A night out at Stroud Brewery

 

 

A fun evening visit to a Cotswold micro brewery near Stroud last Friday enabled us to enjoy pizzas, freshly baked in their wood-fired pizza oven, and the opportunity to taste two of their draught beers,

Stroud Brewery are an old name in Gloucestershire brewing but the current incarnation started in 2006, and focusses on a great selection of organic beer. After winning numerous awards for their beer they have become a regular feature in pubs all over Gloucestershire, with the bottles going well beyond the county borders.

Stroud Brewery Organic Ale 4%

This is a golden colour, fresh . . . → Read More: A night out at Stroud Brewery

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Beer for English Devolution

A beer for every region!

 

Talk of English devolution got me thinking. At first beer was, unusually nothing to do with any of thoughts, but memories of history lessons about Anglo-Saxon England and the original divisions of England emerged, before those pesky conquering Normans came along with their Dukes and Doomsday Books. I checked a few blogs and websites on devolution and came up with a modern version that might work today, dividing England up into modern day provinces that represented some historical roots but allowed for modern populations etc. etc…..’but what the hell does this tangent . . . → Read More: Beer for English Devolution

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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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Cascadian Dark Ale – A name is dead? – time to re-brand!

Thanks to the litigiously minded Eli Gershkovitch at Steamworks Brewery in Vancouver, BC The name for that dark, top fermented beer, with full hoppy aromatics, created by the Cascadian varietals of hops, has now effectively ceased to exist. Proud Cascadian brewers across the Canada-US border in the beautiful Pacific Northwest have been denied the chance to brand the style that was created and championed with the cross national region that takes its name after the Cascade mountains (a term first used in 1825). In 1970 the term ‘Cascadia’ was first used to describe the surrounding region, and since then has . . . → Read More: Cascadian Dark Ale – A name is dead? – time to re-brand!

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Brewdog Trashy Blonde

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

What makes a great Summer ale? Whether you call it a Blonde, a Golden or a Summer ale, the style has to refresh, not be too heavily flavoured, but definitely not bland. There also has to be a good level of (here I go – a word I hate!) drinkability. (I feel soooo dirty!) However a drinkable balanced golden coloured ale would only get a 3 tankard rating. A great beer has a certain something that inspires and delights, and as all beer connoisseurs know, when you come across it, you mark it down in your . . . → Read More: Brewdog Trashy Blonde

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Winter Beer Showdown

Seasonal beers are filling the shelves right about now, and go well beyond any single type. The basic style is the classic Winter Warmer. This is not usually spiced but brewed to a slightly stronger alcohol volume (6% – 7% is typical for this warming malty style). Specialty Christmas beers take their cues from the old Wassail Ales – spiced, sometimes fortified, mulled beer given to carol singers in Medieval England. Although no longer fortified or served warm, it is usually strong and spiced, rich and filling. There are other winter seasonal ales brewed in the Belgium style. They tend . . . → Read More: Winter Beer Showdown

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Duchy Old Ruby Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Duchy Originals Organic Old Ruby Ale is made with a historic malt called Plumage Archer which gives this beer a deeply pleasant roasty malt flavour. The bright amber-ruby colour sparkles, and the gentle nose of biscuity and fruity malt make this a great session ale. The slightly tea-leafy and floral hops break through enough to make this a nicely well balanced beer.

This is not a flavour bomb by any stretch of the imagination, and it falls into a cross between a Best Bitter and an Amber Ale in style, but don’t be put off. This is . . . → Read More: Duchy Old Ruby Ale

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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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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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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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Wells IPA

Wrangler Rating: (Mediocre)

Wells IPA suffers from a common British problem: mislabeling. During the First World War, breweries (with the government!) decreased alcohol in beers to conserve resources (barley) as well as limit drunkenness among essential workers and the military. Hop levels were also reduced, so the traditionally strong and hoppy IPAs were the first in line to be emasculated. Breweries continued using the term though, but it described a pale ale or a bitter rather than the full-on flavour of an IPA. Wells IPA is a very pleasant and drinkable British pale ale that would have been awarded 3 . . . → Read More: Wells IPA

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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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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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Fuller’s ESB

Wrangler Rating: (Outstanding)

Fuller’s ESB lays claim to be the original Extra Special Bitter and its popularity across the world has made this one of Britain’s best known ales. It has a lovely medium amber colour with a loose head (typical for Southern English Bitters); the aroma is full of rich malt with some notes of yeasty bread flavours. The hops are far more noticeable on the palate, and are beautifully balanced with the strong maltiness that typifies the ESB style. They are present with a subtle spiciness that makes this a very drinkable and thirst-quenching beer. There are . . . → Read More: Fuller’s ESB

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Traquair Jacobite Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Outstanding)

Traquair Jacobite Ale is brewed in the historic Traquair House, one of the oldest inhabited houses in Britain. This beer descends from an 18th century recipe, and it has left us a very full-bodied Scotch Ale. The name ‘Jacobite’ comes from the followers of King James II of England, VII of Scotland who was deposed as King of Great Britain by the Dutch William of Orange. In 1745 there was a final failed attempt to oust the German King George II in favour of Charles Stuart ( the grandson of James II/VII) and this beer commemorates . . . → Read More: Traquair Jacobite 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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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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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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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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