Tag Archives: England

Robinson’s Iron Maiden Trooper

Robinsons Iron Maiden TrooperIn real life, I’m a classic rock DJ. You may have noticed my affinity for giving my homebrews Led Zeppelin song titles. So when I finally saw Iron Maiden Trooper on the shelf, there was no way I could pass it up.

Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson did, in fact, have input on this ESB. Clear and light orange color. Classic English hard water is immediately noticeable. A hint of sweet bread, then earthy hops bitterness. Nice mouthfeel and it goes down very easily. At only 4.7% ABV, you could easily knock down a couple of these during a show! Fantastic label with Eddie, as well. Perhaps I’m caught up in the novelty a little, but I’m a fan!

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Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

wp71785f0e_05Quick, name an Oatmeal Stout. Chances are you thought of Samuel Smith. Is there another example of beer where you can name a style and immediately just one brewery comes to mind quite like this?

Hints of burgundy adorn the edges, other than that, it’s an all black stout. The oatmeal really is the star here. Along with flavor, it adds heft to the velvety texture.

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

The mineral flavors from the English hard water are there, too, but it just adds to the character. Quick hit of hops at the end, but the roasted and smokey flavors take over in the finish.

There’s a very good reason this is a classic.

Grade: A

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Samuel Smith Organic Best Ale

Samuel Smith Organic Best Ale

Samuel Smith Organic Best Aleuel

Samuel Smith actually boast a full line of organic beers, including chocolate stout, cherry, strawberry, and apricot. This the the Best Ale.

Very clear for an ale. Aroma is mostly toasted malt and butterscotch candy. The butterscotch flavor carries through, blending with grassy hops. Very smooth. There is a hint of lemon in the finish. And that classic English hard water, as well.

Overall, I thought this was fine. Definitely not bad, but I don’t think I’ll be getting a craving for it again. Just didn’t have enough flavor for me.

Grade: C

 

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Laverstoke Park Farm Organic Real Ale

Laverstoke Park Farms Real Ale

Laverstoke Park Farms Real Ale

The more I’m reading about Laverstoke Park Farm and their Organic Real Ale, the more I’m intrigued. This isn’t necessarily a brewery, but all the ingredients are from their organic farm. Interesting stuff. I believe this is only the second organic beer I’ve had.

Pours a cloudy orange with a fluffy ecru head. Crisp, clean flavors of caramel, grassy hops, even a bit of apple. Very earthy and, well, organic.

It doesn’t exactly have big, bold flavors, but it’s not bad. At 5% ABV, this would be a very nice lawn mower beer. Or a gateway into craft beer for the uninitiated.

Grade: C

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Old Speckled Hen

 

Old Speckled Hen

The Hen was first brewed to celebrate the 50the anniversary of the MG car factory.

Pours clear and deep amber. But the clear bottle does make me a little wary of skunk. None in the aroma, thankfully. That is rather inviting with toffee and fruit. Very crisp on the tongue. Toffee, apple, some cherries come through before grassy hops and a slightly bitter and dry finish. Goes down nice and smooth. Doesn’t pack a huge punch at 5.3% ABV, but a few of these would put you where you want to be.

Solid beer, this. Easy to drink, tasty enough.

Grade: B

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Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter

Samuel Smith Taddy Porter

An English classic, Samuel Smith’s has been brewing since the 1750s, and the Taddy Porter is certainly one of their standouts.

Pitch black color with mahogany edges, the aroma is full of dark fruits and chocolate. Smooth and creamy, the same characteristics follow to the flavor. It’s got a bit more kick than most porters, but it really works. The finish is chalky and woody, and a bit of the well water used comes through. There is a roasted brown sugar flavor in there, too.

Definitely in the top tier of porters

Grade: A

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Fuller’s London Porter

As previously noted, I love porters. Fuller’s London Porter is one that has been around for a while and won numerous awards. A dark brown color with a thin khaki head. Bittersweet chocolate hits the nose with a bit of roast. Starts off with sweet malt, very full mouthfeel and finishes full of bittersweet chocolate. This has more chocolate and less coffee than most porters, but I don’t see anything wrong with that! An outstanding beer that I will be looking out for.

Grade: A

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Wychwood Hobgoblin

I really wanted to like this beer. I really, really did. It’s from Wychwood Brewery. A dark English ale with a cool name and cool label. It started out promisingly, pouring a deep ruby color with a nice head. Unfortunately, with the first sip, all I could taste was soap. Yes, soap. I figured I would let it sit and bring the temp up a bit, and it did reveal some more complex flavors like oak and mahogany, but the astringent soapiness was too much. I’m hoping I just got a bad bottle. I would try other beers from there, but I’m not sure I will be revisiting Hobgoblin. Too bad.

Grade: D

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Black Sheep Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale

I’m a huge Python fan, and not just of Holy Grail, so I had to try Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale! Pours a light golden color. Good head retention, with some lacing. At first, the taste of a slightly bitter grain, but after I swallowed, I noticed a distinct sweet fruitiness. Almost like sweet grapes. There’s a subtle bitterness and it’s just a little watery. Good, but not great. There’s nothing that really stands out about it, other than the title.

Grade: C

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