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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    September 27th, 2012FletchtheMonkeyDesert Island Beers

    This weeks Desert Island Beers features Barrie Pepper who is one of Britain’s leading beer writers and for seven years was Chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers. He has been Highly Commended three times in the Guild’s Beer Writer of the Year awards and was the first recipient of the Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award for services to beer writing. And in 2002 Barrie won the Guild’s Silver Tankard for his book ‘The Landlord’s Tale‘ for which he was also runner-up in the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Books. Then in 2004 he won another Silver Tankard for ‘Fifty More Great Pub Crawls’.

    He is a life member of CAMRA and a former member of its National Executive. He was recently chosen as one of its top 40 campaigners.

    Barrie Pepper

    Barrie Pepper

    Barrie’s journalistic work includes writing for The Yorkshire Post, What’s Brewing, First Draught, Wine and Spirit International, Beers of the World, Inn Speak and several other newspapers and journals in Britain, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Czech Republic and the United States. He has now written eighteen books on pubs and beer and two on the Anglican church. In 2003 he was elected a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists.

    When not writing about beer his other interests are the theatre, music, sport, travel – which he also writes about – and the convivial atmosphere and company of the traditional British pub. He is active in the Anglican Church being a member of the Ripon and Leeds Diocesan Synod and Editor of his parish church newsletter.

    Timothy Taylors Championship Beers

    Roosters Yankee pump clip

    Yankee Doodle can to Knarseborough

    theakstons old peculiar the crown hawes

    Perfect place for a pint of Old Peculier

    Brasserie dOrval – Orval – (Florenville, Villers-d’Orval, Belgium – 6.2%)

    Orval – topping the Desert Island Chart

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    February 3rd, 2012DavidMayhallDesert Island Beers

    Daniel Carey owns and operates the New Glarus Brewing Company in New Glarus, Wisconsin which he founded along with his business partner and wife, Deb in 1993.

    Dan has an extraordinary brewing pedigree. He shoveled out his first mash tun in 1979 at the age of 18, in Helena, Montana, while earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science at UC Davis. Dan was Valedictorian of the Siebel Institute Course in Brewing Science and served his apprenticeship at the Ayinger Brewery nr Munich. In 1992 he became the first American since 1978 to pass the Master Brewer Examination of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in London. He then spent time as an engineer for brewery manufacturer JV Northwest where he built or consulted on the breweries for many of the 1980s craft-beer pioneers.

    He has also been a Production Supervisor for Anheuser-Busch. Dan won the Association of Brewers 2003 “Small Brewer of the Year” Award, the 2005 and 2006 “Mid-Size Brewer of the Year” Awards as well as the 2006 Russell Schehrer Award for Innovations in Brewing.

    New Glarus Brewing Company brewed their first beer in October 1993. The brewery began in an abandoned warehouse with used brewpub equipment. In 1997, Dan removed a copper kettles from a brewery in Germany that was slated to be demolished. When the retiring brew master learned his beloved brew kettle might live on, he sold all of his equipment to the Carey’s for its scrap value alone.

    In May 2006, New Glarus Brewing Company broke ground on a new $21 million facility on a hilltop on the south edge of the village of New Glarus, Wisconsin. The new 75,000 sq. ft. facility increased production to 100,000 barrels. The new facility was designed to look like a Bavarian village and is also now a popular tourist destination. They are now rated as the 21st largest craft brewer and 32nd largest overall brewing company in the U.S.A.

    New Glarus produce a spectrum of beer styles that have garnered the acclaim of the international brewing community. Perhaps most notable of New Glarus’ repertoire are the Belgian and Germanic beers that add to the rich European heritage of the area. The brewery’s Wisconsin Belgian Red is a tart and sweet Kriekbier brewed with whole Montmorency cherries, Wisconsin wheat, and Belgian roasted barleys. The household standard though is Spotted Cow, a session-able farmhouse ale brewed with flaked barley and Wisconsin malt. With a sweet, crisp flavor profile, this brew is today Wisconsin’s #2 most consumed draught beer behind Miller Lite!

    Dan Carey New Glarus Brewing

    Dan Carey

    Spotted Cow New Glarus Brewing

    Spotted Cows

    Pliny the Elder Russian River

    Another vote for Pliny

    landlord bottle

    The Perfect Landlord

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    June 8th, 2010FletchtheMonkeyPubs & bars

    Day Two. A coffee and a banana were the best Earby had to offer for brekkie and we set out before 9am towards Thornton in Craven, the official start of our second day walking.

    Farmland dominates the Pennine Way until the path hits Yorkshire again, and despite a near miss with a quicksand mud field we made onto the Leeds-Liverpool canal hoping to hit Gargrave for noon. A mile from our lunch stop my OS Explorer ran out and we swapped for my Dad’s Landranger map.

