BREWER: Skinner’s Brewery, Cornwall, England

STYLE: Pale Ale

ABV: 4.8%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @Skinnersbrewery

INSTAGRAM: skinnersbrewery

DATE OF POST: 16th January 2022



Porthleven is a town in Cornwall. Now, it’s also a beer because the beer is named after the town. And that’s a fact. There you go folks.

Porthleven (the beer, not the town) is zesty, floral and light. Sounds great. Well, it would be if there were more complexity or body to bulk it out. As it is, it’s very drinkable but very unremarkable.

Now, Porthleven, the town that is, is a beautiful place. It’s somewhere that one would be able to go back to time and again and never tire. It really is worth the visit. And it’s definitely worthy of having a beer named after it. It would be nice if that beer were a little more special.

Oh well…

Sammy’s Rating: 61%



I’m not entirely sure what it is…

The colours on the label of Porthleven are great. Vibrant, yet somehow dark. Big fan. The artwork is cracking too. Anything that resembles Ricky from Trailer Park Boys on a board is going to be a big hit with me. I also LOVE the crest of the wave, that isn’t backed up with the head on this beer but from a pure visual standpoint, I love it.

However, I just was not that much of a fan of the overall appearance of the bottle. How can you like all factors of the packaging A LOT but not be a fan of the actual packaging?? Question for the experts that one as it is way beyond me.

Just before popping P the whole Untameable Pale Ale hook line got to me a bit I have to say. I mean, what the F does that even mean?? If it was 11.5% then ok, let’s talk untameable. If it knew it was carbonated beyond belief and would take the nose off of any unsuspecting lid lifter then ok, untameable. Dunno, it’s all just hot air sometimes… bit like this blog #eyeemoji

But to the beer we go and Jymi boy is a fan! The first thing that struck me was… you can tell this is a Skinnner’s brew! I then had to work out why you could tell it was a product of this fine Cornish brewery (again, an expert here would be good). Ultimately, I put it down to the mouthfeel and not the taste. Betty Stoggs and Lushingtons felt the same to me but certainly did not taste the same so it had the be the texture. That Cornish water they use has to have something to do with it, it has to (water purity expert anywhere? No? Ok).

All in all this beer didn’t blow me away but I did really enjoy it. It is light, refreshing and crisp. Alright, there isn’t too much going on complexity wise but once you got into a few of this very drinkable Pale you would do well to tame it.


Jymi’s Rating: 74%



MOB review next weekend: HOFBRAU DUNKEL by HOFBRAU

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

Twitter: @museonbooze

Instagram: muse.on.booze



BREWER: Dark Star Brewing Co., West Sussex, England


ABV: 4.2%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @Darkstarbrewco

INSTAGRAM: darkstarbrewco

DATE OF POST: 9th January 2021



I’m fairly sure we have all had those dog shit days at work followed by a journey home that really takes the piss after an already challenging day…

I hate the term, it’s just one of those days, because it’s not, it’s just about how you are felling on said day and how the negative stuff gets to you, or not as the case may be.

However, the day I had when I first met Skylab for the first time was a genuine fu**er. I won’t go into the ins and outs but the day at work could have been better and on the journey home I hit 7/7 red lights as well as queuing for 20 mins to buy a savoy cabbage.

But Skylab did greet me upon my return home. And I enjoyed it, quite a lot actually. The mini review in my head went…

Awful can, is this a rebrand? Trying VERY hard. Really nice brew though.

And I left it there.

Fast forward 8 weeks to today and I have Skylab by Asahi owned Dark Star sitting in front of me ready to go under the MOB nose officially.

My thoughts on the tin haven’t changed. I do admire the bold let’s shake this up angle and the brewery name and logo do stand out VERY well. The general artwork is also pretty cool but personally as a whole I’m not a fan. Good concept gone bad I fear.

And unfortunately the beer under test conditions only came out as average too. It’s nice, it is. And it ticks all the boxes for a session IPA with the HOP TRIO of Simcoe, Columbus and Mosaic on show. But it’s just a little underwhelming and obvious for me.

Out of this world beer it is not.

Jymi’s Rating: 61%



When your strap line is ‘Out of This World Beer’, you are setting a high bench mark by which to be judged. And that’s exactly what Dark Star has done with Skylab!

The packaging is quite clearly out of this world. Well, it’s a space scene. That’s one box successfully ticked.

But beers are not about their cans, just like books are not about their covers. And sadly, if Skylab were a book, it would not be living up to the promised out of this worldliness.

Don’t get me wrong, Skylab is not in anyway bad. It’s crisp and has a sharp fizz finish. It’s just very… average. And average in craft IPA world ain’t going to get you very far.

