Category Archives: Brewery Showcase

BeerCast #62 – Hardknott Showcase

The leap from enthusiastic homebrewer to full-scale production is one that happens with some regularity in the world of beer – but there are other routes available. Making the switch from owning a pub to owning a brewery is rarer, and no less difficult. Dave Bailey, landlord of the Woolpack Inn near Boot in Eskdale is such a brewer. Wanting to increase traffic into the pub, and with some empty outbuildings, back in 2005 he set about producing his own beer to supply his regulars.

Five years later the Hardknott Brewery (named after the Hardknott Pass, behind the inn) were doing so well that Dave reluctantly sold the pub to concentrate on the brewing. Now located on an industrial estate in Millom, the distinctively branded beers are now being seen with more regularity around the country. We haven’t seen any north of the border as yet, but a trip to London gave us the chance to buy four of Dave’s beers for a brewery showcase. On the panel today – Richard, Shovels and Blair, making his second and last BeerCast appearance…

1. Dark Energy (4.9%abv)
Hardknott Brewery, Millom, Cumbria.
500ml glass bottle

What They Say
“Dark, fruity, bitter, spicy. Galena and Willamette hops are added to a grist mix as complicated as an astrophysicist’s equation.”

What We Say
Blair – I like a lot of the tastes, but it maybe lacks body
Richard – High carbonation and sour finish, has a lot of good properties but some unusual ones
Shovels – Dry prune taste, little bit of smoke, sour aftertaste 5

2. Infra Red (6.5%abv)
Hardknott Brewery, Millom, Cumbria.
500ml glass bottle

What They Say
“This IPA is not particularly Pale. In fact it’s a deep ruby red. Based on a modern American style beer from Oregon using Cascade and Centennial hops in appropriate proportions, for bittering, aroma and dry hopping balanced with a strong Crystal malt backbone.”

What We Say
Richard – Really nice, great bitter hop flavour coming through 8
Shovels – Good hop flavour, but better beers out there for this style
Blair – A little bit more floral or citrus would be nice, but I like it 7

3. Queboid (8.0%abv)
Hardknott Brewery, Millom, Cumbria.
500ml glass bottle

What They Say
“A double IPA. Strong and flavoursome.”

What We Say
Blair – Even-keeled beer, Belgian influence on an American style
Shovels – I’d like a bit more hops in this one 7
Richard – Sweet at first, then dry when the hops arrive 7

4. Granite 2009 (10.4%abv)
Hardknott Brewery, Millom, Cumbria.
500ml glass bottle

What They Say
“Created using natural Lake District water extracted from volcanic rock. The heat of our copper drove the malt sugars to twice the concentration producing a burnt toffee flavour.”

What We Say
Blair – I’d call it an imperial smoked porter, but I really like it 9
Richard – Alcohol but no sweetness, it’s really interesting
Shovels – To be honest, I like it because it doesn’t taste like a barley wine 7

– (clockwise from top left) Shovels, Blair, Richard

BeerCast panel verdict
Hardknott Granite 2009 (23½/30)
Hardknott Infra Red (22½/30)
Hardknott Queboid (21½/30)
Hardknott Dark Energy (18/30)

  • Listen to the episode on Soundcloud here:
  • Or here if you’re on iPhone/iPad: BeerCast #62 – Hardknott Showcase
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    Stay tuned for our 63rd BeerCast, as we assemble the London chapter for another Brewery Showcase. Our Southern branch will be tackling the beers of the Knops Brewing Company – no strangers to our Edinburgh team – but how will Rob’s beers go down in the other capital? Find out in a few weeks…
    Hardknott Brewery website

    BeerCast #59 – IPA is Dead

    Last month Fraserburgh’s BrewDog released a series of four India Pale Ales to showcase the wonderful versatility of hops. Being BrewDog, they called it IPA is Dead, and bottled the four base IPA’s after having kettle and then dry hopped each of them with a single variety. Bramling Cross, Nelson Sauvin, Sorachi Ace and Citra are the hops involved – each added to a beer with the same malt content – and all brewed to 7.5% and 75IBU. We got hold of a pack, and assembled our team to discuss whether this means the end for IPA’s – or just another beginning. On the panel this time are Richard, Shovels, Grooben, and (fast becoming a regular) Stuart. We also added a bonus beer for comparison – another single hopped IPA – Kernel India Pale Ale Citra (7.2%). Stand by for big scores, big discussions, and the best way of cleaning a lion’s cage…

    1. IPA is Dead Bramling X (7.5%abv)
    BrewDog, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.
    330ml glass bottle

    Hailing from the hop gardens of south-east England, Bramling Cross was developed at Wye College in 1927 by a Professor Salmon. The name comes from the Golding variety Bramling being crossed with a wild Manitoban hop from Canada. Giving strong spicy blackcurrant characters, it has a relatively low alpha acid content at 5-7%, meaning more need to be added to give a bitter effect. Commonly used for cask bitters, BrewDog avoided comparisons with the beer they love to hate by upping the hop load and calling the beer Bramling X.

