue Northwestern Ale is a punch in the mouth of a beer. I like hoppy ales so if you don’t, this one probably isn’t for you. It pours a very ruddy mahogany colour into the glass with a lively off-white head. The carbonation is not too high, and feels like a bottled British Ale. The biggest flavour is by far and away the Pacific Northwest hops. Cascade and Amarillo are used to bring this beer to a mighty 80 IBUs. Floral and grapefruit citrus notes abound, from the initial sip right through to the aftertaste. There . . . → Read More: Rogue Ales Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale

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Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Paulaner Hefe-Weisen is a cloudy Wheat Beer with a pale gold colour and a light puffy head. There are all the classic flavours present: Citrus, banana, with a touch of vanilla bean and clove. They are extremely well balanced, and mild enough not to compromise the refreshing quality of the beer, but are still strong enough to liven the palate and stop this being in any way bland. There is subtle crispness to the finish, and it could quench the worst summer thirst. If barbequed prawns served with a squeeze of lemon are on your menu, . . . → Read More: Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

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Chimay Première Rouge (Red)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Chimay Première is the red labeled beer of this classic trio of genuine trappist ales from Belgium. Although it makes no reference on the label, this is the Dubbel or bruin style of other abbey breweries. The colour of label is justified by the ruddy brown hue of the liquid, and the beer has many sweet, roasted malty notes often associated with that tint. There are definite soft floral hop characters on the palate, with light caramel and fig flavours following on. This is not a heavy version of a Dubbel, so finishes with crisp spiciness. . . . → Read More: Chimay Première Rouge (Red)

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Mort Subite Kriek Lambic

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Mort Subite Kriek Lambic is a supremely well balanced ale, as the sweetness of the cherry flavour compliments the sharp acidity of this wildly fermented beer. Lambic yeast strains make very sour, yet quite complex beers, but this tartness is not for everyone. Traditionally sugary syrups were added in the bar, but soon brewers like Mort Subite added quality fruit syrup and real cherries to the beer before bottling to create a refreshingly fruity brew. The red cherry notes are not too sweet, but are in perfect harmony with the pleasant piquancy of the Lambic. This . . . → Read More: Mort Subite Kriek Lambic

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Fuller’s Organic Honey Dew Ale

Wrangler Rating: (excellent)

Fuller’s Honey Dew is a Golden / Summer Ale that is brewed with organic honey; don’t think that this is a sweet beer though, as the honey is subtle and beautifully balanced. There is a touch of the pale malt, a spritz of hops and the honey note that finishes it all off with a thirst quenching roundness. A nicely chilled pint of this on a hot summer’s afternoon is where it’s best. It is light enough to drink on its own all day, or matched with a summer salad or grilled chicken dish. It has . . . → Read More: Fuller’s Organic Honey Dew Ale

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Lagunitas Sirius Cream Ale

Wrangler Rating (Excellent)

Lagunitas Sirius is a ‘High Gravity’ Cream Ale weighing in at 7%, which is not a common occurrence, but nor is a cream ale of this quality. Do not be fooled by the high alcohol, this is a supremely quaffable and refreshing beer as a cream ale should be. It is surprisingly light and well balanced. There are notes of banana and crisp grapefruit with a hint of pine in the background, but no flavour overwhelms the palate. There is a touch of hoppy bitterness, that leads to a crisp finish and invites the drinker to . . . → Read More: Lagunitas Sirius Cream Ale

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Fiddler’s Elbow (Wychwood Brewery)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Wychwood’s Fiddler’s Elbow is an extremely drinkable Pale Ale, golden amber in colour and brewed with a touch of wheat, which is unusual for modern British Bitters and Pale Ales. This gives it a light refreshing feel, that makes it ideal as a summer session beer. The attack is bright, citrus-y and floral, followed by some nice medium malt flavours. The mid palate gives you a slight banana bread taste, balancing Fiddler’s Elbow rather nicely! The hops are still front and centre though, leaving you with a refreshing dry finish, and those notes of flowery citrus . . . → Read More: Fiddler’s Elbow (Wychwood Brewery)

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Piraat Strong Blond Ale (Van Steenburge Brewery)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

This is a lovely example of a strong Belgian golden ale. This beer emits a medium-golden hue and is topped with a tight, slightly creamy head. The alcohol is well hidden within the flavours of the beer and it exudes slightly dried tropical fruits, with a touch of caramelised sugar. Having said that, Piraat is not a sweet brew as there is a dry malty and spicy yeast finish. This beer goes on to warm your insides with its strength and flavour, making it a great sipping beer on its own, or as an accompaniment to a . . . → Read More: Piraat Strong Blond Ale (Van Steenburge Brewery)

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Fraoch Heather Ale (Williams Bros. Brewing)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

This is a version of an old Scottish recipe, using heather flowers and gale to flavour the brew rather than hops. Gale is a plant traditionally use to make ‘Gruit’, a mixture of herbs to flavour ale. It is great to see someone make historic ales as the Williams Brothers do; their selection includes four other beers which are well worth investigating. The beer has a pale amber colour with a light head. There is a touch of malt on the palate followed by an attractive herbaceous floral flavour. The subtle sweetness of the heather and . . . → Read More: Fraoch Heather Ale (Williams Bros. Brewing)

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Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

This deep opaque black stout truly is a modern classic. . . . → Read More: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

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