Pleasant Surprise from Greene King

We didn’t have high hopes for a non-bottle-conditioned Greene King beer in a clear bottle, but Suffolk Springer (6%) is actually very decent.

Our bottle wasn’t skunked (luck of the draw?) and the beer was as dark and luscious as any Belgian dubbel. There was sweet, milky chocolate to start, followed by cherries, dates and Christmas pudding. It was also a touch sour which suggests to us that there’s a slug of something complex in the blend. Turns out we were right — it’s blended with some of their famous 5X old ale.

So, thanks to Bailey’s dad for the tip and the gift!

Goes to show you should never write off any brewery altogether.

Here’s what Des de Moor thought; and a slightly Gothic review at the Bottled Beer Year.

Greene King’s London Whatever

Greene King sign

We don’t tend to drink in Greene King pubs so it took us a while to catch up on this latest cynical marketing exercise from the Bury St Edmunds boys — their beer with London in the name, whatever it is.

“Hey guys, we really need to be making the most of our London real estate. We should brew something really bland, call it London Something, and flog it to innocent tourists who don’t know any better.”

It’s like Greene King IPA but worse.

File under “Things not to miss about London”, although we look forward to Greene King Cornish Gold in a pub near us soon.

Greene King Sundance

The Garrick Arms (photo by EwanM, from Flickr)
The Garrick Arms (photo by EwanM, from Flickr)

Every now and then, we have to accept that the choice of venue isn’t up to us. That’s why, last Saturday night, we found ourselves standing outside Britain’s least characterful pub, the Garrick Arms on Charing Cross Road, trying to enjoy a pint of Greene King Sundance.

At first, we were just pleased to find something on offer other than GK IPA, Abbot and Old Speckled Hen, and it did taste fresh. But, by God, this is a boring, derivative beer.

It’s a production-line, by-numbers ‘refreshing summer ale’, which is to say that it’s got far too much sickly hop and honey aroma, no bitterness, and is a bit yellower than a normal ale.

Like drinking an air freshener.

Of course, our bad mood wasn’t helped by the fact that someone in the flat above the pubs was throwing eggs at people in the street, and that a tramp tried to steal our chum’s birthday presents.

The West End on Saturday night is a joy.

GK Sundance is 4.1% and is part of their new range of seasonal beers. It’s on massive discount in our local Sainsburys if, for some reason, you’re desperate to try it. Other bland yellow summer ales may be available.

Photo by EwanM at Flickr, under a Creative Commons license.