    What They Say
    “Good old Bramling Cross is elegant, refined, assured, (boring) and understated. Understated that is unless you hop the living daylights out of a beer with it. This is Bramling Cross re-invented and re-imagined and shows just what can be done with English hops if you use enough of them.” [Official Website]

    What We Say
    Grooben – Grapefruity aroma, leafy autumnal undertones 8
    Shovels – Quite an earthy hop, good but not blowing me away 7
    Richard – Fruity, then more rich berry fruit as it warms 7
    Stu – I love the fruitiness and I’d be happy with four of these 7

    2. IPA is Dead Nelson Sauvin (7.5%abv)
    BrewDog, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.
    330ml glass bottle

    Back in 2000, the New Zealand based Hort Research crossed two older NZ hop varieties at their base in the south island city of Nelson. Such was the grape-like flavour the new hop imparted, they called it Nelson Sauvin. White wine and crisp fruitiness are the order of the day here – BrewDog already use large amounts of Nelson Sauvin making one of their most popular core beers, 5am Saint

    What They Say
    “Nelson is a love it or hate it kinda hop. We are cool with that, if we wanted to keep everyone happy we would be brewing Fosters anyway. Sharp as a razor, this New Zealand hop slices its way through your taste buds and is brutally resinous, almost scraping the intense flavours of passion fruit along your poor tongue.” [Official Website]

    What We Say
    Shovels – Don’t get wine from this, but I do get lots of grapefruit 7
    Grooben – A bastard lovechild of Trashy Blonde and 5AM Saint 6
    Richard – The wineyness gives way to grapefruit, but it then gets too sweet, and grapefruity beers should be bitter
    Stu – One or two sips is Ok, but it goes a bit far for me 5

    3. IPA is Dead Sorachi Ace (7.5%abv)
    BrewDog, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.
    330ml glass bottle

    Sorachi Ace is the wildcard and the joker of the hop pack rolled into one. Developed for Sapporo in Japan, it first came to real prominence elsewhere during the global hop shortage of 2007, when necessity meant other alternatives had to be explored. Why is it unusual? Some of the other UK bloggers who have sampled IPA is Dead have used the following terms to try and sum it up – soap, musky caramel, creamy butter, orange peel, herbal, undrinkable nettle-flavoured cat pee (is there a drinkable nettle cat pee?)…

    What They Say
    “A hop that tastes of bubble gum? Seriously? No, we did not believe it either. But it does! This is one unique, son of a bitch of a hop. Lemony, deep, musty with a smoothness which belies its power. This hop is lemony like a lemon who was angry earlier but is now tired because of all the rage.” [Official Website]

    What We Say
    Richard – Tastes like lemon cheesecake, every sip is nice and then not nice, it’s fascinatingly interesting 8
    Grooben – Synthetic, perfumy, with the alcohol coming through 7
    Shovels – I’m not sure I like it but I’m not sure I don’t like it 6
    Stu – I wouldn’t sit down in front of the telly with it 4

    4. IPA is Dead Citra (7.5%abv)
    BrewDog, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.
    330ml glass bottle

    Finally Citra – definitely the hop du jour. Only developed three years ago – by the mighty Sierra Nevada (who know a thing or two about hops) – it was first presented at the 2008 World Brewing Congress. RateBeer has 63 beers on its rankings with the word Citra in the title (so that’s not including those that simply have it somewhere in the recipe). It has taken off in a big way – easy to see why with the pure Pacific US flavours, Citra imparts flavours of pretty much every zingy fruit you can think of.

