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Posts by Matthew Hallett

Brass Castle Monsters of the Deep (440ml can, 6.5% ABV, vegan, gluten free)

Brass Castle Monsters of the Deep

Experiments are the foundation of modern science, and therefore a wonderful thing. But experiments can go horribly wrong. Just ask my A-Level Physics teacher. Fortunately Brass Castle’s Monsters of the Deep is an unmitigated success. Along with the promised monsters, the can features windmills, lighthouses, runes and Hull. What does it all mean? It’s part…

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Arundel Brewery Tarrant Street (330ml can, 3.4% ABV, vegan)

Tarrant Street

You would be hard-pressed to find a more unassuming beer than Arundel’s Tarrant Street – a low alcohol brew in a small, largely white can. Can this possibly be as enticing as those bigger bottles and tins, bestowed with bonkers names, and festooned with funky artwork? Like many breweries, Arundel have split their range into…

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Hobsons Old Prickly (500ml bottle, 4.2% ABV)

Graphic design is a funny thing. Something about the label of Hobsons Old Prickly – or perhaps its description as a ‘Snuffly Hedge Grog’ – made me think it was a cider, and I haven’t been a great fan of cider since a certain … ahem … episode at University. But no, it’s definitely beer.…

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Padstow Brewing Padstow Pride (568ml bottle, 4.5% ABV, Vegetarian)

Padstow Pride pours a dark amber, heading towards a reddish brown. The aroma is unusually rich in malt and has a hint of peppery hops. Down the hatch, and … that’s where my problems begin. Sometimes it’s very hard to describe the taste of a beer without (a) calling it a blend of malt and…

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Yeovil Ales YPA (500ml bottle, 7.3% ABV, vegan)

YPA

Yeovil Ales YPA (500ml bottle, 7.3% ABV, vegan) Let’s talk about finings. No, I’m not referring to that fixed penalty notice you once got for driving at 47mph in a 40 limit*, I mean the stuff that brewers use to clarify beer. Traditionally, this meant using isinglass, a substance made from the swim bladders of…

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Time & Tide

Time & Tide

Time & Tide Brewing All In Jim (440ml can, 5.4% ABV) Time & Tide are a somewhat mysterious brewery based in Deal, Kent. Their website and Facebook page say little, except for their desire to create beer using the classic styles as guidelines rather than rules. But the product speaks for itself. All In Jim makes…

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Dynamite ValleyBrewing Co

Dynamite Valley

Dynamite Valley Brewing Co Brian (500ml bottle, 5.0% ABV, vegan) Labelling beer bottles can be one of two things: a tedious faff if you do it by hand, or an expensive enterprise if you have the machinery to automate it. Dynamite Valley, a new brewery situated near Falmouth, have found a way to avoid both. They take the…

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Beer in Granada

Beer in Granada I’ve written about beer in Spain before, but not from Granada in southern Spain, home to flamenco and the Alhambra – a palace and fortress containing some of the world’s most ornate decoration. It would be rude not to visit our local craft beer bar Colagallo (literally: rooster’s tail). It has a long bar…

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Beartown Brewery Bear Skinful

Beartown

Beartown Brewery Bear Skinful (500ml bottle, 4.2% ABV) Beartown sounds like the kind of place you’d find in the frozen north of America in some post-apocalyptic TV show on Netflix. In reality it’s the nickname of Congleton, in Cheshire. Legend has it that the town sold its bible to buy a bear, a fact immortalised in…

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Beer in Málaga

Beer in Málaga There are a number of craft beer bars in the centre of Málaga, but in the interest of avoiding the crowds, we’re holidaying a couple of miles away in Pedregalejo. We could make the trip in, but … oh, look – there’s a bar just half a mile down the road from us.…

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Rock Leopard Brewing – Distant Cousin of a Mu Mu Cat

Rock Leopard

Rock Leopard Brewing – Distant Cousin of a Mu Mu Cat (440ml can, 6.2% ABV) What do Illuminati pyramids with teeth, scorpions, bees, robots, tentacles, hieroglyphs and sphinx-like cats with laser beam eyes have in common? They all feature on a ruthlessly pink can of beer by Rock Leopard, which also features a name to…

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Snow Owl

Snow Owl

Animal Brewing Co Snow Owl (500ml bottle, 4.6%ABV) There’s a school of thought that you drink pale beers in the summer and dark beers in the winter, and that anything defined as a ‘winter beer’ must therefore be dark. Animal Brewing (an offshoot of the XT Brewing Co) have taken a different approach with Snow Owl.…

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Vibrant Forest / Dark Revolution Baloo

