This is a darker chestnut coloured ale, which comes with rich malty and toffee aromas. The taste is a good full bodied malty ale and is an excellent English bitter. My 5* rating. Surprisingly this ale is 3.8%, as I would have expected it to be around 4.5 or so.
Barnsley Bitter was traditionally locally brewed, and in the past was brewed by Courage, now long defunct. It is good to find such a good version of this traditional northern bitter ale, brewed in Barnsley, which was fortunately on tap at my local micro pub – Just Ales in Wells. Do look out for this ale.
Find one micropub and you are sure to find another. Having a wander around Devises, we happened to come across The Vaults, a micro-pub ale house and bottle shop, in sight of the famous Wadworth Brewery. The Vaults is another gem where it is all about good beer, talking about good beer and the enjoyment of this wonderful drink.
Well worth a visit to sample the latest ales or a cider, or coffee. I bought 3 new porter ales to try, including one I had been looking for, from Anchor Brewing. There were also a number of Belgian Trappist beers on offer.
If you are around West Wiltshire and want a little break, hunt down The Vaults by the Town Hall just off the Square.
This is the Christmas seasonal offering from the brewery based within The Brew House in Bath. It is a dark red ale with a spicy aroma. The taste is a slightly sharp start, with a full Christmas spicy and fruity follow-on. A porter style and a good Christmas, seasonal ale.
Harry’s Somerset Cider is relatively new on the greater Cider scene. Originally a dairy farm with cider orchard, supplying Apple’s to the now log defunct Taunton Cider Co, the family have switched their day job from dairy farmers to cider makers producing the usual range of ‘Dry, Medium and Sweet’ ciders.
Harry’s Original cider is their ‘Dry’ offering. It has a golden colour, more typical of the larger market medium-dry ciders with a fruity apple aroma and a fine champagne fizz. The taste is sweet apples with a dry finish. Certainly more dry tasting than most bottled dry ciders but not as dry as a traditional farmhouse dry.
They do produce a traditional Harry’s farmhouse range, so it would be interesting to try their Farmhouse Dry
This Mild ale was on offer from one of our local Breweries at the Burnham-on-Sea Food Festival. It is an excellent dark ale with a chocolate aroma. The taste is a mix of chocolate and vanilla notes and a sweet malt background, with a hint of hop sharpness. overall a satisfying taste. An excellent ale if you like the milder beers, that were historically common and more popular further north in the UK. It is nice to see a mild ale in the South West. My 5* rating
This ale is brewed in Dorset. It is a dark ruby coloured ale with deceptive sweet malt and plum aromas. It has a roasted coffee taste from the dark roasted malts used, with a strong hop and grapefruit bitter follow on. A very dry bitterness in taste like an Irish black stout but with the thinner texture of bittered IPAs.
Overall this was an ale that confuses the mind and pallet, leading the drinker to expect the taste and texture of a black stout, whilst giving the pallet of an IPA.
This ale is produced by Gyle 59 Brewery, Thorncombe, Dorset. The brewery is log powered and uses its own spring water, producing natural ales.
If you want the usual mass produced lagers, Just Ales is not for you and you will be directed to a pub around the corner. Just Ales, located in England’s smallest city – Wells Somerset, is what it says on the label, it just sells real ales, oh and a few local farmhouse ciders. It has up to seven real ales selected by Pete and Andy, based upon their knowledge of available real ales and may be some recommended.
Look out if you are visiting, you could just walk past, without realising it is there, unless you are greeted at the door as we were. As well as real ales and farmhouse ciders, bottled ales including the odd Trappist ale from Belgium; you can have a tea or coffee for the nominated driver. The food menu includes – pickled eggs, crisps, pork scratchings, or a ‘top of the range Somerset’ Barbers 1833 Cheddar cheese bowl. A speciality is a pint and a homemade pork pie. This is not a pub if you want to sit with a meal, it is for those who want to try a real ale or 2 and talk beer etc.
The ales may be local, such as Milk Street Brewery in Frome, or may be from the West or Wales or further afield. On our second visit we sat with Andy and his dog and a couple of local Wilkins cider connoisseurs, and chatted about bourbon whiskeys, whilst nibbling on some of the great Cheddar cheese.