Category Archives: Pale Ale

Brass Castle Sunshine India Pale Ale

2013-07-14 19.20.15

So from the village of Tockwith just to the west of York, my mini tour of Yorkshire breweries takes me to Pocklington to the south and east of that city, and the Brass Castle Brewery.

The bottle tells me that Brass Castle is a nano brewery and like others that I’ve acquired, Sunshine India Pale Ale is bottle conditioned (so I made a mental note to pour carefully).

This 5.7% ABV light ale is a light copper colour and pours without any discernible head (so once poured, this ale as it quietly bubbles away resembles a glass of a well-known and traditional energy drink).  There’s a faintly floral and fruity aroma, and the flavour is a surprise:  orange with hints of caramel, almost sweet, with a bitterness that hits the tongue only after all the other flavours have made their presence known.

This has been an interesting experience, and I’ve got three more beers to try from this small Yorkshire brewery. Can’t wait.

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Posted by on July 14, 2013 in Pale Ale


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Teme Valley This

2013-05-18 18.13.13

Teme Valley’s This is a 3.7% ABV light ale.  It’s a typical light brown colour and smells, to be honest, of very little.  The flavour, as this kind of beer goes, is `ok’ – maybe a little bland.  If I was drinking this in a pub by the pint, I’d probably be quite happy.  But I wouldn’t go out of my way to try this again – there are so many other great beers around.


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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Pale Ale


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Chiltern Brewery Anniversary Ale

2013-04-14 16.33.13

This is another ale that I’m returning to, having previously reviewed it less than fully, though this is possibly the last time that I’ll be able to review Chiltern Brewery’s Anniversary Ale.  It’s a limited edition beer, brewed in 2010 to mark the 30th anniversary of the first Chiltern Ale from the eponymous brewery, bought from a local supplier long since gone.

It claims to be a ‘champagne ale’, and the first impression is of a champagne shaped bottle that opens with a satisfying pop as a result of the plastic stopper beneath the conventional cap. The ale is obviously rather darker than champagne (a sparkling amber colour), and the aroma is floral with undertones of caramel.  The head lasts extremely well, and, whether because of the age of beer or deliberately, needs to be poured with care because of the sediment that has accumulated at the bottom of the bottle. The first sip of this 6.1% ABV ale is also reminiscent of a champagne, a little biscuity with a very slightly dry and bitter flavour, but this is once again followed the sweeter notes of caramel and biscuit.

This is a very accomplished ale that absolutely stands up to the ‘champagne’ label, needs to be savoured without the distraction of food, and is an wonderfully appropriate way to celebrate a significant brewing heritage at Chiltern Brewery.

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Posted by on April 14, 2013 in Pale Ale, Strong


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Adnams Explorer

2013-03-09 20.01.58

Adnams Explorer recommends that it be served chilled, so I gave it a try.  Explorer is a light coloured ale with a strong white head and a citrous aroma that’s redolent of elderflower and gratefruit.  There’s a hint of burnt orange and toast about the flavour that starts out quite subtly, but blooms into a delightful richness and depth.  To be honest, I’m not sure that my enjoyment was particularly enhanced by the chilling of the beer, but each to their own!  It’s a beer that would work well on its own on a warm summer’s evening, or with a pizza or possibly fish.

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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Pale Ale


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Adnams Sole Star

2013-02-23 18.06.45

I wasn’t sure what to expect of Sole Star given its ABV of just 2.7%, but I think that I’m going to enjoy it rather more than I expected.  The amber colour is not as light as the label led me to believe, and there’s a lively head that quickly settles.  I don’t normally place a lot of store by the description of the ale printed on the label, but on this occasion it’s pretty accurate:  the ale does have a floral aroma (though I personally can’t detect the promised citrus notes), and yes, there’s definitely a caramel flavour too.  This is a very pleasant and satisfying beer made all the more enjoyable for knowing that it’s actually rather healthier than most ales that I review.  It would go very well with almost any meal.


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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Low alcohol, Pale Ale


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Adnam’s Ghost Ship

2013-02-02 17.50.31

My bottle of Adnams Ghost Ship had a cloudy, slightly orange colour with a head that slowly dissipates. It claims to be a ghostly pale ale, so maybe the colour is inspired by a movie called ‘The Fog’!  If I’d been served a pint like this in a pub and it wasn’t a wheat beer, I’d probably ask for it to be replaced.  The smell is fruity – maybe peaches and apricot, and the taste is far from unpleasant:  a toasty malty flavour that’s well balanced with lemony flavours from the Citra hops.  This 4.5% ABV pale ale would work well on a warm day with a ploughman’s lunch.

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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Pale Ale


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Wychwood Wychcraft

2013-01-26 20.09.23

Wychcraft claims to be a blonde beer, and reinforces my expectation of something quite continental by adding ‘Biere Blonde’.  So it’s a little darker in colour than I had expected, but still a crystal clear light amber colour, with a head that dissipates quickly.  The flavour is light and refreshing, with hints of toffee and butter.  This is a beer that would go down well on  a warm summer’s day with a ploughman’s lunch.  Not the most characterful of Wychwood’s ales.  For the record, the ABV is 4.5%.

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Posted by on January 27, 2013 in Blonde, Pale Ale


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Adnams Lighthouse

2013-01-19 18.41.03

I’ve reviewed this beer once before, without reaching a firm view, so I thought that I’d have another go!

Adnams Lighthouse is a pale tea coloured ale with an almost creamy and fairly decent head.  It’s hard to comment on the smell because it hardly has one, and there’s quite a long, hoppy after-taste, though not a lot of complexity to it.  Lighthouse has an ABV of just 3.4%, so it’s designed as a light beer (I guess that the clue is in the name), and it is exactly what it says on the bottle.   It claims to have been developed from Adnams’ award-winning Champion Pale Ale, by the Brewery of the Year 2011, though in my humble opinion, this is not a champion beer.  Nothing much to object to, though that’s not the strongest of recommendations.

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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Pale Ale


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Badger England’s Own

2012-12-15 22.05.05

As noted previously, Badger England’s Own seems to be a differently branded version of England’s Gold. The ale has a colour that is on the slightly amber side of golden, with a head the lasts well. There’s a pleasant yeastiness to the smell – a little like a bread dough – but beyond that there are definite floral overtones. It is a light flavoured beer, with a hint of a sweet apple, and maybe a faint suggestion of lemon too. With a 4.6% ABV, it’s perfectly drinkable if you can find any, but I wouldn’t lose any sleep if you can’t.


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Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Pale Ale


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Marston’s Pedigree

2012-12-09 18.34.09

This is my second attempt to review Marston’s Pedigree.  The first time I tried, I left it an hour or two between drinking and attempting to review the ale, and couldn’t remember anything about it!  Pedigree claims to be a classic English pale ale, created in a ‘Cathedral of Brewing’, and to be the Official Beer of England.  So it promises a lot.  It’s a light tea colour, with a faint toasty nose.  It has a fairly sweet taste that is followed up by a light bitterness.  It’s the sort of beer that I could quite happily drink on a night out with friends, but for a beer that promises so much, it really under-delivers on flavour.  It weighs in at an equally bland 4.5% ABV, and at the time it was purchased, was selling for £1 a bottle in Sainsburys.

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Posted by on December 9, 2012 in Pale Ale


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