BREWER: Kopparberg, Örebro County, Sweden

STYLE: Lager

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 500ml clear bottle

TWITTER: @kopparberguk

INSTAGRAM: kopparberguk

DATE OF POST: 20th June 2021



We all know this brewery for its fruit cider and that cider is uber sweet.  I am not the biggest fan of sweet beers. So, understandably, I approach this Fruit Lager with trepidation.

Where to start…

Well, let’s sum it up in a sentence: Fruit Lager is very drinkable but it is not a well brewed beer.

It has the potential to get many a person in deep trouble due to it’s shandy like drinkability compared with its relative strength.

Other than that, I have nothing to say about this.  I wouldn’t go out of your way to try it.

Sammy’s Rating: 42%



Ok, lets get one thing straight…

This is a very poor beer. You can tell that no care whatsoever has been put into this brew and you wouldn’t really expect there to be to be fair, what with it being brewed by the monster that is Kopparberg.

However, for all of it’s flaws, and there are many… There is a way to enjoy this beer.

See, even though the brew is terrible, the drink itself actually tastes fine for what it is. It tastes like a shandy with a hint of lemon running through it. Now, if someone said to me…

“Jymi, do you like the taste of shandy with a little lemon running through the middle”?

I would respond

“Yes I do”.

It would be something I would very rarely drink but right place and right time a shandy can be delightful.

The trouble is this is not supposed to be a shandy, it is supposed to be a 5% lager! And this my friends is where things could get very messy very quickly.

This is the type of drink that could end up in front of you on a scorching summers afternoon whilst sitting in a lovely beer garden. You didn’t order it, your pal did and you have no idea what it is. Due to its sweet and refreshing nature after 3 sips and 18 seconds you look down and you have already finished it and another pal has done the same and already ordered you and them another. Repeat this a few times and fast forward 51 minutes and before you know it you’ve rolled into the picturesque canal that runs by the side of the lovely beer garden and you are being fished out by several members of the local canoe club. All this takes place in front of  many families just trying to have a nice afternoon meal in the sunshine.

See, a 5% lager should not taste like a lemon and lime shandy. It just shouldn’t. And as enjoyable as this would be in the sun it’s hard to even classify it as a beer really.

Jymi’s Rating: 45%


MOB review next weekend: MUSKET by TWO COCKS BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017



BREWER: Butcombe Brewing Co., Bristol, England

STYLE: Golden Ale

ABV: 4.4%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @ButcombeBrewery

INSTAGRAM: butcombe

DATE OF POST: 13th June 2021



Gold sits in a competitive golden ale market, which has had some strong hands played over the last few years. Will it stand up to the market? I hear you ask.

Straight off, it has floral botanic nose, which is light and incredibly pleasant. This conjures up thoughts of freshly mown lawns on a spring day. It’s simple but effective.

Fuggles hops are evidently present and the malt tones are easily identifiable. All in all, this makes for a lightly bittered golden ale that packs a good sweet aftertaste. The grassy notes are pleasant upfront and these then give way to a caramel creaminess.

Gold has a great mouthfeel, which is light bodied making it a refreshing brew.

Despite not being complex and quite light, It’s well balanced and a pleasant drink overall.

Let’s be clear, this is a good beer, which is surprisingly floral for a British ale.  It would sit well in any beer line up and would satisfy many a thirsty palate. However, as previously mentioned, Gold has many competitors for the golden ale crown and while it might not disappoint on any level, it’s not the best there is.

Sammy’s Rating: 73%



To be honest with you Butcombe have never really put a foot wrong with the beers of theirs that I’ve sampled. Whether it was pint in pub, a bottle at neighbours house or testing for Muse on Booze, Butcombe have always nailed it.

Now for me with Gold they have still not put a foot wrong but not necessarily hit their normal dizzy heights.

