beer reviews

Skinner's Coronaish/Cornish Lager


Skinner’s of Truro are becoming oddly ubiquitous in pubs around the UK. Their flagship beer, Betty Stoggs Bitter, turns up in our local in London from time to time. They’ve got a vast range of beers covering a whole gamut of styles (honey beer, old ale, wheat beer and so on) none of which have ever really impressed us much. But we just couldn’t resist trying their brilliantly cheeky Corona clone, Skinner’s Cornish Lager.

Billed as a “light lager”, it’s clearly American inspired, and even uses American hops. The clear 330ml bottle makes the specific inspiration very plain: a certain bland Mexican beer usually served with lime.

True to its inspiration, it was horribly skunked and more-or-less flavourless. And, yes, it was improved by a slice of lime chucked in the glass.

So, not a great beer, but surely a great way to take a slice of the market otherwise lost to license-brewed rubbish. After all, it’s just not practical to sling a few bottle-conditioned ales in a bag and take them to the beach. For one thing, they’ll get shook up. For another, you can’t drink them from the bottle. And — the final nail in the coffin — they just don’t look cool.

PS – could this be a late session post?

beer reviews bottled beer

Cornwall and beer on the train


We’ve just returned from a week in Cornwall, in the far south west of England, so expect a few posts in the coming days on our beery adventures around St Ives.

We got the week off to a good start on the train from London last Saturday with a few bottles of Marks and Spencer’s relatively new Cornish IPA.

We were pleased to see that the supermarket chain are now crediting the brewers of their own-brand bottle-conditioned beers on the labels (we  beer geeks like to know where our booze is coming from) and that this is a product of St Austell.

We guessed it would be a rebadge of their brilliant bottle conditioned Proper Job, but it’s not. It’s weaker (5% as opposed to 5.6%) and also has a lighter body and drier finish. It’s much closer, in fact, to cask conditioned Proper Job. We thought it was delicious. One of the best bottled beers we’ve had in a long while.

Thanks, St Austell and M&S, for a great start to our break.

beer reviews

Chalky's Bite Improves with Age


In a recent tasting, Zak Avery compared Sharp’s Chalky’s Bite to Koelsch, which spurred us on to open the last bottle of a case we were given as a gift a year ago. In Zak’s honour, we drank it from Koelsch glasses.

We pretty quickly decided that we didn’t really see any similarity although we take Zak’s point about the cold conditioning of top-fermented beer.

What we also noted was that it had aged beautifully. It was nice enough fresh, but after a year mellowing in the ‘cellar’ (garage), it knocked us for six. Without a fresh one for comparison, it’s hard to say what had changed, but our feeling was that it had lost some bitterness, become rounder and less brash — like a classy Belgian blonde.

We’d be interested to hear any suggestions for other British beers, apart from the usual suspects, that age well.