    What They Say
    “The Pacific North West of America is home to the Citra hop. America is not just about cheer leaders, a silly version of football, elastic top jeans and cheeseburgers. They grow remarkable hops and Citra is a killer example of this, embodying all that is good about American hops and then some.” [Official Website]

    What We Say
    Stu – This is absolutely my style of beer, I love it 9
    Shovels – Citrusy hops are great because they are so cleansing 8
    Grooben – Limey overtones, the most full-on fruity of the four 8
    Richard – From start to finish it’s straight up tropical fruit

    5. Kernel IPA Citra (7.2%abv)
    The Kernel Brewery, Bermondsey, London.
    330ml glass bottle

    Finally, we put the Kernel cat among the BrewDog pigeons by adding a bonus beer at the last minute. To compare directly with the previous beer, we sample Kernel’s single-hopped Citra IPA and note the differences. Brewing in south London, Evin O’Riordain has come up with some stunning beers over the last year and a half – see our Kernel showcase for a few of them. Will the Citra live up to the others?

    What We Say
    Richard – I think that’s the perfect IPA, it’s strong, perfectly balanced, is fantastic and I love it 10
    Stu – Some sweetness but this is just that touch more refined
    Shovels – Subtlety to it, the hops aren’t that overpowering
    Grooben – Not quite the crazy tropical fruit, tastes balanced

    – (clockwise from top left) Richard, Shovels, Stuart, Grooben

    BeerCast panel verdict
    Kernel IPA Citra (36½/40)
    BrewDog IPA is Dead Citra (32½/40)
    BrewDog IPA is Dead Bramling X (29/40)
    BrewDog IPA is Dead Sorachi Ace (25/40)
    BrewDog IPA is Dead Nelson Sauvin (23½/40)

  • Listen to the episode here: BeerCast #59 – IPA is Dead
  • Subscribe to the podcasts in iTunes or our Site Feed
  • Our next BeerCast podcast is another brewery showcase, as we sample the three beers produced by Warwickshire’s Purity Brewery. Stay tuned for that, and look for Kernel IPA Citra to possibly make a run all the way to our 2011 Beer of the Year show in December.

    Mitchell Krause Showcase

    We’ve written before about ‘cuckoo’ brewers – those who have to use the facilities of others to get their brewing done. Whilst it may be an unfortunate term, it’s a necessary option in the current climate, where the outlay on a bespoke facility is simply too expensive for many. It has become a useful stepping stone from the experienced homebrewing stage to the local artisan brewery. Hepworth’s in Horsham brew for all kinds of labels other than their own (such as Ridgeway and Coniston), and also since 2009 they have brewed for Mitchell Krause, who are based a long way from Sussex in Workington, Cumbria.

    As with many ‘contractees’ the company is run by just one man – Graeme Mitchell, who for many years worked for Whitbread and Carlsberg. Turning his back on the mass-produced side of things, he combined his surname with that of his German-born mother and formed Mitchell Krause. You can tell he spent a number of years in the business, as rather than produce a range of session ales and Cumbrian bitters, Graeme decided to go down the more interesting (and commercial) route and put out a series of global beer styles – a Bavarian hefeweizen, a Czech pilsner, and an American Pale Ale.

    Mitchell Krause Czech Pilsner No 1 (4.2%)
    All of Graeme’s beers are faithful reproductions of the classic styles – his pilsner uses the spicy Saaz hops you’d expect. It certainly looks the part – an extremely clear golden pour, but there’s not much carbonation – only a thin lacing and little rising through the beer. Aromas are slightly floral and a bit fruity, on the palate it’s bitter with a touch of biscuit before the earthy pilsner flavours come through. The finish is a touch thin and soapy maybe, but as pilsners go, MKCPNo1 is a decent example.

    Mitchell Krause American Pale Ale No 2 (3.8%)
    Next up, an American Pale Ale – a 3.8% American Pale Ale at that. This one contains Target, Cascade and Willamette hops – and the nose certainly reveals the presence of the second of those. Fruity citrus aromas, very typical APA scents come from the hazy golden pour. Unfortunately, this is the highlight – on tasting there’s almost nothing going on. A mild hoppy start washes away very quickly without the punch of alcohol to back it up, and the whole thing finishes in a disappointing watery thinness.

    Mitchell Krause Bavarian Hefe Weiss No 3 (5.0%)
    The third offering is the pick of the bunch, however – possibly no co-incidence that it also has the highest abv. As with the others, it has a nice aroma – the typical sweet, banana, yeasty notes are really inviting. These all come through on the palate as well, together with a touch of pear and clove. With the yeast following into the finish it’s quite sweet, but never cloying – a great example of a weiss.