That being said, I’d still happily chug one down if offered at a party.

Sammy’s Rating: 65%



MOB review next weekend: PORTHLEVEN by SKINNER’S BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

Twitter: @museonbooze

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BREWER: Burnt Mill Brewery, Suffolk, England

STYLE: Coffee Porter

ABV: 6%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @BurntMillBeer

INSTAGRAM: burntmillbrewery

DATE OF POST: 2nd January 2022



I hate starting a review on a negative, even if there is no positive to be had. I fear I have done this maybe a little too much over the years. Without re-reading our 200+ reviews I think this is probably because if I don’t like the packaging of a brew I’ll more than likely mention that first. Because that is your introduction to the beer, no? So may as well report that first up.

But anyway… I really, really, really do not like Higher Grounds tin art AT ALL!!!

Do not get me wrong, it is a cracking photograph with wonderful colours… but for beer tin art accompanying that name?? Come on, did they miss the amazing play on words available here?

Anyway, onto the contents, that has no control of what it’s packed in and there is lots to report!

Now, this could have just been me or possibly the glass (though I’ve had many successful Porter visits to this vessel) but I’m blaming the brew I’m afraid. As you can see from the picture, this m*f* blew up! It took about 5 mins of settling and mini pouring to even get it to what you see in the picture. During the quite frustrating settling process a nose of lovely rich liquorice and coffee did emanate. Once the head settled / dissipated / been lip hoovered up, it was time to finally get stuck into this brew for real.

Instant thoughts were that it was quite thin in body, however it is a porter at the end of the day and to be fair its viscosity is what lead to the lovely mouthfeel. Taste was good but what happened 5 seconds after the swallow was a real masterstroke. A faint chocolate aftertaste slowly crept in and lingered. And lingered. And lingered. Utterly delightful!!!

However, the aftertaste went on soooo long that the next visit to the glass almost clashed the with aftertaste! Slightly mind-blowing stuff and it was to the detriment of the beer unfortunately.

Look, if you took an hour to drink this 440ml of Porter I think you would have quite the brew on your hands, as you would leave time for the aftertaste to do its thing. But unfortunately, I think this beer is somehow a victim of its own quality.

Most curious.

Jymi’s Rating: 67%



Come on! What a name! A coffee porter named Higher Grounds. Genius. Alright, I know not everyone will be familiar with Red Hot Chili Peppers stadium anthem. But many would have come across a cover of it, whether that be a stripped down folk version or a ramped up rave version. In fact, many will know the original by Stevie Wonder. Ok. I’m getting a little carried away. But it is a good name.

If nothing else, the head on this coffee Porter certainly reaches high heights. It’s so carbonated that a little pour nearly takes up the pint glass. Proceed with caution. You have been warned.

Going back in for a second pour and the head is back. It keeps on going. This makes HG a hard beer to pour and get large quantities in the glass.

Surprisingly, Higher Ground’s nose is actually quite sweet and for me gives no hint a flavour party inside. I have to say, I don’t find it particularly enticing.

Right. How to get this to make sense. HG definitely has the promised coffee. It’s there in abundance. From the beginning to the aftertaste coffee is punctuating this Porter. But the mouthfeel is odd. It’s syrupy upfront, which quickly dissipates to nothing.  This might be because the fizz has all come out in the head, not allowing the flavours to be carried on the carbonation.

While I don’t love everything about this brew, and it won’t be to everyone’s taste, I do absolutely love the coffee theme. Burnt Mill Brewery promised coffee, and HG delivers it in bucket loads. It’s enough to keep me coming back for more.

Sammy’s Rating: 80%



MOB review next weekend: SKYLAB by DARK STAR BREWING CO.

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

Twitter: @museonbooze

Instagram: muse.on.booze



BREWER: Beak Brewery, East Sussex, England

STYLE: Imperial Stout

ABV: 10%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @TheBeakBrewery

INSTAGRAM: thebeakbrewery

DATE OF POST: 26th December 2021



Before I get into just how flippin’ marvellous this beer is I want to get something off of my chest.

I genuinely thought when I picked this beer up from the mighty Hive bottle shop in Crowthorne that the folk over at Beak Brewery had done a collab with Mikkeller. This was because of the artwork. The character performing what I hope is an Oopla looks very much like a character that could well appear on some Mikkeller Brewing tin art, hence the confusion. I searched my tin hard for mention of this collab, but there was none. Can only conclude that no collaboration was had.

Curious, most curious.

Anyway, whatever, on to the beer…

F*** me this is a good brew!