Baloo

Baloo by  Vibrant Forest / Dark Revolution Blueberry Coconut Export Stout (330ml can, 8.2% ABV, vegan) For something that appears to be named after Disney’s affable bear from The Jungle Book, this beer looks pretty forbidding: it comes in a jet black can festooned with skulls. It’s a collaboration brew between Vibrant Forest and Dark Revolution. As is often the…

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Winter Ale

Winter Ale

Winter Ale St Peter’s (500ml bottle, 6.5% ABV) The traditional ‘winter warmer’ is an interesting beer style. Rather than warming you up on a winter’s day by being, well … warm, it opts for a different approach: numbing you with a big wodge of alcohol so you don’t care. St Peter’s Winter Ale claims to be…

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Russian Winter

Russian Winter Itchen Valley (500ml bottle, 5.3% ABV) ‘Malt is the soul of beer,’ said someone who had probably had a little too much before putting pen to paper. But it’s true that malt is critical in the brewing process. Without malt there are is no complex soup of sugars, and without sugar there is nothing…

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Emsworth Brewhouse Starboard

Emsworth Brewhouse Starboard (500ml bottle, 4.0% ABV, vegan) Sometimes beer doesn’t have to be spectacular. Cheese on toast doesn’t sound like a particularly amazing meal, but if it’s made with fresh bread and a really good tangy cheddar, it can be a mighty satisfying thing. Starboard by the Emsworth Brewhouse (not to be confused with…

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Egg Nog Stout

Fallen Acorn Egg Nog (500ml bottle, 5.3% ABV) Egg nog, eh? It’s as Christmassy as stollen, or mince pies, or crippling credit card bills. Although, in my case, I have to confess I’ve never drunk it. Initially I thought this might make for a difficult beer review, until I realised that literally none of the…

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St Peter’s The Saints Whisky Beer

St Peter’s Whisky Beer

St Peter’s The Saints Whisky Beer (500ml bottle, 4.8% ABV) Given the similarities between beer and whisky (both are made with fermented barley) it’s surprising that more breweries haven’t tried mixing the two. Enter St Peter’s brewery and The Saints, which includes a measure of whisky from St George’s distillery in Norfolk, one of England’s…

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Mead

Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with  fruits and spices. In Norse mythology, the Mead of Poetry was crafted from the blood of the wise being Kvasir and turned the drinker into a poet or scholar.

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Firebrand Brewing Co NEIPA

Firebrand Brewing Co NEIPA

Firebrand Brewing Co NEIPA (330ml can, 5.5% ABV) This is a foamy one. As soon as I open it, the top of the can – and my fingers – are enveloped with froth. Pouring it results in a head the size of the Mekon. Even though it’s a small can, I can’t get it all in the glass in one…

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Andwell Red IPA

Andwell Red IPA

Andwell Red IPA (500ml bottle, 4.5% ABV) I’ve written before about the widespread use of IPA for beers that aren’t pale, or strong, or even particularly hoppy. But what if you make a hoppy ale and it happens to be red? Calling it an India Red Ale might seem like a good idea, until you give…

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Hanlons Stormstay

Hanlons Stormstay

Hanlons Stormstay (500ml bottle, 5.0% ABV) Hanlons used to be called O’Hanlons, but have dropped both the apostrophe (graphic designers seem to be allergic to punctuation) and the ‘O’. Perhaps they popped it into a time machine and sent it back to famed Hollywood producer David O Selznick (of ‘Gone With the Wind’ fame) who is…

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Quorum Brune Unity Brewing 

Quorum Brune

Unity Brewing Quorum Brune (330ml bottle, 5.5% ABV, vegan) There are plenty of breweries in Britain devoted to US-style craft ale, but Unity of Southampton is the only domestic brewery I can think of that’s devoted to that other bastion of world beer: Belgian ales. Given the rarity of some of the Belgian stuff, it’s welcome to…

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Dark Star Imperial Export Strength Stout

Dark Star Imperial

Dark Star Imperial Export Strength Stout (330ml bottle, 10.5% ABV) Dark Star predate many of the new independent breweries, having been set up in the cellar of Brighton’s Evening Star pub in 1994. Since then, they’ve gone from strength to strength, now occupying a 45 barrel facility near Horsham. A dark star, surely, is a black…

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Azores – Atlantic Brewery 

Azores

 Azores – Atlantic Brewery (500ml bottle, 4.2% ABV, vegan, organic) Azores? Surely a small cluster of Portuguese-speaking islands in the north Atlantic haven’t got in on the ale-making game? Well, no. Atlantic Brewery are a Cornish concern, operating from an 18th Century farmhouse near Newquay. Their Azores is a combination of the American and English…

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Wilde Geest – Wiper and True  / Siren Craft 