    Mitchell Krause website

    BeerCast #52 – Kernel Brewery Showcase

    We haven’t recorded a brewery showcase podcast for a while – April 2009 was the last one (when BeerCast #30 featured four beers from the Hebridean Brewery in Stornoway). Twenty-two podcasts later, our 52nd BeerCast also takes in the work of a single producer – the Kernel Brewery in south London. Back in August I managed to pay a visit to the Druid Street site under the Bermondsey railway arches where Evin O’Riordain has established one of London’s newest breweries. As an ex-homebrewer and ex-cheese maker Evin clearly knows how to produce some great flavours – his strong beers reflecting traditional styles are already winning awards, only a year since he started production. After spending a pleasant hour or so with Evin I came away with four beers for a Kernel Showcase. On the panel for today are Richard, MrB, Grooben and Shovels.

    1. Kernel Pale Ale (Centennial) (5.2%abv)
    The Kernel Brewery, Bermondsey, London.
    500ml glass bottle

    Evin’s first test brew was in July 2009, and his affinity with traditional British styles of beer couple with the influence of US craft breweries to yield some fascinating outcomes. As he explained to me, in the past year alone six new breweries have opened in London (which everyone acknowledges in tremendous news) – yet only a couple of them are seeking to do unusual or interesting things. Evin – who once produced a 6% mild – is clearly one of them, and we started the podcast with one of his stock pale ales, this one hopped with one of the three C’s – Centennial.

    What They Say
    “Crisp, clean, fresh. Pale golden colour. Aroma of grapefruit and elderflowers, tastes of citrus, grapefruit. Rounded juicy texture. Firm bitterness.” [Official Website]

    What We Say
    Shovels – Classic pale ale, I would definitely have pints of this
    Grooben – You can taste the US approach to this 8
    Richard – Tremendously drinkable, very hoppy and not too strong 8
    MrB – Smells good and tastes fantastic, very refreshing indeed 8

    2. Kernel India Pale Ale C.S.C. (7.1%abv)
    The Kernel Brewery, Bermondsey, London.
    330ml glass bottle

    One of the beers I sampled on my visit was this one – Evin’s punchy 7% IPA. The CSC stands for the included hops – Centennial, Simcoe and Chinook. Another thing I got to sample was a beer partway through production, another IPA – this one hopped with Citra (very definitely the hop du jour). Kernel IPA Citra + (6.2%) has since been released, it was at the dry-hopping stage during my visit. The small sample was the colour of English mustard, and an explosion of hops. As the Kernel facilities are so small, they (i.e. Evin – it’s totally a one-man operation) have a continually changing lineup, depending on what raw materials he’s managed to source.

    What They Say
    “American hops meet English malt. Burnished golden colour. Aromas of tropical fruits, hints of grass. The sweetness of the malt gives them the impression of fruit salad on the palate, juicy, then followed up with a big bitterness, with some pepper and spice.” [Official Website]

    What We Say
    MrB – Wow that’s good. Tastes strong but not 7%, it’s amazing 9
    Richard – That is a fantastic piney imperial IPA, outstanding 9
    Shovels – Starts off really bitter, which gives way to sweetness 8
    Grooben – Strong and quite heavy on the palate – but it’s not a hop monster 8

    3. Kernel Porter (6.1%abv)
    The Kernel Brewery, Bermondsey, London.
    500ml glass bottle

    There are plenty of dark beers on the Kernel’s portfolio – and three of them are porters. We picked up their 6.1% Kernel Porter for the podcast, but there’s also a 5.3% Kernel London Porter and a 7.3% Kernel Baltic Porter, depending on which recipe Evin has on the go. He was brewing a porter when I was there, and the fermentation tank had erupted overnight, covering the floor with a dark brown slick of sticky beer. This happens all the time, apparently, and he cleans up and carries on.

    What They Say
    “Porter 06.04.10. Made with water, malted barley, hops and yeast.” [Official Website]

    What We Say
    Richard – Sweet creamyness but it’s never too much, fantastic 8
    Shovels – Caramel, hop bitterness, coffee – there’s a lot going on 8
    Grooben – Sweetness goes through to burnt caramel and coffee 7
    MrB – I’m more a fan of the big-hitting imperial porters 7

    4. Kernel Export Stout (1890 London) (7.8%abv)
    The Kernel Brewery, Bermondsey, London.
    330ml glass bottle

    We finish the showcase with the strongest beer on the Kernel books – a resurrection of the defunct Truman Brewery’s export stout recipe. This beer won Evin his first gold medals – Best Bottled Porter and Best Bottled Beer at the July 2010 SIBA SE brewing awards. He told me his biggest problem is continuity – due to the small scale of his production facilities and irregularity of ingredients, recreating a brew is hard – making the same beer twice is tricky. As a result, the Export Stout that won the SIBA awards in July is subtly different to the one available today.