It’s a dry, woody, tobacco nose that first gives you a hint that you may well have a major player on your hands. The next suggestion is the delicious and big vanilla, cherry and tobacco hit you get during the sip. The incredibly soft vanilla sweet aftertaste allows you to conclude that you are certainly dealing with a major player. To really ram home the quality of this Impy you suddenly remember this beer is actually 10%. Because it is so soft and smooth in the drinking it is very easy to forget that. It is a big big hit you’re getting from Oopla, but that is from the flavour, not the alcohol necessarily.

Oh well done BB… fire.

Jymi’s Rating: 93%



Oopla takes me right back to being a child. Odd remark to make about a beer, I know. But it gets even odder, because it’s the tobacco aromas that do it for me. Well, for those of you that can’t remember, time where folks used to light up inside. And that smoke had a homely distinctive aroma (warning, nicotine is addictive). Anyway, suffice to say, the nose on Oopla is heady.

Forget aroma though, beer is all about the drinking. And Oopla is phenomenal. The tobacco nose carries right into the drinking, where it’s paired up with chocolate notes and a little hint of liquorice. These combined notes are so well balanced it’s a wonder that Beak Brewery have managed to pull it off. Hats off to them though.

This brew is thick, unctuous, full of points of difference… it’s lush in the mouth and well worth the journey.

I know I love a stout. But Oopla is simply astounding. Please, make time in your (beer) schedule to get your hands on one of these. Believe me, it’s worth it for the experience. One for those special occasions…

Sammy’s Rating: 94%


MOB review next weekend: HIGHER GROUNDS by BURNT MILL

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

Twitter: @museonbooze

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BREWER: Mad Squirrel, Hertfordshire, England

STYLE: Doppelbock

ABV: 7.5%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @madsquirrelbrew

INSTAGRAM: madsquirrelbrew

DATE OF POST: 19th December 2021



Lager? Well, yes Abbey Doppelbock is. And that might surprise many as the first striking thing about this brew is the colour is somewhere between a dark bitter and a stout. Interesting.

When you first tuck in to Abbey, there’s a lovely rich flavour. Its deep and heavy to begin with then moving to a light finish. While it’s not complex in flavour, the drinking experience is unique because of this shift from heavy weight up front to light fizz at the end. This carries the malty flavour really well and gives Abbey a nice natural earthiness.

Although this is a lager, it’s defo one for the colder months.

Sammy’s Rating: 76%



See, a Dopplebock, for those who don’t know (as I did not until about 5 years ago) is a German style beer originally brewed by Munchen Monks way back when… Our info laden tin tells us this. Our info laden tin also tells us this beer is called Abbey, in tribute to the aforementioned Munchen Monks. Just a genius name, simple, but genius.

But it is at this point some may have a wobble. An ancient German style beer being brewed in a town North West of London famous for factory explosions and a fu**ed up roundabout. Now, I personally didn’t have a wobble as I know what is possible in the craft beer world nowadays, but I have to admit that a please Mad Squirrel, don’t have messed this up thought did cross my mind.

But those Squirrel’s had not messed it up. Our furry little Hemel Hempstead based friends had flippin’nailed it!!!

What a great beer!!

Creamy and smooth as, bringing sweetish tones in the mouth moving to bittersweet in the swallow. There is a fudge/caramel undertone here that is nothing short of fantastic and balanced out perfectly by the strong taste coming from the big boy ABV. What is worrying about this brew is that you could deffo get stuck into a few, but at this strength even a White Rhino would do well to not fall into a canal on the way to the bog.

A thoroughly enjoyable beer though. Great job indeed team MS.

Jymi’s Rating: 91%


MOB review next weekend: OOPLA by BEAK BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

Twitter: @museonbooze

Instagram: muse.on.booze




BREWER: Desnoes & Geddes, Kingston, Jamaica

STYLE: Stout

ABV: 7.5%

VESSEL: 284ml brown bottle

TWITTER: #dragonstout

INSTAGRAM: dragonstoutja

DATE OF POST: 12th December 2021



Dragons are known for their fierceness and fire breathing ability. Let’s hope Dragon Stout delivers a product to match that legend.

So, straight up I obviously get why there’s a dragon on the label. I just don’t personally love it. The mystical roaring giant lizard doesn’t quite work for me on a stout. But hey – each to their own.

Stouts are not known for their aroma. But Dragon Stout promises so much from the outside. It just doesn’t have anything to back it up.

Right, into the drinking. DS is Surprisingly sweet which is ok but for me it’s not ever going to top my stout list.  There’s some pull in the aftertaste but to be honest it’s over before it’s even started.

