We sometimes struggle to see the appeal of Hall & Woodhouse, aka Badger, but they’ve been experimenting quite a lot recently, so there’s often something new to try.
Harvester’s Ale is mere 2.5%, and I’ve been interested in trying it for a while for that reason. To combat the sweet, watery flavour you get with low-alcohol beer, the brewers have added plenty of hops, and the result is very drinkable. It’s almost lager-like in its fizziness, but really not bad at all. The kind of thing you might down a pint of as your first beer after work, before getting onto the proper stuff. Would probably be good at summer barbecues, too. There was a slight acrid flavour somewhere at the back but that might well be because a beer this weak is even less capable than others of standing up to the fluorescent lights and variable temperatures of the local corner shop. If you want a second opinion, Melissa Cole reviewed it here.
At the other end of the strength scale, Poacher’s Choice (5.7%) is made with liquorice and damson. Its wonderful fruity aroma filled the room as soon as we opened the bottle. The fruitiness is not “subtle” as the bottle claims. In fact, we would classify this as a fruit beer, in the same territory as JW Lees’ Plum Pudding. The fruit is fairly well-balanced with the spice and the hops, though. In all honesty, we couldn’t drink much more than a pint of it — it is a bit rich and sickly — but it’s definitely an interesting beer, and well worth trying if you see it.