VOLTAGE

BREWER: Fiftytwo North (Woodforde’s Brewery), Norfolk, England

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 330ml tin

TWITTER: @WoodfordesBeer

INSTAGRAM: woodfordesbeer

DATE OF POST: 1st July 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

See, from an idle glance I thought this tin was quite cool, but it’s not. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and the electricity burst down at the bottom of the tin to go along with our name, VOLTAGE, is frankly laughable it is so dated. I’m going to move onto the nose and taste shortly, but I just wanted to put over a tiny bit of positivity first. Voltage as a beer name is cracking, really good, but I am afraid the beer quality does not follow in line. Not even close.

The nose is metallic, forced and artificial. The taste is metallic, forced and artificial. This is a poor beer and feels like a bit of a stocking / Beer 52* box filler to me. That’s it. Bye.

 

 

*this brew was not purchased via Beer 52. That was just a blatant dig at their predominantly poor offerings.

 

 

Bye again.

 

 

 

 

Bye.

Jymi’s Rating: 28%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

So, with a name like Voltage, should we be prepared to be shocked? Sorry, I could not resist. 

Anyway, Voltage is a craft IPA. I’m not going to launch into my usual muttering about the crowded market in which it sits (ok, I just did via the side door). 

Straight up, there are two distinct differences to what you might ordinarily expect. Firstly, the colour is not hazy or light. It’s more amber almost like a golden ale.  The second point is that the nose is not tropical or fruity; it’s more malty.  Now, Woodforde’s Brewery describe the nose as floral and pine (along with the usual suspects for a modern IPA). I have to say that I didn’t get that at all. If it’s there, it must be very subtle. 

Let’s sup in to find out what’s going on…

Voltage is different. It has a well-balanced hoppy flavour that is not too overpowering. In the background some light fruitiness does come through and all in all it makes for a pleasant drink. The length of the taste is good. 

Although the shocks weren’t too severe, I’d happily have another Voltage. 

Sammy’s Rating: 74%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 51%

MOB review next weekend: RAINBOW SHERBET SOUR by GWEILO BEER

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SMALL BEER LAGER

BREWER: Small Beer Brew Co., South-East London, England 

STYLE: Lager 

ABV: 2.1%

VESSEL: 350ml brown bottle 

TWITTER: @origsmallbeer

INSTAGRAM: originalsmallbeer

DATE OF POST: 26th June 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

A 2.1% Lager you say?

Errr, ok then…

Here goes…

Lid lifted and I have to say a smile was put on my face instantly. The aroma of old skool French stubbies hoofed it up me hooter before the beer had even left the rather quirky 350ml bottle. This immediately took me back to my early teenaged years when one first starts to get into beer, apparently.

What a positive start to a beer that I have to admit I was not holding out much hope for.

Once poured the nose was still there and kicking and the brew looked pretty decent in the glass.

First sip was a large one as I wanted to give this beer a chance and I have to say my eyes lit up once more. A note in CAPITALS went into my tasting book…

THIS COULD EASILY BE 4%

And it could be. Hats off to the Small Brewing Company for pulling off not only what they intended but also what I did not think was possible! A decent tasting lager at a very low ABV.

I then had to calm myself down a little as needed to score this sucker.

Whether a beer is 2% or 12% you have to score it as you taste it and even though this offering today is FANTASTIC for a 2.1% Lager it only makes it into the good bracket over all. However, that is no mean feat with such a low percentage so once again a huge hats off to this brewery for daring to be different, finding a brewery USP and nailing it.

Jymi’s Rating: 61%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

The concept: beers brewed with a very low ABV. This one from the Small Beer Company is a lager and its alcohol percentage is 2.1%. I know, it’s only 2.1%. 

The question has to be asked: how much beeriness is compromised (if any at all) in their quest to fulfil their mission of low alcohol beers?

Well, first up, it smells like a lager, which is a good start. And then the first sip is promising; that well known lager flavour washes over the tongue bringing hope of greatness. But then it all fades away into watery nothingingness. 