If I step back and look at DS, the truth is it’s not doing too much at all. And it’s for this that I can’t quite get on with DS. It’s just a bit of an anti-climax.

Simple not much going on. Not terrible but not a world beater. DS is more of a fizz than a fire breathing stout.

Sammy’s Rating: 57%



I was scared… I don’t know why…

Dragons don’t scare me, well not too much anymore.

Stout doesn’t scare me, I flipping love stout, especially in December.

7.5% beers used to scare me but it is not unusual to have beers at this weight nowadays. So it’s almost par for the course.

So why was I scared?

I think all three of these things coming together did not help when added to the red on black label… it looks great, but it also looks very aggressive.

Anyway, what we have here is a drinkable, but not remarkable, Stout.

The nose is weak and the taste is strong, almost medicinal.  Dragon is thin in the mouth but once swallowed begins to fire. Chocolate hints and warming whiskey notes keep you interested in this brew. All said though this dark beer only makes it to the totally fine… but meh, beer bracket.

Jymi’s Rating: 63%


MOB review next weekend: ABBEY by MAD SQUIRREL

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

TWITTER: @museonbooze

INSTAGRAM: muse.on.booze


BREWER: Stardust, Berkshire, England

STYLE: Stout

ABV: 4.2%

VESSEL: 330ml tin

TWITTER: @stardustbrewery

INSTAGRAM: stardustbrewery 

DATE OF POST: 5th December 2021



Is Just Stout a world beater? Nope.

Is it in fact, Just Stout. Yep.

Is that a problem? Absolutely flippin’ not.

The whole theme get’s going with an unassuming tin. No craziness. No wild art. Just a very smart tin, a tin of Just Stout.

Nose wise again, not mind boggling, not fancy, very nice however. And you know what, it smells just like Stout. Funny that.

Taste is a warming caramel with a lovely dry finish. Straight to the point, no messin’, kinda Stout like, ya know…

And the more I think of it, the better the name of this brew becomes. Not many craft brewers just do a Stout nowadays.

Blueberry Muffin oatmeal Nitro Stout…tonnes of ‘em.

27.4% Coffee & molasses imperial double triple chocolate Stout collab with I’m a Big Boy Now Brewing Co, flippin’ millions it would seem.

But Just Stout, not many at all.

Sometimes you just want a good simple dark brew. And Stardust have delivered.

Jymi’s Rating: 75%



Just Stout: Great name; Great packaging.

This is a good start. I’ve been looking forward to diving into this stout from Stardust Brewery.

The first thing to note is that this bad boy is quite highly carbonated for a stout. I’m passing no judgement on that – it’s just an observation.

However, where I will pass judgement is on the beer itself (of course). And my overall view is that Stardust have made a solid stout.

Just Stout is nutty upfront, which gives way to a light fizz ending, all polished off by a slight bitterness. This does two things: it makes it a very pleasant drink and it makes it quite light for a stout. But where JS comes into its own, it’s in its session ability. Many stouts can be quite heavy. But this isn’t.

So, if your looking for a lighter stout that is still unmistakably a stout, look no further.

Sammy’s Rating: 85%



MOB review next weekend: DRAGON STOUT by DESNOES & GEDDES


Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

Twitter: @museonbooze

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BREWER: Otter Brewery, Devon, England


ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @otterbrewery

INSTAGRAM: otterbrewery

DATE OF POST: 28th November 2021



Otter Ale is by no means remarkable. However, in saying that, I don’t want to leave the impression that it’s poor. Because it’s not.  No, what Otter Ale is, is a solid brew.

There’s no point of difference. No particular stand out feature. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means Otter is walking a safe path. And at times, a safe path is what one wants. We know where we are on such a route. We are not at risk of being challenged.

So, my advice to you is give Otter Ale a go. But, perhaps, if you’re looking for something a little more interesting, then may I suggest that this might not tick the box that you’re looking to fill.

Sammy’s Rating: 73%






This is a familiar beer to me but only in sight not sip. See, I’ve seen this river dweller brew on many a supermarket shelf but it has now dawned on me that I’ve never actually tried it, which is a shame as it’s actually a really nice drop. There is a theory as to why I haven’t tried her however. The packaging is, for me anyway, a bit s**t. I mean, it all works when it comes to a trad ale bottle look but it just seems so unappealing to me. It’s odd I don’t like it though, as our little Otter dude on the front is really cool but overall… I dunno, it’s just not for me.

