This is an amber coloured ale from the Quantock Brewery in Wellington, one of our excellent Somerset breweries. The beer has immediate strong fresh English hop aromas with a hint of summer hedgerow – hawthorn. An excellent English ale, with the taste balancing hop bitterness with malt flavours, the aftertaste of reasonable bitterness. This is a very good English ale, without any of the citrus tastes found in beers based on American hops, it is well worth seeking out, when in the brewery area. I rate this beer with a 5. Edited with BlogPad Pro
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborn has reduced the duty on beer by 1p per pint. With a pint now costing on average £3, this is a huge saving and will make it far more viable to visit a pub for a pint or two. This could mean a saving of £1 or so a year. Still I guess other taxes will soon claw it back, and no doubt the duty will be raised in the next budget – remember the reduction in VAT from 17.5% down to 15%, it did not return to 17.5% but went on up to 20%.
Cheddar Ales: Totty Pot Dark Porter 4.7%
This is the Porter Ale offering from our local micro brewery Cheddar Ales here in Cheddar, below the Mendips Hills area of Somerset and carries their potholing theme with ‘Pot’ being part of the name of some of the Mendip caves e.g. Rod’s Pot
Totty Pot has a strong malt barley wine and dark berry fruit aroma. It is a very dark chocolate brown, slightly lighter than a dark stout. The flavour is a pleasant roasted coffee, chocolate and malt sweet taste with a light bitterness but with a milder coffee bitterness in the aftertaste. Brewed with Maris Otter Pale malt with Crystal, Chocolate and roasted malts and flavoured with Goldings and North Down hops.
Brewing is an activity with a very long history, with the finding of the tomb of the Head Brewer to Pharoh Amenhotep in Luxor, Egypt, dating back more than 3000 years to 1300s BC. Head Brewer’s Tomb Edited with BlogPad Pro
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.