The thing is this isn’t a bad beer. It’s good. It achieves what it sets out to do. And I would definitely be reaching for more of these in the right situation.  It absolutely delivers on its USP. It’s just when you rate it on its beer credibility, it will come out lower that it’s counterparts because there is not enough alcohol to carry those notes. 

Still, I recommend giving one of Small Beer’s offerings a go. They’ll be a talking point that’s for sure. 

Sammy’s Rating: 61%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 61%

MOB review next weekend: VOLTAGE by FIFTYTWO NORTH

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ALFA WEISS

BREWER: Alfa, Egaleo, Greece

STYLE: Weiss Beer 

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 0.5l tin

TWITTER: N/A

INSTAGRAM: N/A

DATE OF POST: 19th June 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Confusion was running riot in Jymi’s noodle the second Sammy handed me this beer to put under our MOB reviewing noses.

The first thing that set the brain scramble in motion was the fact the tin is upside down. What? Now, there is a nice little intertwined arrow image on the tin art that suggests that this is not just a canning error. It is intentional. The fact all our tin facts are in Greek also clearly added to the confusion but that is my own fault. What really hit me hard in the ‘brain compartment’ was which way up to store this crafty little pup. Even once researched and Sammy confirming how to store, I still had a double take every time I saw Alpha stashed in the beer fridge…

Is it supposed to be upside down? Should I call Sam AGAIN to make sure? What the f is going on? were the daily thoughts and I have to be honest I’m not even sure now. But we are where we are.

Anyway, can cracked and I’m sure you’ll be able to see from the pic, this beer looks AWESOME in the glass!! Plus, the instant almost spicy apricot nose that hit’s you is just a joy.

Swig wise the flavours are great, it slips down very easily and I don’t think this brew would become too much or too heavy so many points awarded here.

HOWEVER: The body ends up being thin very quickly and the aftertaste is so light it is practically non existent if I’m being honest.

There were plenty of marks handed out here but ultimately Alpha has been let down from the severe lack of body. With a few tweaks just to liven it up I honestly think this beer could be a worldy. However, sadly it’s not, it’s good but just lacking pizazz.

Jymi’s Rating: 65%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

I’m going to call this beer A for the simple reason I do not have a Greek keyboard to type its actual name. 

So, for starters, the can is printed upside down. Now, not only do I not have a Greek keyboard, I don’t speak Greek either. However, from what I can infer, I think this is a deliberate move so that once turned upside down, or the right way up, depending on how you look at it, some magic happens inside the can to liven up the beer. 

A has the nose you’d expect from a Weiss beer: wheaty.  And whilst it’s not striking in any form, it’s not terrible either. 

Again, in the glass A looks like a wheat beer: golden hazy. 

Now, unsurprisingly, A tastes like a wheat beer.  You may or may not remember that they’re not my favourite brew.  BUT, as wheat beers go A is quite nice. It’s well brew and balanced nicely, not lingering too long on the palate, which in my view can be the downfall of many a wheat beer. 

Very often, I wouldn’t revisit a Weiss beer once tested. It’s a testament to A, then, that I would happily have another one of these if I somehow stumbled across it. I accept it’s unlikely that this will happen. 

Sammy’s Rating: 73%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 69%

MOB review next weekend: SMALL BEER LAGER by SMALL BEER BREW CO.

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LIGHTHOUSE

BREWER: Hedgedog Brewing, Surrey, England

STYLE: Pale Ale

ABV: 4.8%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @HedgedogBrewing

INSTAGRAM: hedgedogbrewing

DATE OF POST: 12th June 2022

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

I’ve gone on and on about the crowed craft IPA market in many a review before. And very often my point is the the beer being tested at that moment in time, while usually not bad, drifts into obscurity due to the saturated market in which it exists. 

Well, I’m please to tell y’all that Lighthouse is different. It’s a very good effort. And ok, it’s still sitting in a tough market and it’s not a world heart, but it is a decent drop. 

The nose is packed with tropical sweetness which sounds standard for a craft pale but it does actually stand out from the crowd.  That tells you it must be a decent nose. 