    This was significant, as Landranger’s (the pink ones) don’t go to the same level of detail, whereas Explorer’s outline the landscape down to individual fields. Within minutes we were off The Way, only a field or two out but with no idea whether the path lay East or West and not enough detail on the map to gauge our bearings. Glacial drumlins blocked the horizon in all directions so we headed aimlessly north in the hope of reacing the crest of a hill and spying Gargrave.

    At the point that all the fields were protected with barbed wire we became a little uncomfortable and descended cautiously into the umpteenth trough of the umpteenth sheep-shit covered peak. Crossing the field diagonally the quiet group of cows in the corner looked up and watched us intently. Something didn’t feel right*. As we hit the half way point the herd bolted towards the gate that was our destination and when they crossed our route they rounded to face us, lining up in fighter jet formation. I’d never seen a cow run so fast. I’d certainly never seen 8 cows run so fast.

    A depressing point giving we start the walk in 2009...

    A depressing point giving we started the walk in 2009...

    The bastards had clearly blocked us off and were now peering at us ready to charge. I scampered straight back up the hill leaving my Dad wandering bullishly towards his untimely demise. At which point he scarped after me and with the aid of a prickly thorn tree we jumped the barbed wire into the adjoining field.

    A few circulars later and we stumbled on what seemed like a path. Rejoicing, we followed it, somewhat out of desperation. As we passed the herd of cows from the safe side of a thick hedge we saw their calves beyond the gate we’d been headed for and understood their aggression. Vindicated in my situation analysis we serendipitously stumbled upon another path, this one with a huge pointed cross stump hailing the Pennine Way. How did we miss that?!

    A simple lunch in Gargrave and a map purchase made for a more successful afternoon and we followed the River Aire, winding through fields and villages towards Malham, our next stopover. As he heavens opened we found refuge under a gazebo in a Quaker’s graveyard at Airton, and they lived up to their friendly name offering us tea and biscuits. Hardy Yorkshire men as we are we didn’t stop long though and soldiered on through the downpour (we had to put our waterproof coats to use after all!) Eventually were within sight of our destination and the huge rocky outcrop of Malham Cove rose up in the distance. Somehow it looks even bigger from a distance than it does up close.

    The Buck Inn, Malham. Comes with beautiful bar staff as standard.

    The Buck Inn, Malham. Comes with beautiful bar staff as standard.

    The Youth Hostel didn’t open until 5pm and we’d completed the 1o-ish miles by 3pm despite getting lost in fields of angry cows. The Buck Inn provided much needed refreshment exclusively from local breweries (Timothy Taylors, Thwaites and Copper Dragon) and we were half cut by the time we checked in and showered.

    Lamb Henry for me and chicken curry for my Dad were provided at the pleasure of the Lister Hotel, where Old Peculiar was a revelation. A couple of hours of pool and oggling the Eurovision song contest ensued (as well as the fantastic bar girls back at the Buck).

    (*though I should point out that I’m terrified of most creatures including cats and dogs, let alone farmyard animals)

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    May 31st, 2009LanesyReal Ale

    When I’m out socialising with companions who are satisfied with just
    about any golden, fizzy liquid they can get their hands on, one of the
    few real ales they have actually heard of is Timothy Taylor’s Landlord.

    In bottle form, the jolly barman on the label is recognisable from
    many a cask pump. So does it live up to it’s cousin from the barrel?

    The dark amber colour is certainly inviting and the ale produces a
    lively head straight away. Freshly poured, the aroma certainly
    imitates the warm, malty scent of the cask equivalent.

    Once in the mouth, it’s surprising how smooth it feels for a bottled
    ale, with only the slightest of carbonising sensations on the tongue.

    The first taste reflects the malty aroma with the slightest of toffee
    in the mouth, with a strong, burnt aftertaste that lingers for the
    remainder of the glass. I have to say, I don’t recall this particular
    flavour from the last time I had Landlord in the pub and, at first, I thought
    it might detract from the potential to be a good session beer. By the end
    of the bottle however, I could certainly have managed another couple -
    the sign of a winning ale for me.

    Comparing a bottled to a cask version of the same beer is something I
    don’t always find easy to do, as each method can produce a very
    different pint, some better in the bottle, some in the cask. Landlord
    tastes slightly heavier and the aftertaste is certainly more
    overpowering in the variety I have tried here, but this doesn’t make
    it any less of a drink.

    Realistically, I didn’t expect it to meet the high standard set by a
    pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord in a traditional pub setting, but I
    didn’t anticipate that it would produce such a drinkable bottled beer
    in it’s own right.

    Timothy Taylor Landlord - Real Ale Reviews

    Timothy Taylor Landlord

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