Abbot Ale – 5% English Ale

13 12 2010

Abbot Ale is Greene King’s flagship beer and is also one of the first real ales that I ever had the pleasure of trying back in the day.

As such it is probably a little surprising that it has taken me quite so long to work my way round to writing a review on this particular beer.

I guess the biggest reason is that of choice; there are so many other beers out there and I am so keen to try them all (ambitious I know!) that if I am out in the pub I will drink pretty much anything before I consider heading for an Abbot, likewise if I am in an off-license there are literally hundreds of bottles that would come home with me first.

First things first let me state that this is a cask pint from the Hamilton Hall at Liverpool Street Station. It is NOT – note the capital letters –  from one of these cans with a widget in. I don’t really like most ales in a can and Abbot is no exception.

When poured properly, not like my first pint that was slopped into the glass whilst the barmaid was chatting to her friend, you should see a clear golden/amber pint with a decent white head of about 2 fingers width which slowly fades away to a thin layer which stays throughout.

You can quite clearly make out the smell of malts, some fruity sweetness and a touch of hops but everything is fairly muted with no one aroma standing out from the crowd.

The first flavour that really hits you is a sweet toasted maltiness but before that can start to seem a bit too much you get the hops kicking in, there are some floral notes and a slight Earthiness – some have even said it seems a bit skunky on occasion. After the hops have started to recede a little you get the bitterness of the beer coming through along with a slight hint of citrus/orange  as well.

The flavours in Abbot ale are all quite crisp, strong and well-defined the only slight issue that I have is that everything is a little bit mish-mash and all over the shop, for example there is a fairly distinct cinder toffee note that you get right towards the end of the beer and because there is nothing around to balance it or cut through it you are left with a slightly burnt after taste. Not unpleasant by any standards but possibly a little disconcerting to some.

I have an old friend who always accuses me of being more complementary of Abbot Ale than I should be as a result of it being one of my first real ales. He might have a point but then again sod him,  there is something to be said for flavours or smells that take us back to a certain time or place and if Abbot Ale does that for me then so be it!

When all is said and done I still  have my original problem with Abbot; it is a good beer, there is nothing about it that is unpleasant or even less than pleasing but it isn’t a great beer – I wouldn’t ask for a pint to be bought to me on my death-bed.

If you are looking for a good example of an English Ale than Abbot will see you just fine but there are better beers to be had.

4.0/5

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Shed of the year 2010…

24 11 2010

A sheddie from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, has won Shed of the Year 2010 after beating off competition from 1,250 shed-lovers. Reg Miller’s pirate-themed shed, ‘The Lady Sarah out of Worthing’ named after his partner, was judged best shed in the competition sponsored by Cuprinol Sprayable and comes complete with a Koi Carp pond and even a parrot!

The judging panel, including Sarah Beeny and ‘Head Sheddie’ and creator of readersheds.co.uk Uncle Wilco , commented: “Reg shows that a perfect shed sums up the personality of the individual that created and uses it. The pirate atmosphere is superbly evoked throughout and underlines that when it comes to creativity, sheddies have it in spades.”

The man of the moment himself  had this to say: “I’ve spent years working on my shed and to win Shed of the Year 2010 is a real thrill – it’s the ultimate accolade for shed owners! It’s still a work in progress, as I’m constantly adding to my collection of pirate memorabilia and props and the shed is slowly but surely taking over the whole garden.

It’s become a real talking point in the area and since I entered it in the competition, I’ve had loads of really positive comments from sheddies around the globe – it really seems to have caught everyone’s imagination! Funnily enough, I’ll be spending my winnings repairing my decking at the top of the garden! It has recently collapsed and I really want to spruce it up again so that I can use it for the summer and yes, I will be using Cuprinol products!”

Reg bagged himself £1000 cash and a boatload of shed care products courtesy of competition sponsors  Cuprinol.

This sort of thing could only be from Britain; it captures the slightly strange eccentricity that we as a nation seem to thrive on. I mean seriously where else in the world would a happily married man be able to get away with converting his back garden into some sort of pirate themed fantasy land…

I have long been an admirer of all things shed and have made most people in my life well aware of the fact that one day I too will be sitting in a small wooden box at the bottom of the garden oohing and aahing over my collection of assorted detritus  as I lovingly catalogue it.

 





Fuller’s London Pride – English Pale Ale

22 11 2010

fullers london prideLondon Pride is Fuller’s flagship beer and has to go down as being one of the best examples of an English pale ale.

It is widely available on cask in the south of England and is one of the most commonly encountered bottled real ales that you can find, you can even find it on British Airways and American Airlines flights!

The cask version of London pride comes in at 4.1% ABV whilst the bottled version is slightly more alcoholic at 4.7% .  Personally I prefer my London Pride from the cask but there is really very little difference between the two.

The aroma that you get from London Pride is primarily malty with a suggestion of fresh bread, there is a slight note of hoppiness that comes through in the background along with a hint of toffee which adds a pleasant sweetness.

When poured there is a rather thin off white head, about 2 fingers worth, that lasts well and provides a fair amount of lacing. The body of the beer is a  clear amber colour that just sparkles when the light hits it.

 Following on from the dominant aromas of the beer the first flavour that you notice is a rich biscuit taste coming from the malt along with the toffee sweetness some buttery caramel and a light fruitiness.

The hopping in London Pride is great, there is a good level of bitterness that perfectly balances with the rich malts and helps to cut through the sweetness the leafy hop flavour is refreshing and carries through to the finish.

London Pride has a nice well rounded feel to it with a medium body, good carbonation and a wonderful smoothness to it, the flavours are complex and layered with everything working together perfectly.

A truly outstanding beer

4.9/5








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