The brew is crisp and bouncy and well balanced. This in itself nudges Lighthouse into very good level for a pale ale. It’s crisp, uncomplicated but very very refreshing which is aided by the development of a tropical lime flavour the further down the glass you get. 

All round Lighthouse is a good package.

Sammy’s Rating: 79%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I’ve always been a riverman. My wife and daughters can testify to that. I mean, they have never seen me actually be a man of the river but they have heard endless tales of how I was ‘born by the bank’.

The whole thing is actually a load of shit but please, don’t tell them, it’s gone too far now… the fact is I flippin hate water but I if I had to choose between being a man of the river or sea, I would 100% choose the prior. See, I’m a riverman.

However, if I was a seafarer (and to be fair the way my beard is going of late this could be on the cards you know) I would want a better looking Lighthouse than is portrayed here to guide me to safety. But luckily this is just beer tin art, and what great beer tin art it is! I can’t get over the fact that it looks like a face (intentional?) but either or, the tin looks DECENT! Proper crackers. Love it.

Beer wise we have a real goodun on our hands here. Though very fizzy in the glass the first thing that struck me with Lighthouse was it’s lovely thick texture, it is sooooo full in the mouth. The next thing that struck me (which doesn’t necessarily corroborate with the texture statement just made) is how refreshing this brew is. Thick AND refreshing?? Not sure how that’s possible but Hedgedog have pulled it off. Lighthouse is an uncomplex beer but potentially all the better for it. Pine and grassy notes support a delicate spice which makes the drinking a no nonsense yet lovely affair. In a massively crowded market this Pale Ale has a subtle point of difference and I applaud this Surrey brewer for that.

If you can find one, buy one.

It won’t blow your mind but it will make you think, man that is a decent ass brew.

Jymi’s Rating: 80%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 79.5%

MOB review next weekend: ALPHA by ALPHA BREWERY

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CORAL

BREWER: Phantom Brewing Co., Berkshire, England

STYLE: Sour

ABV: 8.7%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @PhantomBrewCo

INSTAGRAM: phantombrewco

DATE OF POST: 5th June 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

What the F is a Mermaid Sour?

Time to hit the google machine…

Ah of course, Mermaid is a cocktail that includes pineapple and coconut in it’s line up of ingredients. Our Mermaid Sour, Coral, also contains pineapple and coconut. However it is actually the blue raspberries used that takes centre stage in our beer here. Pineapple is present for sure but playing more of a supporting role. And as for the coconut, well the flavour didn’t come through for me unless I pursed my lips, which was quite odd but in some way quite cool too as gave a little added extra as you moved through the drink. However it’s the texture of the brew that is helped out from the coconut.  Because of the coconut Coral is so creamy and smooth as you drink it down.

For me when it comes to the world of sours I prefer them to be SOUR, like eye twitching sour, but that is just personal taste. Coral is not eye twitchingly sour but that certainly does not make it a bad brew…

It’s complex as hell, comes in a frankly awesome tin and errrr, pours a striking green!!!

Jymi’s Rating: 70%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Coral, the beer, that is, is a mermaid sour. What the hecky decky is a mermaid sour? I hear you ask. The truth is, I have no bleedin’ idea. 

Of note, is the colour of Coral. It’s almost fluorescent green. And yes, I agree, something that’s described as fluorescent of any colour does not sound in the slightest appealing, especially when it comes to a beer. 

With Coral, don’t let the colour put you off. This beer is different. And in a good way. There’s sweet raspberry upfront, which is quickly followed by a brief, not overpowering, sour finish. While it’s by no means the sourest of beers, there’s enough there to class it as one.

I concede that Coral will not tick everyone’s beer drinking box. But what the team at Phantom have done is create something that is most definitely unique. You go on a journey as you drink and arguably, that’s what you want when trying out their beer. 

Whatever a mermaid sour is, I would have another one thank you very much. 

Mystical. 