    What They Say
    “Simple recipe – massive taste. Dark, dark black. Oily texture. Loads of rich dried fruit and alcohol warmth, rum and raisin.” [Official Website]

    What We Say
    MrB – This is the best strong stout I’ve had for a long time 9
    Richard – I like the strength, it’s bitter but not a bitter bomb
    Grooben – A bit too abrasive for me, I like my stouts rounder 6
    Shovels – Good as an example of it’s type, but not for me 6

    – (clockwise from top left) Grooben, MrB, Shovels, Richard

    BeerCast panel verdict
    Kernel IPA C.S.C. (34/40)
    Kernel Pale Ale (Centennial) (32½/40)
    Kernel Porter (30/40)
    Kernel Export Stout (1890 London) (29½/40)

  • Listen to the episode here: BeerCast #52 – Kernel Brewery Showcase
  • Subscribe to the podcasts in iTunes or our Site Feed
  • Stay tuned for BeerCast #53, as we turn the presenting duties over to Grooben – he recently managed to source four schwartzbiers for a dark beer special. Look out for that, and thanks again to Evin O’Riordain for being such a genial host at his brewery.

    The Kernel Brewery is located at 98 Druid Street, London SE1 2HQ, with the entrance on Millstream Road under the railway bridge. They are open to the public every Saturday from 9am to 3pm for direct beer sales, and also distribute to Utobeer on Borough Market and several pubs and restaurants in London. Further afield, stock their beers for online sales.

    The Kernel Brewery website

    Whitstable Brewery showcase

    The famed Whitstable Oyster Festival is taking place at the moment, in the agreeable seaside town on the north Kent coast known throughout the country for it’s slippery bivalves. However, an outbreak of shellfish herpes virus has decimated the cultivated molluscs in the area, further punishing a beleaguered industry already suffering from reduced harvests. In a rather unfortunate piece of irony, the disease won’t directly affect the festival as most sold during the week-long celebration are imported from the Channel Islands – the oyster beds around the town just aren’t sustainable enough anymore. Recently the organisers were having to turn to the Pacific rock oyster beds sited on other parts of the Kent Coast – but these are the ones now dying from the virus. However the contingency plans to import them from further afield have been called into action to supply enough of the salty critters for people to slurp.

    Running alongside the main bivalve-related spectacular are other festivals – including one dedicated to beer. A couple of weeks ago I found myself in the town (in 30ºC heat, no less) and managed to pick up a six-pack of Whitstable Brewery ales. Owned by the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company the brewery is not actually based in the town, but 20-odd miles away near the small (but wonderfully named) village of Grafty Green. As the WOFC owns the hotel and bar on the seafront, they have a great outlet for their range of bottled and cask ales. I was particularly keen to try their 4.1% East India Pale Ale, but unfortunately neither the pub nor the restaurant had it on at the time, and I couldn’t get hold of the bottled version. But I did find a multipack of their other staples to take home…

    Whitstable Pilsner (4.9%)
    Pilsners seem to be a hot topic at the moment, and are prefect for the hot days of summer that seem to affect Kent far more than Scotland. Whitstable’s version of the style delivers very nicely, pouring a perfectly golden colour with mild carbonation and a brilliant clarity. There’s a slight aroma of hops but thankfully a much more interesting taste as the Saaz push their way to the fore. The bitterness is joined by a pleasing earthiness and a soft finish. As Bohemians go, it’s a pretty accomplished example.

    Whitstable Wheat ( 5.2%)
    The next style that came out of the box was their wheat beer, made in the Bavarian style. Right from the off it’s a classic, down the lines wheat beer – massively carbonated, with a furiously dispersing head. I counted down two inches of frothing to nothing in twenty seconds, which is quite something. A hazy orange, golden pale colour, the staple wheat beer aromas of banana, citrus and coriander are evident. The taste is bitter at first, with a sweet wheaty aftertaste and a touch of alcohol – almost spoiled by the burstingly fizzy mouthfeel, reminiscent of a sparkling wine. But it’s pretty good Weiss all considered.

