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Velocirapture

Staggeringly Good Velocirapture (440ml can, 6.5% ABV, vegan) It’s hazy, it’s hoppy, it’s festooned with dinosaurs. It can only be another brew from Staggeringly Good of Pompey – their take on the American IPA. It pours a hazy orange with a rapidly dissolving foam. The aroma and flavour are dominated by the hops, with grapefruit, tangerine and…

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Kellerbier

Kellerbier

Yeovil Kellerbier (500ml bottle, 4.3% ABV, vegan) A kellerbier (‘cellar beer’) is a style of German lager that hasn’t been pasteurised or filtered. Those expecting the usual characteristics of a lager (a clear, golden colour with a thick, foamy head) might be disturbed to see how murky a kellerbier is. This example also has almost no head. This is not…

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Grizzly Pear

Vibrant Forest / Affinity Brew Co Grizzly Pear (440ml can, 4.3% ABV, vegan) ‘You’ve got to go outside your comfort zone!’ That’s what people say, isn’t it? But there’s a perverse part of me that wonders how good this sort of advice is. No matter how exciting it might be, I’m still not prepared to…

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You Got This

You got this

West Berkshire Brewery You Got This (440ml can, 4.1% ABV, vegan) With the onslaught of beers hopped with American varieties, it’s often easy to forget that there are other parts of the world that grow their own unique hops in abundance. New Zealand is one such country, with many native varieties, some of which have…

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Escape Artist

Escape Artist

Siren Craft Escape Artist (440ml can, 5.9% ABV, vegan) ‘Sometimes you need a last minute recipe that can get you out of trouble’ it says on the can of Escape Artist. What’s this? Evidence of a brew gone wrong? With all the experimental beers that Siren Craft make, I wouldn’t be surprised. Perhaps the powdered…

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Turkey’s Delight

Turkey’s Delight

Summerskills Turkey’s Delight (500ml bottle, 5.1% ABV) With a label that looks like it was designed in the 1970s by someone with red-green colour blindness*, Turkey’s Delight is a Christmas beer by Plymouth’s oldest brewery, Summerskills. They’ve decided to use Phoenix, one of Britain’s most unusual hop varieties. Phoenix is the only hop I know that has a…

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Pudding Ale

Pudding Ale

Driftwood Spars Pudding Ale (500ml bottle, 7.5% ABV) Pudding is bad for you, they say. Beer is bad for you, they say. Oh well, having decided to be bad, you might as well combine the two and go for a pudding beer. Having said that, there is one group of people for whom Pudding Ale…

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Santa Monium

Santa Monium

South Hams Brewery Santa Monium (500ml bottle, 5.0% ABV) There’s a time-honoured way of making a beer for Christmas: brew up a strong ale, then throw loads of spices at it. Cinnamon? Check. Nutmeg? Check. Cloves? Check. Star anise? Check. That stuff has been in the spice rack for years, so it probably needs replacing.…

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Hoppy Chrimbo

Hoppy Chrimbo

Red Rock Hoppy Chrimbo (500ml bottle, 4.0% ABV) Red Rock are a Devon brewery founded in 2006. Like many modern breweries, they divide their range up into categories, in this case: traditional beer, craft beer and ‘slow’ beer (which makes much use of natural, local ingredients, such as elderflowers and blackberries). No prizes, though, for…

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Criminally Bad Elf

Criminally Bad Elf

Ridgeway Criminally Bad Elf (11.2 fl ozbottle, 10.5% ABV) Ridgeway’s ‘Elf’ series of beers have become something of a Christmas institution. The range now consists of seven brews in various different styles, including this 10.5% kick to the baubles. Criminally Bad Elf is a barley wine, so called because it’s basically a wine strength beverage, but with the…

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Lump of Coal

Lump Of Coal

Ridgeway Lump of Coal (500ml bottle, 7.5% ABV) Dark beers, perhaps more than any other, have their fair share of forbidding names: Harvieston’s Old Engine Oil, Hambleton Nightmare, RCH Old Slug. ‘Edible things shouldn’t be black,’ these beers seem to be saying, ‘but we know you love us anyway.’ You can add Ridgeway’s Lump of Coal to that roster – a beer named…

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Land of Hop and Glory

Land of Hop and Glory

Suthwyk Ales Land of Hop and Glory (500ml bottle, 4.5% ABV) One hundred. The temperature of boiling water. A century in cricket. The age at which you get a telegram from the Queen. Yes, in case you hadn’t guessed, this is my 100th blog post for the Southwick Brewhouse. Blimey. Where has all the time gone? Where has all…

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Unity Fresco

Fresco

Unity Fresco (400ml can, 5% ABV, vegan) Fresco is a wheat beer in the Belgian style (a ‘witbier’, or white beer) but with a couple of twists. Rather than the usual orange peel and coriander that characterises a wit, this version uses locally foraged lemon balm and spruce tips. Who knew that Southampton was such a bonanza of…

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Siren Craft Broken Dream

Siren Craft Broken Dream (330ml can, 6.5% ABV, Vegetarian) Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the fifteenth meeting of the Hampshire Temperance movement in this, the year of our Lord, 1852. Now, I know that many of you have been concentrating your efforts on reducing the consumption of gin – or ‘mother’s ruin’ as we prefer to call it – but you may be…

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Yeovil Star Gazer (500ml bottle, 4.0% ABV, Vegan)

Star gazer

Yeovil Star Gazer (500ml bottle, 4.0% ABV, Vegan) There’s a long tradition in Britain of naming beers after the effect they might have in the event of overconsumption – Tanglefoot, Old Thumper, even Riggwelter. Star Gazer seems like it might be in this category, but at only 4.0% it’s pretty easy on the constitution. Perhaps Yeovil Ales were more aiming…

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Farmageddon Gorse IPA (440ml can, 6.4% ABV, vegan)

There’s nothing quite like a bubble bath at the end of a busy, tiring day. But you wouldn’t drink it, would you? Or would you? It’s fair to say that Farmageddon’s Gorse IPA is going to split opinion. Coming out of the can, it foams like a bubble bath. It tastes of soap, but in…

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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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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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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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Treen’s Resolve

Treens Resolve

Treen’s Resolve (500ml bottle, 5.2% ABV) ‘Dangerously drinkable’ is a phrase that crops up a lot in the promotional material for English beers – the same kind of reverse psychology that Shredded Wheat used in the 80s when they bet you couldn’t eat three. Treen’s Brewery use exactly this phrase on their 5.2% Resolve. But…

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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 – 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

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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