beer reviews

Hitting the stash

Autumn seems to have struck all of a sudden – it’s windy and wet and there are an alarming number of leaves on the ground for August.  It meant that for the first time for ages, we fancied a night in with the stash.

We’ve collected quite a few odd beers. You know the type — you think they’ll be interesting but not necessarily nice, so you don’t get round to drinking them.  First up was the notorious Speedball, by Brewdog, which sounded foul from the description (kola nut, guarana, poppy, c-hops and honey) but was actually very pleasant.  For all the look-at-me-I’m-contraversial marketing, it tasted like a nice, non-extreme American Amber ale.  Maybe some of the extreme flavours had mellowed over time?  Speedball is now called “Dogma”, by the way.

Next up was Ginger Tom by Robinson’s, a mix of their Old Tom and Fentiman’s ginger ale.  This 6.5% strong ale didn’t quite work – too much ginger and not enough Old Tom, making it fizzy and overpowering.  You could see what they were trying to do though, because the aftertaste was really nice, like gingerbread.

Expecting those two to be weird and undrinkable, we’d also laid out Temptation, a “Russian stout” from the Durham Brewery.  Can you go wrong with a 10% imperial stout that says “best between September 2007 and September 2012”?  No.  It’s great, with loads of comforting flavours – vanilla, chocolate, coffee, liquorice, sherry.  One to savour and our beer of the week.

beer reviews

Ginger Marble at the Duke of Cambridge

Tandleman often writes about the Marble Arch, a brewpub in Manchester. It sounds like a fabulous place, so we were very excited to see “Ginger Marble” on tap at the Duke of Cambridge.

I’m a big fan of ginger in beer, if done well, and this was done incredibly well.  Really zingy and alive, but definitely full-bodied beer with ginger in it, rather than sickly-sweet ginger pop.  It’s even better than the Leatherbritches one we enjoyed in Oxford a few months back.

It’s not to everyone’s taste (oops — missed the key part where Alex described it as ‘brilliant’).

It certainly doesn’t go with smoked fish.

We reviewed the Duke of Cambridge last May, and we’ve been back several times since.  We like it, but it’s not bloody cheap.