Category Archives: History

Schlenkerla Brauerei Heller – Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen

Schlenkerla Brauerei Heller – Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen 5.2%

Schlenkerla Smoke Beer
Schlenkerla Smoke Beer

This is a dark beer with a strong blackened wood smokey aroma. It has a sweet German weiss beer taste with an overriding wood smokiness, with clove notes.

This is a very unusual weiss beer with the smokiness cutting through the typical sweetness of a wheat beer. It is a great drink for the winter in a pub with an open fire.
This beer is from the original Schlenkerla Smokebeer Brewery in Bamberg in the Franconia region of Germany, first mentioned in 1406 and brewed according to the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516.
The barley malt portion of the grain bill is smoked over beechwood logs. The wheat malt is unsmoked.



The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) believes it has achieved its primary aim of promotion of Real Ale. It was founded in the days of Watneys Red Barrel, with a red barrel keg tap on the bar, later reduced to Watneys Red and a red keg shaped bar tap. Other keg beers at the time were Whitbread Tankard, Worthington E and Ind Coope’s Double Diamond; all thankfully long gone.

We now have a thriving collection of small and micro breweries producing real ales, such that even the big brewers and combines try to compete, either buying up real ale breweries, or setting up their own so called smaller ‘craft’ breweries within their main breweries.

Does this mean that CAMRA has now finished its job. No, it will need to continue to support real ale against the conglomerates but will now also campaign to keep our British pub heritage against the continuing closure of pubs in both towns and rural areas.

Black Knight Bitter

Black Knight Bitter 5%

Black Knight Bitter

This home brewed bitter is based on a recipe by Dave Line, who was the master of home brewing. It is a chestnut ale with a biscuity and toasted malt aroma. It has an smooth sweet taste with a light bitter follow-on from the traditional Goldings and Fuggles hops and small amount of black malt.


This is a good chestnut ale with a pleasant toasted malty flavour idea as a autumn or winter bitter. 

S A Brain’s – The Rev James

S A Brain – The Rev. James Original 4.5%

S A Brain – The Rev. James

This is a dark chestnut ale with biscuit, malt and almond aromas. It has a pleasant warming taste with biscuit and toasted malt notes. 
This is a good winter ale with a warming taste, which eminently drinkable.
It is good commercial ale to look out for in season and worth my 5*.

 The Rev. James is a range of beers from S A Brain named after the Rev. James Buckley a wesleyan preacher at the turn of the 19th Century and may have thus been tee-total! The range includes the Original based on a 1885 recipe tasted here, along with Rye, a dark bitter, and Gold a sweeter ale.

Lizard Ales – An Gof 5.2%

Lizard Ales - An Gof
Lizard Ales – An Gof

Lizard Ales – An Gof 5.2% Strong Cornish Ale
This is Lizard Ales strong Cornish Ale. Copper in colour, with aromas of roast and toasted malts and deep notes of English hops. It has a toasted malt taste with hop bitterness, reminiscent of strong black coffee. Similar in style to a porter ale but with more bitterness and less sweetness, tending to a dryer taste.
This ale is brewed with smoked malt.

The ale celebrates the blacksmith of St Kerverne, who led the Cornish Rebellion in 1497 against Henry VII’s taxes. he was subsequently hanged at Tyburn.

The patron saint of home brewing – Dave Line (1942-79)

Following the removal of the requirements of the need for licence and duty payment on home brewed beer in 1963, so called tonic beer kits became available in health stores and gradually rather poor home brewing developed. During the 1970s an electrical engineer in Southampton – one Dave Line, set about his hobby, producing real beers with micro equipment, quality brewers ingredients and good techniques, that could be brewed at home, to compete favourably with the commercial beers.

He produced many recipes, initially published in ‘Amateur Winemaker’ magazine and then in his books. He produced recipes to match ‘over the counter’ beers, some of which are still available from the independent brewers such as Fullers – London Pride, while others are long gone ales, absorbed by the big combines.

Also the 1970s had seen the removal of beer engines from pubs and the introduction of the now considered ‘infamous’ keg beers led by Red Barrel and Double Diamond, also now long gone, along with the loss of many traditional brewers, either completely like Friary Meux or King and Barns, or changed to hotel and restaurant chains such as Whitbread, or swallowed by a combine. Many pubs also closed and continue to close.

The legacy of Dave Line has now reached new heights with the UK and Global growth of micro breweries producing a vast range of craft real ales using hops from around the world. Home Brew continues to have its following with far better kits on offer and those like myself who continue to follow Dave’s lead, techniques and recipes, using brewers’ original ingredients of quality malts, hops and yeasts. Edited with BlogPad Pro