Shepherd Neame Amber Ale

18 01 2011

Amber Ale is a 4.0%  seasonal ale from the  Shepherd Neame brewery in Faversham, Kent.

The Beer was launched in early 2009 as a winter warmer and has been available in January and February in 2010 and again in 2011.

Amber Ale is available as a cask ale however the two pints I had most recently were bought bottled as part of the Lidl Beer Festival which just seems to be an excuse to shift a whole bunch of Shepherd Neame beers as the other choices were Bishop’s Finger, Spitfire, 4-4-2 and Autumn Blaze – not that I am going to complain at €1.49 a bottle!

As the name would suggest Amber Ale pours to a very clear coppery/amber colour with a very thin white head that vanishes away rather quickly. Within a minute or two of the beer being poured there is very little if any visible sign of carbonation suggesting that it might be quite soft in that regard.

The main aromas from the beer are citrus, some fruitiness and hops, LOTS of hops, I found this a little odd as a I would expect a beer billed as being a winter warmer to have a bit more richness to it, maybe a bit more sweetness and perhaps even a touch of spice…

The taste of the beer followed on pretty closely from what I could smell; there was quite a bit of citrus and some fruit – possibly apples married with a big hit of fragrant hops.

There is supposed to be a blend of pale, crystal and brown malts added which I would have thought would add a certain depth and richness to the beer but I have to say I only picked up the slightest hint of malt whatsoever.

The body is rather on the light side and matches the ABV which is a little on the low side for this particular style of beer which more often comes in over the 5% mark.

I didn’t find that this beer put me much in mind of a winter warmer, it just seemed a little too light and lacking in flavour and could have used quite a bit more malt to balance out the hopping. That said I did actually quite like it, I could easily imagine myself enjoying several pints in a sunny beer garden.

3.8/5





Shepherd Neame 1698 6.5% strong ale

7 11 2010

 1698 is a strong ale from the Kent based Sheperd Neame Brewery; Sheperd Neame are the UK’s oldest brewery dating back to 1698, although there is some evidence to suggest that it could be far older, possibly dating back to 1525.

My first memories of 1698 are as a 10.5% special released to mark the tri-centenary of Sheperd Neame, it was then re-released as 1698 celebration ale before eventually ending up as regular 1698 about 5 years back.

There is a fairly strong aroma to 1698 in particular I can pick up flowers, wood and alcohol as being the main notes with a biscuity, citrus undertone. It is a really nicely balanced aroma that serves as a nice invitation to dive right in.

The beer pours to a rich clear honey colour with barely a fingers width of off white head that stays reasonably well for the duration of the pint leaving a nice amount of lacing  on the way.

The flavour of 1698 is also nicely balanced, there is a long sweet start that ends in a crisp bitter finish. You can pick up hints of some summer fruits and citrus but mostly you get a nice biscuity maltiness with a touch of caramel and some crisp hops coming through.

If I have one criticism of 1698 it is that I personally feel that it could do with a bit more punch in terms of body particularly as the a.b.v  is quite high.

4.3/5

kent based, uk’s oldest continual brewer, hop fields in kent strong ale, thrice hopped, its generally ok, remember it as a special at 10.5% for the 400 years anniversary








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