But the beer itself, if not an absolute superstar, is a little south-western gem…

A lovely rich nose leads the way, backed up by something almost approaching cherry in the look of the brew in the glass. The richness continues into the sip which comes along with a very good mouthfeel (BROUGHT TO YOU BY DEVON’S FINEST SPRINGWATER). A good hoppy backdrop and subtle linger then creeps in and I found myself doing the classic beer reviewer nod whilst sipping and noting.


It’s a good beer this. Readily available and affordable enough. Go and get does say Jymi.


Jymi’s Rating: 79%



MOB review next weekend: JUST STOUT by STARDUST

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

Twitter: @museonbooze

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BREWER: Hepworth, West Sussex, England

STYLE: Pale Ale

ABV: 3.5%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @hepworthsbeer

INSTAGRAM: hepworthbrewery

DATE OF POST: 21st November 2021



Nowadays we expect a beer marked as a craft pale ale to have that hallmark tropical nose. That’s not the case with Sussex. But then, neither is the traditional label, which I happen to quite like.  The nose, however, is a little unremarkable and more reminiscent of a golden ale rather that a pale.

Onto the drinking… which is…. Interesting.

Again, definitely not like a craft pale. In fact nothing like you might expect at all. There’s a hint of sauerkraut about it. Yes folks, I did just liken it to sauerkraut. This gives way to cut grass. And as awful as this sounds, it is funnily enough not altogether unpleasant. That having been said, it ain’t setting the world alight either.

Not what you’d expect on any front. But worthy of whetting your palate with.

Sammy’s Rating: 62%



What we have here is a very thin, almost water like, textured beer. However, whilst this beer is far from great, it is without doubt saved by a good hop punch in the sip n swallow. The whole experience of this brew is a little clunky but I did quite enjoy it overall to be fair. But the long and short of it is this… Without the hop hit finish this beer would be poor. I think in the brew it is relatively poor anyway, but as mentioned, somehow I did enjoy.

Jymi’s Rating: 64%


MOB review next weekend: OTTER ALE by OTTER BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

Instagram: muse.on.booze

Twitter: @museonbooze



BREWER: Hunter’s Brewery, Devon, England

STYLE: Speciality Ale

ABV: 4%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle 

TWITTER: @huntersbrewery

INSTAGRAM: #Huntersbrewery

DATE OF POST: 14th November 2021



A concept that turned my head, maybe not in an exorcist style, but turn my head it did. See what we have here with Crispy Pig is an apple flavoured ale. Not something I particularly liked the sound of but the concept of it being brewed to be paired with a hog roast was an interesting one to say the least. And why not, apples are pretty nice and inoffensive (even if a bit cidery!) and as we all know apples and pork go together magnificently well. As does beer and hog roast. So we should be in business here. Testing, however did not take place whilst at an agriculture show chowing down on some slow cooked pork. So I can only comment on the beer itself and not the food pairing, which to be fair is what Muse on Booze is here to do, Rate beer…

… and unfortunately the beer we have here is not really up to much.

We begin with a pleasant enough apple nose and a beer that looked very good in the glass I have to say. Before sipping the brew the sight and see was actually quite appealing but as soon as the glass hit the lips dem apples came a tumbling down.

The main problem in the sip is there is a lot of fizz going on, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s over carbonated but whilst sipping it really does tingle the tongue (for want of a better term). The beer is light and appley so without this fizz up could be considered sessionable but because of it it really is not.  And to be honest the taste once you’re settled into the brew is just a bit odd. It’s not a Graf. It’s not a cider. It is a beer, yes, but at points tastes like those two aforementioned styles. I am just not sure here. I think with a better end result I’d be writing I don’t care what it is, it tastes great… but it doesn’t, so we are where we are.

Jymi’s Rating: 39%



I love it when things make sense. Simple. And Hunter’s have made Crispy Pig make sense. It’s brewed with the aroma of apples to accompany a hog roast. See. It makes sense. And if you don’t believe me, well, it says it on the label.

Except it isn’t actually that simple!

Now, here’s where things get a little more complicated…

Being brewed with essences of apples, it’s hardly surprising that Crispy Pig smells like apples. And yes, you’re right, cider also smells of apples so there could be some similarities. But then when you drink CP, it doesn’t taste like cider although there’s definitely a hint of it.  This makes it a strange drinking experience, and this strangeness is doubled down with a weak finish.

Look, I like to promote different things. And I love a different way to look at a beer. But CP just isn’t for me.  It’s a little too odd.

Lots of ticks in terms of concept. It just falls down in the delivery for me.

Sammy’s Rating: 48%



MOB review next weekend: SUSSEX by HEPWORTH

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

TWITTER : @museonbooze

INSTAGRAM : muse.on.booze