Real Ale Reviews Independent reviewers of real ales, beers and lagers from around the world, including beer reviews, breweries, watering holes and real ale events
    Sebright Arms / Lucky Chip

    Sebright Arms / Lucky Chip

    The bar is busy. The tables are full. The backroom is heaving and buoyant. Welcome to the Sebright Arms, dimly light and vivacious. We arrive from Soho at the fading of a sun drenched afternoon - four pubs, six pints, four hours. Three and a half miles later, bellies demanding meat and bread and barley, we bundle over the threshold. A table is found, pale beers ordered, burger menus devoured by hungry eyes. It's a young crowd, an old ...

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    A King and a Prince

    A Prince Amongst Beers

    It's not every day that you get the chance to try a beer that's older than you are. Last Saturday night I opened a bottle that was just that; I opened a beer that was older than me, so that’s over twenty five, give or take the odd ten years. In fact it was a lot older than me, more than twice my age. It was brewed in 1929 in fact, so that’s 83 years old. A mate ...

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    Build A Rocket Boys!

    Build A Rocket Boys! by Elbow & Robinsons

    Elbow are the kings of soaring melancholy, masters of poetic northern introspection.  Let Elbow's albums flow over you and you can be mesmerised by their beauty alone. Put in the time to listen, to soak up the poignancy, the humour, the extraordinary manifestations of the ordinary and their albums become life affirming tributes to the everyday. Conversely, it's quite easy to stick an Elbow album on and realise thirty lethargic minutes later that time - and ...

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    Man shed!

    Readers Pubs

    At the first pub there's a piano in the window but no one to play it. The seats are filled with ghosts. A long pew is adorned with individually wrapped cushions, resembling a bum-friendly box of Mr Kipling cakes. It's quiet, the fireplace glows warm and friendly, everything is cosy and snug. Welcome to Pete's Retreat. "We'll be at home here, let's get a pint." Much as we could stay forever we've a long crawl ahead ...

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    De Struise Pannepot 2008

    Pannepot 2008

    Broody and brown, like blood-red soil on a wet day, four-year aged Pannepot is dragged out of the beer cupboard and into a glass like Jack Dee to an in-laws barbecue... It simply doesn't want to open (the journey back from Belgium wasn't kind: a contemporary shot it's load in the suitcase, drenching the stash of bottles and it's still sticky and downtrodden) but eventually, after much gushing and fizzing, it acquiesces. Perhaps it's just the toll of ...

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    John Keeling Fullers

    Desert Island Beers #50: John Keeling - Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC

    It's a special week on the desert island as we celebrate a half century of castaways being swept up onto our shores. Robinson Crusoe # 50 is a real coup for us as it features none other than Sir (it’s only a matter of time) John Keeling; Head Brewer at Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC, (better known simply as Fullers). John was born in Droylsden, Manchester, in September 1956. When he left school without telling his ...

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    Will Hawkes

    Desert Island Beers #38: Will Hawkes, The Independent

    Welcome to the latest episode of Desert Island Beers which this week features Will Hawkes who works on The Independent’s sports desk and writes about beer in his spare time. Born in London and brought up in sunny Kent, he has had an interest in ale since he could convince a barman he was 18 – but his real conversion to good beer came after a year spent living in Southern California in 1999-2000, when the ...

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    Marston's Fever Pitch English Bitter

    Marston's Fever Pitch

    First off I should point out that I don't often take kindly to products and advertising that jump on the football bandwagon. The best footy related marketing is the football advertising by Nike and Carlsberg (ignoring their most recent attempts). So, I'm potentially a little biased against Marston's Fever Pitch... Let's start with the positives: oranges, lemons, citrus peel but not zest. It's more interesting than I expected, more summery. A mellow bitterness that isn't displeasing and ...

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    Englischer Garten

    Drunken in Munchen

    Let's be frank, I'm not brilliant at getting drunk. It's not that I'm a bad drunk per se, but since my uni days my tolerance has faded and I'm much better suited to a lazy pub garden or the frantic but well partitioned boozing of a hot festival day. So, the morning after the night before, eating pizza along the tramlines of Munich, Stag Day 2 of 3, the first beer is an inevitable mistake. The 12 ...

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    Lowlands Bier Festival

    Beer From The Low Country

    The smell of beer slopped on wooden tables, the glint of light in the top of the chalice, the sounds of a deck of cards and the clink of glasses. I'm in a bar in the north country but my senses are across the sea and howling winds, in the bustle of a backstreet bar in Belgium. Four pm on a sunny Friday, sampling the beers of the Low Countries in a bar in Leeds, dreaming of ...

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    BrewDog Blitz 2.8% ABV

    Brewdog Nottingham

    The blue logo can be seen for hundreds of yards. The windows that look out onto Hockley's student-filled streets, opposite a tea room, cinema and acclaimed bistro, are plastered with huge crest shaped decals, archetypal generation Nike branding for a Starbuck's influenced post-modern brand experience. B R E W D O G Reminiscent of the type of industrial themed sandwich shop found in downtown Prague or New York's Soho, but with added chutzpah and a munificence for ...

