Monday, 30 April 2018

530: Tiny Rebel - Fugg Life

20180330_151918The Brewery: “We are Tiny Rebel, an award-winning brewery from Newport, South Wales.We are the youngest and only Welsh brewery to win Champion beer of Britain. We are the only brewery to have won gold, silver and bronze in the Champion Beer of Wales competition (in our first year!) and the only brewery to defend a gold the following year.”

The Beer: “British hops like Fuggles may not be trendy like their American cousins, but they live the Fugg Life. Our Brit PA is wholly hopped using British hops. Rather than the fruity, citrussy flavours imparted by American and Pacific hops, their British cousins give an earthy, woody flavour that makes for perfect bittering. An easy drinking 4.2% pale ale, Fugg Life delivers a rich bitterness before a clean, dry finish.”

Tasted better than it looked - had I seen how pale it was I might have chosen something else but it was very enjoyable if still a little ‘zingy’. 4.2% A.B.V.

The Head of Steam, Tynemouth. March 2016

529: Exmoor - Stag

20180405_192612The Brewery: “Founded in 1979, Exmoor Ales was one of the pioneer ‘Micro Breweries’ to stand against the onslaught of keg ale flooding the market from the ‘Big Brewers’. We concentrated on crafting ales of character and flavour which gained the support of the public and helped lead to the cask ale revival of the early eighties. That we were following the right path was confirmed when, with only our 13th ever brew, our 3.8% session bitter simply know as Exmoor Ale, was named Champion Best Bitter in the 1980 Great British Beer Festival”

The Beer: “Back in 1991, Somerset County Cricket Club celebrated its 100th anniversary and Exmoor produced Stag to celebrate the occasion. Initially produced in bottle, this full-bodied copper-coloured strong ale has gone on to become a vital part of the brewery’s cask-conditioned portfolio…… The nose is rich with resiny hop aromas to the fore followed by a biscuity maltiness in the background. On the palate a voluminous malty character with hints of chocolate and toffee is matched note for note with a well defined and warming fruitiness, before a giddy descent where a long dry finish where a hint of sweetness keeps matters well mannered. “

Yep, powerful stuff - a real punch of flavours. Not one to slosh back but to be enjoyed slowly. 5.2% A.B.V

The White Hart, Warboys, Cambridgeshire. April 2018

Friday, 27 April 2018

528: Coniston - Bluebird Bitter

20180328_220115The Brewery: “The Coniston Brewing Company, with its roots in the hotel and licensed trade knows a thing or two about giving their discerning customers quality and service. Ian Bradley, son of the owners of the Black Bull in Coniston, has studied and graduated in the art of brewing, and in 1995 the Coniston Brewing Co. was built: you might say, since then, Ian’s brews have gone from strength to strength! Six beers in regular production yield an output of 1600 gallons a week for distribution to 100 customer outlets. Acclaim is not limited to the U.K. alone, bottled varieties of Bluebird and Old Man are shipped to the U.S.A., Sweden and Hong Kong.”

The Beer: “It is, quite simply, a wonderful beer. It is exceedingly pale (21-22 units colour), with just a hint of colour in its cheeks from the dash of crystal malt. It has a massive orange fruit aroma from the challengers, balanced by biscuity malt.”

I first tried this back in 2012 - at the Black Bull - when we stayed at the caravan site in Coniston. I remember enjoying it then so was so glad of the chance for another taste. Paler than I would normally like but a nice easy going session beer. 3.6% A.B.V. April 2018.

527: Hadrian Border - Farne Island

20180327_160840The Brewery: “….in 1994 we took over the Border Brewery Company in Berwick upon Tweed. This was an 8 barrel brew plant with 15 barrels of fermenting capacity, selling 2 barrels per week at that time. Very soon we had to add more fermenters, by 1999 we had the capacity to brew 35 barrels per week and were rapidly reaching that limit of sales. At that time Farne Island was the best selling beer and it was being brewed twice a week to keep up with demand. The search was on for a bigger plant. In 2000 the Four Rivers brewery in Byker Newcastle went into liquidation, there was a 20 barrel plant available. We had looked for premises around Berwickshire but had drawn a blank, we had nowhere to put this large brewery if we bought it so we decided to buy the whole business from the liquidators and relocate ourselves and the existing business to Tyneside. The Four Rivers had originally been called the Hadrian Brewery so we changed the company name to Hadrian and Border, the Border, now north of Berwick and Hadrian’s wall were one and the same thing, just in different locations and eras.”

The Beer: “An amber coloured bitter, perfectly blended malt and hops makes this well-rounded beer balanced and refreshing”

My awkward palate disagreed and found this just a little too hoppy. A decent pint though. 4.0% A.B.V

The Beehive, Earsdon, Tyne & Wear. March 2018

526: Bath Ales - Anthem

20180327_152201The Brewery: “Bath Ales brewed its first beer in 1995 at a tiny brewery in Wincanton, Somerset. Since then the brewery has moved twice, but the beer we make and the Hare that proudly adorns our beers remains the same – with a bit of a refresh along the way. Founded by Roger Jones and Richard Dempster, the pair brought on Rab Clark, a local publican, because he was willing to sell their first beer. Demand for Bath Gem quickly spread though, and as business grew the brewery bought its own pub, the Hare on the Hill, and moved production to Bristol.”

The Beer: “this sessionable amber ale is full of citrus and peach aromas that balance perfectly with a grapefruit bitterness. This easy-drinking ale is perfect paired with salty pub snacks such as crisps, peanuts and pork ...….”

That was all I could grab at the time as the link to the full page didn’t work. I’m a fan of Bath Ales thanks to their delicious Gem, but this didn’t excite sadly. Nothing wrong with it, it just wasn’t to my taste. 3.8% A.B.V

The Melton Constable, Seaton Sluice, Tyne & Wear. March 2018

525: Wylam - Angel

20180326_190455The Brewery: “Our Brewery has come a fairly long way since our founding fathers John Boyle & Robin Leighton pawed over their first malt bills and recipes in a potting shed in the village of Wylam, Northumberland. Our brews are now enjoyed in quality pubs and bottle shops across the land and further beyond……Founded in 2000 Wylam is a 30 Barrel Micro Brewery that resides at the Palace of Arts in Exhibition Park.”

The Beer: “This pale copper amber ale is a well-balanced bitter with a citrus character in the aroma and a rich, spicy finish driven by the Cascade hop.”

Yep, a little too heavy on the citrus for my awkward palate but I could have drank another. 4.3% A.B.V

The Delaval Arms, Old Hartley, Tyne & Wear. March 2018