Gold begins with a cracking though relatively simple Lemon nose. That nose immediately transfers through to the taste in the mouth. The aftertaste is then very pleasant but certainly short lived. And you know what. As for the drinking experience there really isn’t much more to say about this Golden Ale. It’s simple and to the point. It tastes good and you could while away an afternoon quite easily with it as your companion. Even with the weather warm sitting outside or cozied by a fire indoors Gold would work.

Don’t expect fireworks, this a just a decent beer.

Jymi’s Rating: 77%




Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017



BREWER: Polly’s, Flintshire, Wales


ABV: 8%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @pollysbrewco

INSTAGRAM: pollysbrewco

DATE OF POST: 6th June 2021



Nada fits into a place in the beer world where there are many competitors. Like any product that sits in a crowded market, it has to be different to do well. And different does not necessarily mean better. It needs to have something that just sets it aside from the rest. You know, something to make it memorable.

Although Polly’s produce some great beers, Nada, sadly, is not one of them. It’s good. But it has no je ne sais quoi. If you want an analogy, you might like to call it ploddy in a sprint.

It’s hazy in the glass and this makes Nada look class. The dank tropical notes, leaning towards mango, are also pleasant. But the drinking, which has enough bitterness, leave you wanting more in the flavour department. While it’s not unpleasant, there is just no force driving Nada on.

You won’t dislike Nada. You possibly won’t have your love for it kindled either.

Good old hazy glass look – class

Sammy’s Rating: 68%



Things I absolutely adore about this beer:

The packaging – Even though Beavertown have gorn all Heineken on us, their packaging as a whole is still fantastic. Two Cocks Brewery in Berkshire also have utterly sensational looking bottles for their traditional beer. This particular tin of Polly’s for me is up there with the VERY best. Colours, tone, subtlety… This tin has it ALL! It looks gorgeous.

The nose – wow, the experience for the olfactory from the second you pop this pup until the brew is done is INCREDIBLE! The sweet tropical lychee is just so alluring.

The mouthfeel – It is just plain to see that from the texture in mouth this beer has been brewed to the highest level.

The thing I really like about this beer:

The taste – So many fruit notes to pick up on. Juicy on the cheeks with a dank bitter finish, this beer is full on! Because of it’s intensity it took a while to get into but once there Jymi was a happy chappy.

Things I don’t particularly like about this beer:

The intensity – This is very much a slow sipper because of the aforementioned intensity. However, the tropical yet bitter fruit flavour is just too good to only have one or maybe two. It left me wanting more but unable to have more.

The name – Nada? Great sounding word yes, but it means NOTHING… Why would you call a beer Nothing Pollys? I just don’t get it, sorry.

But all in all, a cracker of a brew!

Jymi’s Rating: 84%



MOB review next weekend: GOLD by BUTCOMBE BREWING CO. 

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017


BREWER: Guinness, Leinster, Ireland

STYLE: Porter

ABV: 6%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @GuinnessIreland

INSTAGRAM: guinness

DATE OF POST: 30th May 2021



Well after last week’s predictable greatness I have to say I was more than excited to get stuck into the iteration that was sent west from Dublin. Similar to an IPA leaving English shores set for India in the days for the British Raj the Guinness leaving St James’ Gate on its way to the Caribbean was brewed stronger so the beer could withstand the long journey across the Atlantic.

With it’s origins in an 1801 entry in Guinness’ brewers diaries this West Indies Porter was inspired by the first brew purposely brewed at St. James’s Gate to retain freshness ready for its long journey ahead.

Upon tasting I really think my one word notes in my book pretty much told the story of what was going on with this brew… well other than the last word. Crickey.






A prominent chocolate nose gives way to a lovely smooth yet strong tasting Porter. This smoothness does lead you down the ‘I could sink a few of these path’ but the strength in taste does keep reminding you that you probably shouldn’t!

I like this drink a lot. It is very different to its home bird brother in Guinness Original, but you can still tell it has come out of St. James’s gate.

Jymi’s Rating: 79%



Here we are; week 2 of our first linked review. This week, it’s  Guinness’s West Indies Porter’s (WIP) turn to come under the microscope.

