Monthly Archives: November 2013

Hardys & Hansons – Rocking Rudolph

Rocking Rudolph

Hardy’s and Hanson’s – Rocking Rudolph 4.2%

This is a real Christmas ale as demonstrated by its flashing Christmas lights beer pump clip.
A real Christmas ale produced under the Hardys and Hansons name by Green King, originally an independent brewery form the 1800s in Nottingham, but taken over and absorbed by Green King of Bury St Edmunds.
The ale is a dark red gold Ruby ale, with a fruity spiced liquorice aroma and heavy fruit malt flavour with bags of depth and pleasant bitter sweet finish.
This beer was much more like it than my previous Christmas ale entry, yet I have seen other reviews saying it has little aroma or taste. It can only be that the recipe is very variable. id=”bpp_credits” style=”clear: both; float: right; width: 200px; height: 70px; text-align: right;”                                                                     Edited with BlogPad Pro

RCH Brewery – Steam Sleigh

RCH Brewery – Steam Sleigh

RCH Brewery – Steam Sleigh

The RCH Brewery produces a good range of beers.
Steam Sleigh 3.8% is presumably their Christmas Ale offering from its name.

Steam Sleigh – The beer

Christmas ale it is not! Beer well… It is probably one of the palest ales I have seen, almost lager colour, with little hop and malt aroma. The beer lacked taste of either hops or malt and certainly did not meet expectation of a Christmas, perhaps spicy malty dark winter ale. Steam Sleigh does not have the high hop bitterness expected of a pale ale and really was a disappointing brew from one of our excellent local breweries.

The beer was very pale and clear like spring water with not much more to offer. I am glad I only tried a half and will not be returning for a pint!
RCH Old Slug Porter ale is much more suited to a winter seasonal ale.           Edited with BlogPad Pro

Eden Project Beer Tasting


Eden Project – Beer Tasting

This is a bit of an historic posting from October. We made a visit to the Eden Project, getting there in torrential rain and as a consequence took the driest route down to the biomes. This meant that although we had noted they were holding a beer festival at the weekend and had some events during the week, we missed the signs on the day. Fortunately, whilst sitting with our pasties having an early lunch, one of the organisers of the Beer event passed through the food outlets announcing the afternoon beer tasting.
So in due time we headed for the marquee and took our seats in the front row.
The beer tasting was introduced and was presented by Sophie Atherton – the UK’s first lady beer sommelier. She is very interesting and individual and clearly likes all things beer and brewing – check out her beer blog
Sophie had chosen 4 beers to taste and the organisers provided a good measure of each to taste and a decent size glass in which to swirl out the aromas. Sophie took us through each beer in turn and had a good try at converting some of the non-beer drinkers in the audience. A great event and interesting to meet Sophie.
The 4 beers from the beer tasting:
Vedett 5.2%- a lager from the brewers of Duvel in Belgium. A hoppy taste with light citrus an some malt notes.
Clouded Yellow 4.8% – St Austell Brewery. A lighter summer wheat beer with light tastes of vanilla and clove.
Fraoch Heather Ale 5.0%- Williams Brothers New Alloa Brewery Kelliebank, Alloa in Scotland. This is a Hop free ale using heather and bog murtle for flavours giving a distinct lightly peaty taste.
Confidence 4.8%- a red ale from the Moor Beer Company in Somerset. An ale with the aromas and tastes of the hedgerow – hints of nettle, geranium and hawthorn.                                                           Edited with BlogPad Pro

Quantock Brewery

Quantock Brewery

Met Fredrik Domellof and the guys from Quantock Brewery again today, at the Taunton Christmas Market. Good to have a chat about hops and brewing again, with the interest in the increasing use of American and New Zealand hops.

As well as promoting their overall range, Fredrik was promoting his Christmas ale – Rocking Robin and their autumn ale Plastered Pheasant. Bought a bottle of each, needless to say, along with a bottle of Quantock Stout. A good trio for colder evenings.

I will be posting reviews of these and other Quantock ales soon.

Bays Brewery – Jingle Ale

Bays Brewery: Jingle Ale 4.0% 

Bays Brewery – Jingle Ale

It’s the start of the winter ales season (hooray!) – strong malty offerings for cold winter nights and flavoursome brews for Christmas. Jingle Ale from Bays Brewery in Paignton, across the County Line in Devon, had to attract with a sparkling beer engine clip. The ale is a slightly darker golden ale with a toffee orange fruit aroma and a fruity sweetish hoppy taste ending with a slight smokey bitter after taste. An all round good ale.

Sampled this brew in the Wetherspoon’s Coal Orchard in Taunton during the Taunton Christmas Market.


Bath Ales – Forest Hare

bath ales – Forest Hare

Bath Ales – Foret Hare 3.8%

This is the autumn ale offering from Bath Ales Brewery, one of our local Somerset smaller breweries.

This is a very pleasant golden ale with a malty hop aroma of autumn leaves with a hoppy and pine flavour with residual bitterness. This is a good ale for drinking on a chill but sunny autumn day, sitting in a warm pub. Tried this in the King of Wessex in Bath.                            Edited with BlogPad Pro

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

Tynings Brewery – Windmill Bitter

Windmill Bitter


This is my bitter, based on the late Dave Line’s stock – Crystal Bitter recipe but with the addition of Willamette and Challenger  to the Goldings hop load and some additional crystal malt. It has a malty aroma and a malty taste with a pleasant after bitter taste to finish. I will be replacing the Challenger with Cascade in the next brew adding at the final brew stage to try to increase the aromas.

Maudlingsday – 13 April

It was on the 13 April 1963 when the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Reginald Maudling announced the abolition of the requirement to have a licence and pay duty to brew beer at home for ones own consumption.  This opened the way for the homebrew ‘industry’ to take off. Initially with some rather poor tonic beer kits in health food stores. I remember a group of us brewing a tonic stout in the laboratory in the research association where I was working – it proved to be pretty awful stuff and we ended up throwing it away.

Well Reggie Maudling got it all started  – which led to a lot of home brewing and over the  years the growth in micro-breweries.