    Raspberry Wheat (5.2%)
    Fruit comes next as the third beer in the box is Raspberry Wheat (there are one of each of the wheats, two each of the others). Pouring a deep cloudy red colour, it smells jam-like, with some sweetness. There are raspberry flavours but it’s pretty subtle stuff, the gentle fruit flavours never really come to the fore like you hope they will. After a slight burst at the beginning, they fade into a dry finish that peters out into little else.

    Whitstable Oyster Stout (4.5%)
    There’s no way any self-respecting brewery from Whitstable could get away with not putting out an oyster stout, considering the town’s (and drink’s) long association with the bivalves. Oysters have long been served as humble tavern food, and so were often paired with the original darker styles of beer in the UK. After WWII some brewers began adding the molluscs to the brewing process, when the craze for stouts as a health drink (‘Guinness is good for you’ etc) hit it’s peak. Whitstable’s version doesn’t contain the shellfish, they just recommend the pairing.

    As you’d expect, it’s very black, totally opaque, and with the attractive tan-coloured head a stout should sport. There’s a dark roasty aroma which follows into the taste, which then moves through into an almost tangy aftertaste, which is very dry. There are hints of coffee, and something almost like salt – making me wonder if there are actually some of the little fellas in there. Without much sweetness to offset these dark, dry flavours it almost becomes a bit much after a while – but it’s worth persevering with, and would certainly complement a plate of oysters very well (if I ate them, that is – having previously studied commercial shellfish parasitology I lost my love for bivalves…)

    Whitstable Brewery website
    Whitstable Oyster Festival 2010

    Hobson’s Choice

    Oddbins are not usually known for their beer sales, having become an established name on the UK high street due to their wines – but maybe that’s starting to change. The closure of some of their competing chains (Threshers, Wine Rack) has meant it more likely grain fans will turn up trying to find something to their liking, along with all the grape already on offer. Recently what looked like an entire brewery range stared back at me from the shelves of a local outlet, and a previously unknown producer at that – Hobson’s Ales, from Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire. Four in total, I bought one of each and retired for some sampling, to put them through their paces.

    Manor Ale (4.2%)
    The bottles look quite classic in style, each one a single bold colour. The first, Manor Ale, is described as a Bitter Amber Ale, brewed to celebrate the Severn Valley Railways Manor Class steam engines. It pours very flat, with a deep dark orange colour. The aroma is extremely bitter, none of the citrus zest mentioned on the label tasting notes comes through at all. Earthy bitterness on the palate, with some hops following. I’m quite a fan of bitter beers, and this is certainly a bitter amber ale as described. There’s a very dry, almost acrid aftertaste, which may put some drinkers off.

    Old Henry (5.2%)
    This one is a Rich Auburn Ale, and is the strongest of the lot at 5.2%. It’s named after the ex-master brewer Henry Hobson, who liked to sport a bowler hat of the style originally favoured by gamekeepers rather than City gents. It’s an opaque dark red rather then the advertised chestnut in colour, with a malty aroma. Tastewise it’s drinkable but for me was a bit empty and overly sweet. I drank this on a different night to the Manor Ale, so my tastebuds were unaffected! It looks and tastes quite light for it’s malty background.

    Town Crier (4.5%)
    Golden Ales are ubiquitous now in British brewing, which in my mind is a good thing. Town Crier is Hobson’s offering in that category, and as with their other beers the slight haziness hangs in the glass, but it doesn’t spoil the light straw colour of the beer. The smell is fantastic, crisp fruit – almost a hint of apple in there. As you’d expect, it’s pretty refreshing, and is slightly sweet for a Golden Ale, it leans away from the dry end of the spectrum – I imagine it would be tremendous on cask. My only quibble would be that the bottle has a black label, instead of…

    Postman’s Knock (4.8%)
    …their porter, Postman’s Knock, which is pinky beige – and therefore maybe more suited to the Manor Ale. Then the Golden Ale could be green! Anyway, that’s by the by – the last one is thick and dark, with aromas of malt and chocolate. The ripe, juicy smell is tremendous, and the taste really follows on well. Rich, treacly warmth and molasses – it’s a great example of a dark ruby porter, with aromas similar to Theakston’s Old Peculier, and that slight smokiness akin to Sinclair Orkney Dark Island, which is one of my all-time favourites.