Straight up, the packaging is a hit. I love the retro front label. It sets it aside from Guinness Original (GO), but there’s most definitely the same brand feeling going on.

And the nose, well there’s no mistaking it’s Porter original and this stands in contrast to GO.  It’s mellow but still earthy. Not being at all overpowering or complex, the coffee notes are unmistakable.  This mellowness continues through to the drinking. It’s slightly sharp and bitter up front, giving way to toffee mellowness.  All through, the hint of hops treads lightly on the tongue.

This is definitely different to GO. It’s more mellow and slips away easy. But the thing is, they’re both good mass produced beers.

If you want something a little more punchy, then GO is your go to (get it). For mellow notes, stick to WIP. But you won’t go wrong with either.

Sammy’s Rating: 85%



MOB review next weekend: NADA by POLLYS

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017



BREWER: Guinness, Leinster, Ireland

STYLE: Stout

ABV: 4.2%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @GuinnessIreland

INSTAGRAM: guinness

DATE OF POST: 23rd May 2021



Ok, so over the next two weeks, we are doing a linked review. We will be testing Guinness Original this week, then onto West Indies Export next week. The aim will be to do more of these in the future. The idea is that GO will provide the benchmark to compare the export with.

There’s no escaping the domination that Guinness has on the stout market. It has to be said it’s clear to see why. Whether it be an original or a draught, there’s something so earthy and hearty about Guinness, it has defined the stout taste. Others have come and gone but they have fallen in the wake of the giant. While there are now many small scale breweries doing astonishing stouts, there is only one name in the macro business.

GO is a nostalgic beer for me. When my parents first permitted me to have the odd beer, this was one of the mainstays. And for that reason I find I have a soft spot for it. Whether that distorts my perception of it or not, I cannot say. What I can say, is that GO is an earthy and warming stout. It’s fairly light bodied, not complicated on the palate and easy to drink. It conjures up memories of festive seasons by the fire. Or rugby matches endured in the cold.

GO’s roasted malted barley really does make it a fantastic mouthful. It packs flavour and reassures the soul.

I know there’ll be many a critic. I know there’s better, more considered brewed stouts out there. But there’s something just so, Guinness about it. And for me, it pulls on the heart strings.

Sammy’s Rating: 85%



I used to be pretty slick as a teenager…

Now I’m not talking leather jacket and toothpick slick, no no.

I’m not even talking getting insured on your Mum’s Gold VW Passat GT for a day so you could drive to a party slick.

I’m talking wearing chunky fluorescent yellow ski socks to school kinda slick. There were all the do as you’re told kids in their grey numbers, walking in grids with no expression. Whilst Jymi would be meandering free between them in his bright yet warm socks.

On one particular day there was an event after school, literally no clue what it was I’m afraid. However this event involved parents and guardians coming along and drink was available. Now judging by the photos I’m fairly sure me and my two chums (Sammy being one of them) were drinking openly, so I’m assuming it was allowed but anything is possible I guess. What is also apparent from the pictures is that I was drinking Guinness Original out of a bottle whilst my mates were on lager. And I remember why… it was because I was so fu**ing cool. The fact it was warm and nothing like the chilled draught stuff I had tried before didn’t matter. I was cool. I was different. I had very bright socks on. All was well.

It tasted like totally s**t that night but I’m sure that was just me because what I’m drinking here now is nothing short of lovely. Nowadays I’m definitely still more versed on Draught Guinness but this has a touch more elegance and refinement about it for me. The nose, sip and mouthfeel are just divine and unmistakably Guinness. There is something about it that makes you want another which is also unmistakably, Guinness.

All in all this is just a champion brew with an unrivalled name and you can see why.

Seriously looking forward to the West Indies porter next week… the one that got sent overseas all the way back when.

Jymi’s Rating: 81%



MOB review next weekend: WEST INDIES PORTER by GUINNESS

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017


BREWER: Budweiser Budvar, South Bohemia, Czech Republic

STYLE: Lager

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 500ml green bottle


INSTAGRAM: budvaruk

DATE OF POST: 16th May 2021



It’s very easy to predict what may be coming your way when it comes to a readily available popular continental European beer sold in the UK.