Sammy’s Rating: 71%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 70.5%

MOB review next weekend: LIGHTHOUSE by HEDGEDOG BREWING

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DESPERADOS

BREWER: Heineken, Midlothian, Scotland

STYLE: Lager

ABV: 5.9%

VESSEL: 330ml tin

TWITTER: @desperadosbeer

INSTAGRAM: desperados

DATE OF POST: 29th May 2022

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

A desperado, as many of you well know, can be described as a desperate person who is usually associated with criminality. And to add that definition, desperados are most widely associated with the Wild West of America. 

Now, Desperados the beer, clearly has a USP – it has tequila in it. And I assume that the beer is named so as tequila is from Mexico, which is also associated with the Wild West and desperados. 

Bit of a gimmicky approach if you ask me. And the only time I have had a Desperados before is at a BBQ having previously consumed some much more prestigious beers.  So, this is my first venture into drinking it cold (as in I have not consumed a beer before testing, as is always the case). 

I don’t mind telling you, I was anxious before trying. Anxious because the very thought of Desperados churns my beer tummy. And churning a beer tummy, as we know, is not a good idea…

As a side note, I am listening to Desperado by the Eagles while I test, just to add to the atmosphere. Hopefully this will help. 

Turns out, listening to a song with the same name (minus one ‘s’) really doesn’t work.

Desperados is poor. Trying to mask a beer with tequila might be a novelty that works for some but not for me.  It’s nasty to drink and, while it has a USP, it’s not one to add the BBQ shopping list. 

One thing is right – the name. It’s definitely a desperate beer. As for those in the Wild West – best stick to drinking whiskey. 

Sammy’s Rating: 32%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Ok, I’ll be honest, I’ve taken Desperados on board a few times but not many. When it has happened it’s always been under similar circumstances… either a house party or an outside house party (AKA, a BBQ). Desperados has never been my brew of choice and I’ve certainly never bought nor brought for or to a do. So, when consuming I’ve always already had a few beers and have never really considered what Despo is actually like as beer, the only thing that has really crossed my mind is the fact it is a lager with a tickle of Tequila in it…

However consider now I will, but not until after this short interlude…

When I was about 16 my than girlfriend went on holiday to Australia for a month with her folks. Four weeks feels like four decades in teenaged relationship land so it felt right for me and my buddy (Sammy btw) to hit the boozer to wash away my sorrow. Now, at this time we had just discovered that a pint of Guinness with a shot of Tia Maria in it was utterly divine (it genuinely is)! Sammy ordered up one of those but this was a hot summers evening and I wanted a lager. Not wishing to miss out however I ordered a LARGE TEQULIA to go in my beer. Utterly divine it was not. Blimey.

Anyway, Desperados, a lager that is 99.4% beer and 0.6% tequila. I think that is probably a better ratio than mine all those years ago but even so, beer and tequila in the same glass? What?? However, even though the tequila element doesn’t taste of tequila it does sweeten the drink and almost makes it taste like a shandy. Which, at 5.9% is a VERY dangerous thing!!

All in all this is just bad beer but actually quite drinkable to be fair to it. I would never purchase but if handed one nowadays I would still accept and not turn my now very snobby beer nose up at it.

 Jymi’s Rating: 41%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 36.5%

MOB review next weekend: CORAL by PHANTOM BREWING COMPANY

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VALMIERMUIZA AMBER LAGER

 

BREWER: Valmiermuiza, Valmiera Parish, Latvia

STYLE: Lager

ABV: 5.2%

VESSEL: 0.5l brown bottle

TWITTER: @valmiermuiza

INSTAGRAM: valmiermuizas_alus

DATE OF POST: 22nd May 2022

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

So, I’m gonna come clean. I struggled to write this review. You see this Amber Lager has no point of difference. There’s nothing that stands out about it to make it great or ghastly. It’s just an average Joe. A Steady Eddie. 

Would I have one again? Sure I would. Would I rush out to buy another one? I sure wouldn’t. 

Amber Lager – it does exactly what it says. And there’s not much else to say about it…

Sammy’s Rating: 61%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Well, the first thing that needs to be mentioned here is the absolutely stunning packaging!!! So grand, yet kinda simple. LOVE IT.

Beer wise, look, this tastes like a classic European lager, main reason is, it is one. Is there a point of difference? Well yeah probably, but you would have to be a beer sommelier to find it and am I one? No, I am not.

