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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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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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Knight Ryeder

Knight Ryder

  Knight Ryeder Staggeringly Good / Arundel  (440ml, 6.0% ABV) Collaborations between breweries are increasingly common these days. Some (I’m looking at you, Mikkeller) don’t even have their own brewing facilities, and brew solely on other companies’ equipment. Knight Ryeder is a joint venture between Arundel Brewery and Staggeringly Good of Portsmouth. A label that could so easily have featured…

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 Lerryn Blonde

  Lerryn Blonde (330ml, 4.7% ABV) The Fowey Brewery  Considering its relatively small population, Cornwall has an awful lot of breweries – 36, according to brewery listing websiteQuaffale. Lostwithiel alone has two – Castle Brewery (whose beers are also stocked by the Brewhouse) and The Fowey Brewery, situated on the river of the same name and brewing…

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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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March Madness

March is upon us, we survived the arctic winter, so time to celebrate! So, we’re bringing back an old favorite, 10 pounds off! Check the end of this post to claim your voucher! Brand new Southwick Brewhouse T-shirt. Only available online! The Southwick Brewhouse T-shirt is the gift that keeps on giving! Wear this T-shirt…

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Pot Kettle

Pot Kettle

Fallen Acorn Pot Kettle (500ml, 4.4% ABV) Coffee is yummy, beer is yummy. Put the two together and … yummy x yummy = yummy2. It’s a mathematical fact, which is why brewers have been doing it for years. Fallen Acorn’s Pot Kettle is their coffee porter, brewed with beans from Solent Coffee Roasters. It comes out of the bottle with a…

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Siren Craft

Siren Craft –  I Love You Honey Bunny (330ml, 6.3% ABV) For a brewery that’s only existed since 2012, Siren Craft of Berkshire have done pretty well for themselves. Named the best brewery in England, and one of the best in the world, they’ve not rested on their laurels either, with a bewildering array of…

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Stewart Brewing

Stewart Brewing St Giles (330ml, 5.0% ABV) Brewing in Loanhead, just south of Edinburgh, Stewart Brewing have been going from strength to strength since 2004, and now employ 25 people. If you find yourself in the vicinity of Edinburgh with nothing else to do, you can visit their taproom, or even brew your own beer…

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Andwell Sovereign

Andwell Sovereign (330ml, 9.0% ABV) A huge Union Jack in the shape of a postage stamp. The name ‘Sovereign’. A beer made in honour of the Queen of England’s 90th birthday. Yes, Andwell’s Sovereign is a paeon to patriotism. So, what style is it? An English bitter, perhaps, or a London porter? Maybe one of…

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Paulaner Salvator

Paulaner Salvator (500ml, 7.9% ABV) Bock is a classic style brewed for hundreds of years in Germany – a dark-ish, warming beer that’s heavy on the malt. Salvator doubles down on the concept – it’s a doppelbock, and the most famous example of the style. You don’t have to go far in Germany to find other…

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Beers of Valencia

Beers of Valencia And now for something completely different: a beer with three buttocks. Well, not quite, but given the experimental nature of Valencian beer, maybe this isn’t entirely out of the question … Spain is very much wine country – it has more land devoted to vineyards than any other country in the world.…

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Langham Hip Hop

  Langham Hip Hop (500ml, 4.0% ABV) Listen up. MC Salsbury’s gonna tell it to ya like ya never heard it. The truth – straight up, yo. I ain’t gonna sell it like the man he try to sell it. Uh-uh. I be keepin’ it real. Here we go. Here we go Langham Hip Hop’s gonna…

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Fish Key Red IPA

Fish Key Red IPA (500ml, 4.9% ABV) In her seminal 1818 novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley imagines a creature brought to life from the parts of dead people. And she seemed like such a nice, sensible girl. I blame it on the influence of that Lord Byron … Breweries are much in the habit of Frankensteining these days,…

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Oktoberfest It’s like a stag do that never ends.

Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Märzen (500ml, 5.8% ABV) If you believe what you read in the press – and who does? – the average wedding in Britain now costs a wallet-shredding £27,000. Compared to Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, though, this is chicken feed. He got hitched to the lovely Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810, and effectively the…

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Wooden Hand Dab Hand Session IPA (500ml, 4.5% ABV)

  Wooden Hand Dab Hand Session IPA (500ml, 4.5% ABV) Wooden Hand have been around since 2002, brewing in Truro, Cornwall. For 2017 they’ve decided to rebrand: gone are the previous, rather murky, bottle labels, and in their place is something lighter and fresher. The graphics now feature silhouettes of hands in different configurations and making…

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Ballards Brewery Split

Ballards Brewery Split

Ballards Brewery Split (275ml, 8.5% ABV) Barley wine. The name gives you a clue: it’s made from barley (in other words, it’s beer) but it has something in common with the grapey stuff – the strength. At 8.5%, Ballard’s Split is a beer to be sipped, not guzzled. The drawing on the label shows a man…

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Robbies Red by Adur Brewery 

Robbies Red

Robbies Red -Adur Brewery Sometimes it’s hard to describe a beer. Yes, I know – your heart bleeds for me. (500ml, 5.2% ABV) You know those ‘fruits of the forest’ yoghurts, where you know some red fruits have gone into it but you can’t quite put your finger on which? That’s what Robbies Red is like.…

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Renegade Brewery West Coast Pale (330ml, 5.1% ABV)

Renegade Brewery West Coast Pale (330ml, 5.1% ABV) Renegade are an offshoot of the West Berkshire Brewery, a chance to do things a bit differently while their parent company carries on with the more traditional side of things. They’re the Radiohead to the West Berkshire Brewery’s Rolling Stones, the David Lynch to their Steven Spielberg, the George…

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Good Chemistry Redstart Rye (660ml, 5.3% ABV)

Good Chemistry

Good Chemistry Redstart Rye (660ml, 5.3% ABV) If Breaking Bad gave chemistry a bad name, perhaps Good Chemistry aims to redress the balance. It’s the brainchild of Kelly and Bob of Bristol, who founded the brewery in 2015. Redstart Rye, like all of their beers, comes in a whopping great vessel that looks like a piece…

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Summer Luvin

Summer Luvin (500ml, 4.2% ABV) Piddle Brewery  And so to a brewery whose name is designed to make you think of urine. You have to hand it to the Piddle Brewery – they’ve got a very brave marketing department. The logo is interesting too – the dot of the ‘i’ comes at the end of a…

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Dark Side of the Wight

Dark Side of the Wight (500ml, 5.0% ABV) Yates’ Brewery, not to be confused with Yates Brewery, is a drinks distributor and brewer based in Newchurch on the Isle of Wight. They’ve been making beer since 2000 and are run by father and son partnership Dave Senior and Dave Junior. Dark Side of the Wight is their strongest…

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Hole Hearted – Fallen Acorn

  Hole Hearted – Fallen Acorn  (500ml, 4.7% ABV) They’re back! After the sad demise of the Oakleaf Brewery, one of my favourite local purveyors of beer, they arise Phoenix-like from the ashes as Fallen Acorn (geddit?). Similar resurrections have taken place across the south. The Havant Brewery may no longer have brewing premises, but…

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