It’s very easy to pre-empt it will be:-





The reason for this is that most in this bracket of beer do fall into, well, this bracket – Good drinkable beer but not AMAZING.

However, I think Budvar is a little different to this.

NICE ENOUGH?   It’s better than that.

CRISP?   Yes, but there is way more body going on here to give it that classic crisp tag.

REFRESHING?   Yes again, but not in the obvious sense.

but DOESN’T SHOOT THE LIGHTS OUT?   Well, no it doesn’t, however because there is a lot more personality than your aforementioned regularly available beers it gets a lot closer to those bulbs.

This is a crazily mass produced yet iconic drop, and there is something about it.

Great… no.

Close to great… yes.

Jymi’s Rating: 75%



Budvar is known the world over. Well, in The Americas it’s known as Czechvar. The less said about that, the better.

Budvar has iconic branding and is synonymous with Czech Pilsners. There’s something so reassuring about it. It’s luring.

It’s colour is medium to dark and the nose, although not complicated, is all bread. We can thank those malts for that.

Look, Budvar is mass produced. It’s not micro; it’s macro. But there’s nothing wrong with that. Through the years, it has not been gimmicky or flitted in and out of fashion. Nope, Budvar’s mass success is down to its brew. It’s just a good lager. It borders on the bitter with a short flavour length dominated by malts. There’s no getting away from the obvious heaviness of it when compared with other lagers. Still, it’s how Budvar should be. It’s almost earthy.

This beer has a place of affection in my heart. And I don’t mind admitting it. It’s one I keep coming back to for a little lager pick me up from time to time.

Sammy’s Rating: 77%



MOB review next weekend: GUINNESS ORIGINAL by GUINNESS

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017


BREWER: Cloudwater Brew Co., Greater Manchester, England


ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @cloudwaterbrew

INSTAGRAM: cloudwaterbrew

DATE OF POST: 9th May 2021



As soon as the news broke that Cloudwater were going to be landing in Tesco Sammy & I said we have to move on this while it was still topical so interrupt the testing timetable we did.

Ok, we have slightly missed topical I know but whatever, there is still much to say…

We have only reviewed one Cloudwater over the years, no reason for that, just the way the it’s worked out. However, outside of beer reviewing I have had a few CW brews over the years and they have been nothing short of magnificent. A cask best bitter in Dorset springs to mind… Yeah, I know.

As soon as I found out CW were hitting Tesco I have to say a fair few thoughts hit me.

First reaction was, sell out.

Then I thought well actually, there are loads of good breweries in Tesco nowadays. Buxton, Vocation and Thornbridge to name but a few.

But Cloudwater going supermarket just seemed different.

Thoughts then drifted to this being yet another kick in the dick for the small brewers and retailers. But I have to be honest, thoughts also drifted to this raising the profile of craft beer. If enjoying, eyes would open and intrigue to what else is out there you would like to think would ensue.

Ultimately though I hate what’s going on here.

I suppose I should write about the actual beer now.

OK, well, I think I actually predicted what’s going on here before even tasting pretty accurately. This was going to be an average/good beer. Enjoyable yes but that’s as far as it goes.

And Cloudwater have nailed it once again! But, unfortunately this time only in predictability.

It is enjoyable, it fine, it’s a nice enough beer but with a CW stamp on it, it should be better. Sorry, it just should be.

Session IPA (great name btw) starts off in serious style from this Manchester brewer to be fair. The look in glass superb and a sublime nose. It then took a dip and never recovered.

For a session IPA it starts off too bitter for me and then falls into quite a thin taste and then to an almost nothing finish. The bitterness up front does soften over further sips but is way too prominent throughout for this to make an actual sessioner cry ANOTHER ROUND FOR ALL PLEASE LANDLORD.

The drop in body and lack of aftertaste however is where this brew falls down.

It needs more and to be brutally honest from a brewer of this magnitude, I did indeed want… more. Supermarket or not.