Wilde Geest

Wilde Geest  Siren Craft / Wiper and True  (330ml bottle, 7.2% ABV) You at the back – yes, you – put your phone down. How are you going to pass your chemistry GCSE if you don’t pay attention? So, last week we were talking a bit about yeast. We know that most ale is brewed with the top-fermenting yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and…

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Cali – Tiny Rebel

Cali

Cali – Tiny Rebel  (330ml can, 5.6% ABV, vegan) Tiny Rebel is one of the roaring successes of the Welsh beer scene. Starting in 2012 with two mates and a dream, by 2017 they had ballooned to 110 employees. Not so tiny now! Their brews are immediately identifiable through their charming logo – a threadbare teddy that looks…

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Amalgamation Houblon Tripel

Amalgamation Houblon Tripel 

Unity Brewing  Amalgamation Houblon Tripel (330ml bottle, 8.0% ABV, vegan) ‘So, let me get this straight, yeah?’ Josh says. ‘This beer we’re brewing is a Belgian Tripel, but with some late hops that give it a bit of the character of an IPA?’ ‘That’s right.’ ‘And this is a style made famous by monks brewing in monasteries…

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Pure Gold

Pure Gold

Pure Gold – Itchen Valley  (500ml bottle, 4.8% ABV) The phrase ‘pure gold’ always reminds me of Lord Percy’s attempt at alchemy in Blackadder II. Rather than a nugget of gold, he ends up with a splat of green. Thankfully, Itchen Valley’s Pure Gold makes no such mistake, and looks every bit how it sounds. A soon-to-be-gone fizz leaves…

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Becoming North

  Becoming North by Good Chemistry  (660ml bottle, 6.0% ABV, vegan) When is a porter not a porter? When it’s a Baltic porter. When is a lager not a lager? When it’s a Baltic porter. In the 19th century, Britain was doing a roaring beer trade with Russia, Poland and other countries around the Baltic sea.…

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Kick-Start

Kick start

Kick-Start – Vibrant Forest  (500ml bottle, 5.7% ABV, vegan) Breakfast, we’re told, is the most important meal of the day. What do you have for breakfast? Maybe some porridge oats and a cup of coffee. Or, given that it contains both of these ingredients, why not kill two birds with one stone and have a bottle of Kick-Start instead?…

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D-Day Revival Southwick Village

Southwick D-Day Revival The annual Southwick Village D-Day Revival event is this weekend, and it is a biggie. Last year we had over 10,000 visitors to the village and this year we are expecting even more! If your planing a trip to the Brewhouse this weekend here are a few things you should know: Peak…

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Leighton Buzzard

Narrow Guage

Leighton Buzzard –  Narrow Gauge (500ml bottle, 3.9% ABV) Apparently there’s a light railway in Leighton Buzzard. The things you learn from beer bottles, eh? It makes you wonder if, after the apocalypse, some future society might be able to piece together our history purely from beer bottle labels. Although, if they happen to find Skull Splitter, Bishop’s Finger and Sheepshaggers goodness…

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Fred in London

Fred In London

Fred in London (330ml, 11.0% ABV) Siren Craft  ‘Fred in London’ is named for the late Fred Eckhardt, a pioneer of the American beer scene. He started homebrewing when it was still illegal in the States*, and was also a celebrated beer writer, historian and critic. It’s common to get a beer that showcases hops (American…

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Trapped in Amber

Trapped in Amber

 Trapped in Amber (440ml, 3.2% ABV) Staggeringly Good Table beer, or small beer, used to be a very fashionable thing – a beverage with such low alcohol you could drink the stuff all day, even feed it to your kids! Of course, people didn’t need much persuading, given how disease-ridden Britain’s water supply was at the time. Trapped…

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Black Buzzard

Black Buzzard

 Black Buzzard (500ml, 5.8% ABV) Leighton Buzzard I love English place names. From the energetic (Westward Ho!, complete with its exclamation mark) to the oxymoronic (Lower Upham), England is full of settlements both historic and strange. Leighton Buzzard has always struck me as an one of these. How many other town names include a bird of prey? The…

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Snake Oil

Snake Oil

 Snake Oil (440ml can, 7.5% ABV) Renegade Brewery Early on in this beer-reviewing lark, I made a decision to only review beer I like. My thinking went like this: why dismiss a brewer’s efforts when someone else might rave about them? Why spend my time describing something I don’t like when I could be enthusing about something I do? There’s…

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Gyle 59 The Queens Legless Liz

Gyle 59 The Queens Legless Liz (500ml, 3.8% ABV) Brewed for a pub called The Queens in Corton Denham, Dorset, Legless Liz is an interesting proposition: a Belgian farmhouse beer with relatively low alcohol and a dose of American hops. The bottle suggests you can drink this with or without the sediment mixed in, so…

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