I can only comment on what is in front of me and what is in front of me is good, not great, but defo good.

Val’s offering here is soft and delicate in flavour and as smooth as it gets for a lager. The brewer has certainly worked some magic here too as it does not taste close to 5.2%.

I have a feeling that right place, right time, right amount of sun on your back and this brew could actually be situationally incredible.

However, when I tested Val’s Amber Lager it was a snowy British spring day… make of that what you will.

Jymi’s Rating: 67%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 64%

MOB review next weekend: DESPERADOS by HEINEKEN

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GROLSCH

BREWER: Grolsche Bierbrouwerj, Gelderland, Netherlands

STYLE: Pilsner

ABV: 4%

VESSEL: 450ml green bottle 

TWITTER: @Grolsch

INSTAGRAM: grolsch_global

DATE OF POST: 15th May 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I used to quite enjoy Grolsch as a lad, it tasted pretty good and that bottle, more importantly, that lid was just soooooooo flippin cool. I didn’t go as far as putting the lid on my shoes like the Goss Bros. but certainly had the odd one hanging off a rucksack or two. The lid is just so iconic, never challenged, never rivalled.

However, other than the top of the bot, everything else seems to have changed, only slightly but enough to make a fairly large difference.

Let’s start with the bottle as a whole, still decent but seems smaller and the current label seems cheap. The old sticker absolutely let the lid and bottle do the talking but this current iteration seems, well as I said, cheap. Oh and I’ve just checked the back of the label and it’s 450ml, so no wonder it looks smaller! Grolsch has also dropped to a fairly worrying 4% abv. If this percentage drop was from a smaller hands on brewery I wouldn’t be too worried but a mass produced lager going from 5 to 4% cannot possibly work out well…

But to be fair, the taste is still the same. Look, it’s not great but is perfectly drinkable. However, the percentage drop has definitely affected the body of the beer. It is now very thin and only just held together by an ok flavour.

Drinkable – yes.

Iconic – other than the lid, no, not anymore.

Buy again – I wouldn’t bother actually. Grolsch has lost whatever magic it once possessed.

Jymi’s Rating: 49%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Picture yourself in Amsterdam. It’s a hot day. The bartender is serving you a Grolsch. And in that serving, he or she scapes off the excess froth with a beer scraper. Sounds great. And in that scenario, Grolsch would be great. There’s no doubt. It would be in its element. But take away that romanticism and your faced with drinking Grolsch for what it is.  Sadly, it’s not a great beer. 

On the plus side, the sample we are testing here has the iconic beer top. Much better than having a Grolsch with your standard bottle top. Infinitely better in fact. The bottle itself is also clean and crisp. 

But, in the drinking Grolsch is watery. It’s a long way from being a good pilsner. You’d be hard pushed to identify it as one in a blind test. And then there’s the ever reducing alcohol content. Yes folks, Grolsch is now a sobering 4%. And while the percentage itself doesn’t matter, the diminishing flavour over time does. 

This is an unremarkable beer. 

Sammy’s Rating: 49%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 49%

MOB review next weekend: VALMIERMUIZA AMBER LAGER by VALMIERMUIZA

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DAVE SAYS IT WILL BE FINE

 

BREWER: Arundel Brewery, West Sussex, England

STYLE: Sour Ale

ABV: 7.1%

VESSEL: 400ml tin

TWITTER: @ArundelBrewery

INSTAGRAM: @arundelbrewery

DATE OF POST: 8th May 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Sorry Dave mate, if I can call you mate, it is not fine. It’s actually nowhere near fine, it’s flippin’ awful buddy, if I can call you buddy…

The tin art is decent, the nose from the pour was nice, the look and colour in the glass of this brew is gooood. Texture and mouthfeel is also good, actually REALLY GOOD. However the taste I’m sorry to say is all over the card.

Dave says it will be fine feels like a hit and hope to me and to be fair almost sounds like it was for our brewery here too…

I quote from the tin…

This Sour Ale is a bit of an experiment

However the can notes say that Blueberries, Pecan, Marshmallow, Cinnamon and Vanilla are involved which for me, although a little funky, if balanced should work well together.