Jymi’s Rating: 66%



Ok, in the beer world, Cloudwater selling through Tesco would see them selling out. Also, the Tesco range of Cloudwater is being brewed at Brewdog’s factory. And we all know about the latter’s direction of travel.

But let us not focus on the politics. Let us not be guided or swayed by the significance of this shift for Cloudwater. Let’s just judge the beer before us…

Put simply, this Session IPA is good, if not at all great.

It all started promisingly with a sweet nose, which is driven by our friends mango and pineapple, who are, of course no strangers to the IPA world. And on sight, there’s definitely the anticipated hazy appearance in the glass.

The first sip of Session IPA brings bitter grapefruit up front, which becomes sharp afterwards with a slight hint of sweetness. It’s almost finished off with a hint grassiness. So, it seems to be a good beer which is light with great mouthfeel. However, this lightness gives way to flavour somewhat. And that’s the downfall of this session IPA. Clearly, it would be easy to slip one down after the other but it’s just not punching a whole bag of flavour.

To be fair, it’s exactly what you might expect from a session ipa. It’s defining of its genre, but by no means trailblazing. Would I be happy to have this again? Why, yes I would but it’s certainly not top of the pile by any stretch of the imagination. I see it as being a little showy with no sustenance. Perhaps this is no surprise.

One for a scorching summers day, perhaps. But other than that, seek out something that has a little more to it…

Sammy’s Rating: 68%




Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017



BREWER: Menabrea, Piedmont, Italy

STYLE: Lager

ABV: 4.8%

VESSEL: 660ml green bottle

TWITTER: @BirraMenabrea

INSTAGRAM: birramenabreaofficial

DATE OF POST: 2nd May 2021



Menabrea is as you might expect.   It’s an Italian lager, which on the whole are very drinkable.

The nose is unremarkable but not unpleasant.  It’s light in the mouth and is very easy to quaff.  Where Menabrea would be at home, is, unsurprisingly, in an Italian bar nestled in an Italian square.  In such a scenario, then the scoring for this lager could very easily go through the roof.   Okay, you could argue this is the case for any beer, and that would be true, but there are some ales that transgress the situational scoring.

While Menabrea will not be setting the world on fire, it may make many an Italian holiday.

It’s worth a try – perhaps wait until the perfect opportunity arises…

Sammy’s Rating: 50%



When you think Italian lager your mind nowadays heads to one, maybe two obvious beers if you’re a UK based sipper.

When thinking Italian lager I’m fairly certain your mind should also wander towards clean, crisp and refreshing drinking. However when peering at my very large bottle of Menabrea Birra Bionda I was not thinking that at all. I was thinking, ‘that looks pretty cool, but is this really an Italian lager’?

However normal service resumed once popped, sniffed and sipped. This was quite clearly a southern European lager as it was clean, it was crisp and it was refreshing. Now in the right setting this can just be fantastic. Warm and lazy BBQ or a balmy Milanese afternoon al fresco. This doesn’t necessarily mean this is a great beer, because it’s not, it’s just very enjoyable. What it does mean is that in the right situation because of it’s crisp and refreshing nature it can be elevated from a nice enough beer to a very enjoyable brew indeed.

The weather was set fair though not particularly warm when I tested this a few days ago.

Did I enjoy it? Yes I did.

Did it blow my light weight embroidered cotton spring socks off? No it did not.

 Jymi’s Rating: 62%




Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017



BREWER: Double-Barrelled, Berkshire, England


ABV: 6.5%

VESSEL: 440ml tin


INSTAGRAM: doubledbarrelledbrewery

DATE OF POST: 25th April 2021



What a beer Keith On Banjo is!

In the glass, it looks like liquid butterscotch.  And for a beer, believe me when I tell you it’s a good look.  It’s temptation waiting to strike.

Then the nose hits you with it’s exotic pineappliness. It’s heady, enticing and downright unbelievable that a beer could pack such a fantastic aroma.