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    Shibden Valley by Tim Green

    Shibden Mill Inn

    Down a winding single lane road the descent to Shibden Mill Inn is not one to be taken with nonchalance. A careless clutch foot could result in an unexpected round of automobile tobogganing, even without the help of rain, ice or snow. But survive the swooning approach and there sits a fine pub to be snowed in at: good beer, warm hearths and food fit for kings. The pub is infected with sunny Sunday smiles. Gregarious family ...

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    Packhorse bridge and Old Bridge Inn Ripponden

    A bridge in time

    A brisk day in March, wet but without rain. Ducking through the dripping steel railway bridge, carving through residual puddles, Sowerby Bridge seems jack-knifed between the twenty first century and the 1970s. It's partly the lack of ubiquitous chain stores, partly the dubious puns of the shabby independent shops, but mostly the hues of a downtrodden day in a small Yorkshire town. Out the other side of the town the road befriends the trajectory of the ...

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    Hopback Summer Lightning: a bit of a legend in Beerland

    Hopback Summer Lightning

    Some beers have a pedestal. Sometimes it's deserved because they are truly great beers, technically and taste-wise. Some are headliners, built by a cheeky PR campaign or an elaborate story. And some are deserved winners of awards and a place within beery folklore. Summer Lightning by Hopback falls in the latter category. Back when I was enjoying my third year on this planet and coming to terms with the fact I would soon have a baby ...

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  • scissors
    November 2nd, 2009FletchtheMonkeyBeer Reviews, Golden Ales
    Yellow Hammer stood out on the Sainsbury’s shelf like a woodpecker drilling into a tree, bold yellow type urging me to pick it up.
    My first O’Hanlons ale poured a light golden colour with a delicate head. It was pretty lively with a slightly yeasty fruit/floral aroma that many bottle conditioned ale seems to have.
    The fresh floral scent of those Cascade hops was followed by a golden malt taste that was fresh and sweet. I was right in the mood for it and it came up trumps with a nice balance of hops, malt and sweetness to refresh my palate.
    This beer bottle brings up the question of bottle conditioned or not bottle conditioned, a debate that every now and then rears its divisive head. This is a nice beer, and I’d certainly have it again, but how much better is it because it is bottle conditioned (I’d genuinely like to know!). I’m not sure I like having to take great care and attention pouring this when I’m dealing with what would otherwise be a light, refreshing golden beer. If I wanted this on a summer night I’d prefer to slightly chill it and not have to worry about sediment escaping the safe confines of the bottle.
    That sediment, makes a big different if it does end up loose in your glass of beer (a little bit of which did near the end). Maybe I’ve missed the point a little with this ale, I’d love to try it on draft in a beer garden and will definitely try in a bottle again (pouring with more due diligence this time around!).

    Yellow Hammer stood out on the Sainsbury’s shelf like a woodpecker drilling into my brain, the bold yellow type urging me to pick it up.

    My first O’Hanlon’s ale poured a light golden colour with a delicate head. It was pretty lively with a slightly yeasty aroma that many bottle conditioned ale seems to have.

    This was followed by the fresh floral scent of Cascade hops, which preceded a golden malt taste that was fresh and sweet. I was right in the mood for it and it came up trumps with a nice balance of hops, malt and sweetness to refresh my palate.

    This is a zesty little number, the malt is subtle and it has the character you might expect from the  small, lively bird it’s named after. This is a beer that could really hit the spot in a refreshing way.

    O'Hanlon's Yellow Hammer beer review

    O'Hanlon's Yellow Hammer beer review

    This beer brings up a question I’ve been meaning to ask for a while: ‘bottle conditioned’ or ‘not bottle conditioned? It’s a debate that every now and then rears its divisive head. This is a nice beer, and I’d certainly have it again, but how much better is it because it is bottle conditioned? (I’d genuinely like to know!).

    I’m not sure I like having to take great care and attention pouring this when I’m dealing with what is essentially a light, refreshing golden beer. If I wanted this on a summer night I’d prefer to slightly chill it and not have to worry about sediment escaping the safe confines of the bottle.

    That sediment makes a big different if it does end up loose in your glass of beer (a little bit of which did near the end).

    Regardless of that this is a good beer that I’d love to try on draft in a beer garden and will definitely try in a bottle again (pouring with more due diligence this time around!).

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  • scissors
    July 31st, 2009Alan WalshBeer Reviews

    Hogs Back Brewery T.E.A (Traditional English Ale), 4.2%

    Currently sat round Jack’s house playing 1 Vs 100 on the Xbox while having a few real ales. Tomorrow we’re hoping to head over to Greenwich to check out the Meantime brewery but in the meantime (pun definitely intended) we plan on doing a few reviews tonight.

    This TEA was recommended to me by Fletch a few weeks ago so when we were down at Waitrose picking ales I suggested to Jack that we give it a whirl. Aside from Fletch it comes well recommended having won the 2000 Best Beer in Britain award.

    I have to say that this beer is really smooth, tasting initially a bit like a strong continental lager and not as strong as many award winning ales. The soft initial flavour gives way to a fantastic hoppy aftertaste which I would imagine was responsible for putting it in line for the award. It is bottle conditioned and has the quality you expect for a bottle conditioned ale.

    Jack says this is one of the top five ales he’s ever tried and that he would not be embarrassed to give a bottle to his old man at Xmas. Top referral Fletch.

    http://www.hogsback.co.uk/

    T.E.A. not tea!!!

    T.E.A. not tea!!!

    Tags: , , , , , ,

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