To be honest, I wasn’t expecting very much from a beer with the uber-generic name “Master Brew’ and costing only £1 per bottle, but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by this offering from Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame. I was in for a very pleasant surprise, therefore! This 4% ABV light amber coloured ale pours with a lively light head that settles quickly but lasts well. There’s a strong hoppy aroma, with a well-rounded but complex flavour that has a slightly dry bitterness layered over a light, malty base with hints of ginger nuts and lemons. £1 well spent, I’d say.
Tag Archives: Neame
As we’re officially into Spring, and this bottle has been sitting on the shelf for some weeks, now’s a good time to try Shepherd Neame’s Early Bird Spring hop ale. And what a difference a day makes! Superficially this beer looks very similar to the Ferryman’s Gold that I tried yesterday, but beyond the 4.5% ABV, there’s no similarity whatsoever. Early Bird claims to take its name form the nature of the hops that it uses, and the result is very good indeed. The ale is a bright golden colour (compare with the dull appearance of the Ferryman’s Gold) , and there’s a lovely creamy head that lasts really well. The smell is fragrant, slightly floral, with plenty of grapefruit. There’s a dry, fruity, flavour, reminding me almost of almost burnt oranges, balancing the hops and malt well. This is a very enjoyable beer and was well worth the wait.
It’s hard to believe that this Christmas Ale comes from the same Shepherd Neame brewery as Rudolf’s Reward. This 7.0% ABV is everything that Rudolf’s Reward is not!. This true Christmas Ale is a bright amber colour with a head that lasts reasonably well. It smells of an intoxicating blend of preserved fruit, ginger and spice, The taste is of a complex of treacle, malt, and dried fruit (probably soaked in brandy!). This is a wonderful brew and very highly recommended if you can find some still on the shelves of your local store!
Rudolf’s Reward is one of Shepherd Neame’s Christmas 2012 brews and claims to have a 4.0% ABV. The first thing to notice once the bottle is opened is the fizz. It pours with a light creamy-coloured head, and the beer itself is a light tea colour. The bottle claims a spicy, fruity nose, and it does have a faintly spicy smell to it. The bottle claims that the taste is fruity and spicy, and once the hoppy first taste dies away, what endures is a slightly spicy flavour. The problem is that that’s all there is: it is a very one-dimensional experience. A winter/Christmas ale should really have more substance
The first thing to notice about Shepherd Neame’s Spooks Ale is the colour, a deep golden brown (not the ruby red advertised on the bottle!), and the dark cream-coloured head. It has a fragrant smell, combining floral, spicy and biscuity tones (the latter was as advertised on the bottle!). And the spicy promise is carried through to the taste, which is complex, rounded and not a little buttery to my mind. It’s the sort of flavour I’d normally expect from an ale with an ABV rather higher than the 4.7% advertised. All in all, a very enjoyable beer.