But whatever has happened in this experiment has not worked out. This brew is way too sweet and just when you think you will be saved by the sour, it barely rocks up.

I have never gone down the road of value for money et cetera et cetera in almost 5 years of doing this but at nearly 6 snerks a tin I’m not sure I want a brewery experimenting and not really knowing what they have put out.

Total fail.

Jymi’s Rating: 31%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Can you remember when you were a child and you mixed all the soft drinks available in one glass? The aim was always to create a mega drink that was greater than the sum of its parts. And as a child, what an experiment to undertake. Of course, invariably the finished product was never the hoped for elixir. In fact, you usually ended up with some piss poor concoction barely fit for consumption.

And so it is with Dave Says it’ll be Fine.

After a promising start – a good can, the promise of sour – the end product is so poor.

While it might feel like it has been brewed well, you simply cannot throw everything at a beer, label it a sour and hope it will turn out ok. There’s so much going on with DSIWBF, that you can’t actually work out at all what’s going on with it. And at the back of it all, it’s not the note of sour that lingers but a sickly sweetness.

Arundel Brewery claim this as an experiment.  Like the mixing experiments of our childhood, this sour ale is definitely not representative of all the things that have been thrown at it. You might have seen haute cuisine with a shorter list  of ingredients.

It’s an experiment gone wrong. And, Dave, it’s far from being fine.

Sammy’s Rating: 32%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 31.5%

MOB review next weekend: GROLSCH by GROLSCHE BIERBROUWERU

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ST PETER’S GOLDEN ALE

BREWER: St Peter’s Brewery, Suffolk, England

STYLE: Golden Ale

ABV: 4.7%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @StPetersBrewery

INSTAGRAM: stpetersbrewery

DATE OF POST: 2nd May 2022

 

JYMI SAY’S…

So after last week’s ‘write about the packaging before you sip the brew’ angle I’ve decided to go again, for three reasons…

Firstly, once more I have some time on my hands to write but not to test at the same time.

Secondly, I quite enjoyed last week and the point still stands, the outside and inside of a beer should be judged separately but of course still influence each other. Or sometimes not.

Thirdly, I have seen St Peter’s  bottles lurking on beer shelves since Sammy and I started this nonsense back in 2017 and have had something to say about them in my mind ever since. Let’s see if I can I get my thoughts down accurately and eloquently after all these years…

THEY LOOK SHIT

THEY LOOK LIKE FU*KING BOTTLES OF MEDICINE

Yep, fairly happy with that.

 

Anyway, it’s a few days later and on to the actual beer itself. Well thank gawd it is not as bad as the housing that it has just been released from. However, this does not mean that this a good beer, because it’s not. After a smidgen of early promise in the taste as potential orange citrus and toffee try and do something, it all just fades very fast into a practically non-existent aftertaste.

Quaffable and smooth makes this brew drinkable yes, but I would still not put it into the good bracket. However, it’s not necessarily bad either. Which clearly leads us to the pretty obvious conclusion of… average at best.

Jymi’s Rating: 49%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

I love the style of the bottle on this golden ale (which is named Golden Ale (not the most inspirational of names, I know)). Anyway, the bottle is like an old-style medicine bottle. And at times, beer can have the effect of a medicine (please drink responsibly).   So, I’m digging the bottle, if not the name.

And in the glass Golden Ale is, well, golden. In fact, it’s as golden as they come. So that’s a tick. And there’s definitely caramel notes on the nose, if not too pungent.

However, in the drinking, there’s quite a bite upfront, which is followed by a metallic finish. Although this finish passes quickly, it’s there none the less. The more you drink GA the less you notice it. But it’s not the most accomplished of golden ales in the brew.  Having said that, it’s not terrible.

In colloquial terms, I’m on what’s known as the fence with this one.

Sammy’s Rating: 68%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 58.5%

MOB review next weekend: DAVE SAYS IT WILL BE FINE by ARUNDEL BREWERY

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