Craft beer advent calendar 3: Andwell Ruddy Darter

We happen to be travelling at the moment, so I had to plan ahead to ensure that we adhered to the advent calendar publishing schedule. So I bring this review to you from the comfort of the Felix hotel in Cambridge.

Today’s beer is the Andwell brewing company’s ‘ruddy darter ruby ale’, apparently a “rich ruby ale brewed in Hampshire”. It comes in at 4.6% and has a design which is evocative of country walks and jolly farmers with red faces.

The first flavour that comes immediately to mind was coffee there was something incredibly malty about this beer. It’s warming and flavoursome but it is really dominated by that one flavour which isn’t particularly subtle. That said, I could see myself having one or two at the bar – just not much more.

So I’d give this one a 6 which puts it below the Meantime but above the Golden.

Kat’s thoughts

 It smells stronger and less fruity than the last one. It’s less fizzy too. It tastes more bitter but I prefer it to the Meantime even though I’d have thought I’d like a lighter fruitier one.

Craft beer advent calendar 2: Heart of Gold

Well, it got a bit late on day 2 of the advent calendar but the wait was worth it. Time for my next craft beer. This one got into the fridge for a couple of hours before drinking.

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The beer was called a golden ale and though the picture doesn’t do it justice, it was golden. The aroma was rather sweet – honey or lychee, and rather inviting.

The first taste was rather watery, though. This was confirmed on second and further tastings – it never felt like it had much body. There was no hop to it but it wasn’t unpleasant, either. I just couldn’t get away from the feeling that I was being served watered down beer.

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Reading the label, it was a 3.8% CAMRA-approved ale by Oakleaf Brewing. This wasn’t a brewery or a beer I’d heard of before, and unfortunately it’s not one that I’m going to seek outagain. It could have used some hoppy bitterness or some deeper barley flavour, but overall this wasn’t as good as the Meantime from yesterday. Still glad I tried it! I think I’ll wait until tomorrow’s beer before starting scoring.

Edit: After a couple more days, I’m giving this a 5/10.

Kat was absent from today’s tasting.

Craft beer advent calendar 1: Meantime London Pale Ale

So I was given a lovely (and slightly daunting) present for my birthday – a craft beer advent calendar. My aim isn’t to make a big deal with long posts, or I won’t do it, but it was a fun idea and so I’m going to record my thoughts for the blog.

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As a bit of background, I do like craft beer, and I have tried a good few, but I don’t consider myself to be particularly knowledgeable. I like the taste of a decently strong ale, but I don’t consider myself to have been exposed to a lot of variety.

So today’s advent calendar ale is Meantime London Pale Ale. I’ve had this one before (I think in rather trendy bars and restaurants). It describes itself as ‘brewed with Cascade, Centennial and Kentish Golding’, which are apparently hops. I like that the bottle doesn’t do anything else in a self-aggrandising way.img_20161201_200118-copy Read More

Higgidy Pies review

In recent years there has been a bit of a spate of ‘home-made’, friendly, fun things to buy – and this is a good thing. Smaller food producers have the need to stand out from their larger, more established competition, and therefore often create interesting products, forcing the other companies to revisit their recipes or products.

Recently I bought such a product: Higgidy British Beef, Stilton and Sussex Ale pie. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It forms, in my mind at least, the thought of gentle cows on green British hills being looked after by a kindly farmer, wearing a flat cap; a hardworking cheese-maker who has honed his trade over a number of generations crafting the finest Stilton ever; and then perhaps all of them gathering together (including the cows) for a drink at the end of the day in a traditional Sussex pub.

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