But for the main event, that’s where KOB excels.  It’s crisp as you like.  The lightly carbonated liquid washes over the palate beautifully, which leaves a crisp refreshing wake behind it.  For those of you who have tried the Refresher sweets, KOB is a little like that in beer form.

What I love about KOB, is the fact it is different to anything else I have ever tried.  So many other beers have comparisons.  But this is somehow unique.  Fine, it could do with a little more punch in the flavour department.  But I forgive it that for all that I have mentioned before.

I love the thinking behind KOB – it makes for a unique beer.

Sammy’s Rating: 90%



Keith Leon Potger, the Ceylon born co-founder of the Seekers. An Australian Folk-Pop ensemble who hit their heights in the UK during those there 60s. Keith hit up the mighty twelve-string guitar, sang some ditties and also took to the Banjo on occasion.

Now, I’ve often been a cynic of these crazy off the wall names in the past. They sometimes seem to have no meaning, but to call your beer KEITH ON BANJO after this great man for me is simply sensational. And other beers in the Double-Barrelled range / archives have been named after other members of the Seekers and their chosen instrument too. Inspired stuff!

Staying on the external for a bit longer (blimey, I can feel myself waffling on here) the colours, lines and overall design of this tin are tidy and meticulous – as, it would seem, is the just the way it is for this Reading based brewery.

Brew wise the good news just kept on coming to be honest. The pineapple on the nose began proceedings, not strong but just there hovering in its invisible tropical cloud. Things continued into the first sip which brought me herbs and pine but also melon. Now I’m not a fan of melon (I think I mentioned this in a review a few years ago set in a Spanish restaurant, if you know, YOU KNOW) but this beer’s delivery of it got me onside immediately. Melon early, which moves straight to a cheek salivating bitterness, utterly delightful hence diving straight back in. And things did not let up. As the drink progressed a melon aftertaste began to develop and just hung around for what seemed like hours…

Keith on Banjo is so thick and juicy, so crushable and… amazing.

Jymi’s Rating: 92%



Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017



BREWER: Greene King, Suffolk, England

STYLE: Ale ?

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 500ml clear bottle

TWITTER: @greeneking

INSTAGRAM: greeneking_official 

DATE OF POST: 18th April 2021



I honestly thought that I would be able to write this review without even drinking this beer… I was fairly convinced I was going to write something along the lines of this mass produced ale is perfectly drinkable but not particularly nice.

However I was wrong.

It’s not particularly drinkable and definitely isn’t very nice. It’s a brew that isn’t very good from the first sip and progressively gets worse as you chew your way through. I did manage to finish it but really wished I hadn’t once I had. One particular low point was the beyond acrid aftertaste.

The packaging is a disaster too… as you can see from the picture at the top of this page. I mean, a picture of wax seal really is taking the piss isn’t it?

It is frankly amazing how this sells so well in the UK.

I’m out.

Jymi’s Rating: 28%



Abbot Ale from the outset is a let down.  Let’s not mince our words.  It has shocking packaging: fake wax seal and a clear bottle.  It seems to be aiming for the old world meets new look but it is missing the mark by a long way.  In fact, it’s not even registering anywhere on the scoreboard.  This is all topped by the terribly out of place purple rim around the top of the bottle.

I can hear many of you crying that a beer should not be judged by looks alone.  And that be true.  However, with Abbot Ale, it all ties in together.  You see, not only is it terrible looking, when drunk it has an awful acrid aftertaste that lingers for a while.  As you move through the beverage this gets worse and instigates the gag reflex. Abbot Ale really yanks on the old saliva glands.

The one positive I can find is the very initial taste of the very first mouthful has the slightest hint of crispness about it.  That’s it through.  It ends there.  All downhill after the first hit.

If Greene King got the marketing around this a bit sharper, I feel that AA would be a much more appealing proposition and would fit into the market more astutely.  But it doesn’t.  There are many more beers out there, small batch and mass produced, that would put AA to the sword.

It’s nearly enough to turn you off drinking.

But not quite…

Sammy’s Rating: 35%




Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017