PEDIGREE

 

BREWER: Marston’s, Staffordshire

STYLE: Amber Ale 

ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 500ml bottle 

TWITTER: @MarstonsBrewery

MOB RATING: 61%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

# Good old John Marston, a great Victorian bloke, he brought us Marston’s, the finest beer from casks of oak. Brewed the great Victorian way, up until the present day and Pedigree’s the finest brew in all the land, HOOOOORAAAAAY #

But is it, is it the finest brew in all the land?

No. Simple as that.

I mean it’s ok, but it is most certainly not living up to that very bold statement that I seem to recall was slung out there as an advertising campaign when I was a lad.

However, there are highs and there are lows when it comes to Pedigree as a whole package. And those highs and lows seem to come in varying levels of intensity as you move through the experience.

Ok, the look of bottle, very average. I like the Red and Black but that’s where it ended…well, I thought. Once I began to investigate what information had been bunged on the label I was met with a whole hoard of facts regarding the packaging and what I was drinking. The best of which was being told who the chap on the front of the bottle was (he was the head brewer at the time a staff competition was run to rename the beer formally known simply as ‘P’). See, loads of facts hey?! And I have to say it influenced my thoughts on the overall packaging. The look still isn’t great but understanding it definitely got this Midlands brew a few more marks. So after a low followed by a high we get to the nose, and let me tell you, it was a huge low, it was a HORROR SHOW! It smells like fuel, and I have to say it totally put me off drinking it. But I thought as I was mid review I had better proceed as didn’t want to let our 6 followers down 😉 So, as I’ve already mentioned, the taste is ok at best and certainly not the finest brew in all the land. However Pedigree is creamy smooth and actually goes down a treat to be fair.

Not bad. Not good. The end.

 

Jymi’s Rating: 60%

 

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Sometimes, the brand design pulls one in straight from the start.  Often, the packaging suffices and does a decent enough job of tempting the drinker into the amber world of the ale contained within the said packaging.  Very rarely though, there is the product design that is so bad that it takes an effort to get over.  In my, humble it must be said, opinion, this is the case with Marston’s encasement of Pedigree.  I would like to liken it to a villain in a film, such as Darth Vader, but that would be far too generous to it because film baddies are very often so loved and designed to have some form of connection with their audience.  This packaging has no connection on any level.  So in that case, at least the design is unique – but for all the wrong reasons.  It really is that bad it took a mammoth effort for me to pull Pedigree out from its shelf on the fridge, where it had been nestled for some time and had become accustomed to.  I think you get the picture – I do not like the packaging on Pedigree: Marston’s, what were you thinking?

So let’s get over the high-jump equivalent of a hurdle to what really matters – the contents.   The nose is light and malty and doesn’t fade over time.  Those light aromas hang pleasantly in the nasal cavity and lead you to believe that there is much to come from Pedigree.  And the taste, like the smell, is light with a clear bitter backdrop.  There’s not too much length in the after-drinking but to be fair to Pedigree that’s very much in keeping with its nose a taste.  It lends itself to being a pleasant session beer.

And that’s the problem – it’s pleasant at best.  I don’t mean that as an insult to Pedigree but rather there are many more ales in this category that stand so much taller than it does.  It’s neither here nor there but somewhere in the middle.  For many that will work nicely.  For me, it needs to do more.  It needs to be better than pleasant.  The very fact that the appalling packaging has heaviest weighting in this review should speak volumes to you all.

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Sammy’s Rating: 62%

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 61% 

 

 

MOB review next weekend: DEAD PONY CLUB by BREWDOG

AND IT WILL BE OUR HALF BIRTHDAY TOO!! HOW FLIPPIN’ EXCITING!!

6 MONTHS IN ALREADY, WHO WOULDA THUNK IT 

DPC PREVIEW

WHAT’S COOLER THAN BEING COOL? FOLLOWING US ON TWITTER OBVIOUSLY: @MUSEONBOOZE

WOLF WARNING IPA

We’re off over the North Sea to Scandinavia this weekend where we have a guest reviewer named JLarc to let us know his thoughts on this curious looking IPA. 

Hope you enjoy and have a most splendid weekend..    

BREWER: Sofiero Brewery, Halland County

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 5.5%

VESSEL: 330ml tin

TWITTER: @sofierobeer 

MOB RATING: 76%

JYMI SAY’S…

I’d like to think that we’ve all have all had that moment in our lives when younger (though of course not everyone has) where your Great Aunt Bethyl used to force feed you IPA…. sorry, Toffees, whilst sitting on a bench looking out over the vast sea. You could sit there chewing that buttery sweet for what seemed like forever, dreaming of becoming either a Pirate or Marine Biologist specialising in the annual movements and feeding patterns of the Cyprinodon Diabolis.

Fast forward some years and you could quite easily find yourself in a similar situation (though sadly fabricated Bethyl passed away in an unfortunate sit-on lawnmower incident). There you are, sitting on a bench looking out over the vast sea sipping on a very nice brew named Wolf Warning, the large buttery tones of toffee take you back, back to the time you dreamt of Piracy or Marine Biology, or in my case… BOTH!

This is a genuinely good IPA. The can tells us what we’re going to get and it delivers on it.

It’s smooth as hell, really tasty and pretty good you know! Not a huge amount more to say about it taste wise.

When it comes to the look of the tin though, I’m not totally sold. Yet again there is huge promise but it just isn’t quite there …. It’s a bit of a can of two halves. The top half with the matt silver back drop and black drawing of a triplane and moody clouds just looks ace. However the bottom half is really muddled and the Wolf Warning Triangle doesn’t do much for flow of the packaging. Overall the look isn’t all that appealing for a boy named Jymi.

All in all we have a good tasting ale here that isn’t that hard to come across, so when you see one, I say grab…. Twelve.

Jymi’s Rating: 75%

SAMMY SAY’S…

Craft Warning has two brands: Wolf Warning and Elk Warning.  The ‘Wolf’ are beer based products (lager, double brew lager and IPA) while the ‘Elk’ are cider based beverages.

Let us first begin with the obvious and let us not ignore the elephant in the room: this offering from a small brewery in Southern Sweden has an eye-catching, clever design.  Whoever is in-charge of marketing and creativity at Craft Warning deserves a good old-fashioned pat on the back and three cheers because they have produced an outstanding can – no two ways about it.   This beer stands out on the shelf and offers assurances of big things in a market that has some very stiff competition…

Once opened, the nose on this IPA is a definite nod to its crafty cousins (from well-established craft brewing houses) and carries a fruity, slightly apricot based, aroma.  And we all know that’s a hit.  Sweet and tempting, it promises to be another belter of a beer, one which could be enjoyed as readily on a long summer’s evening just as easily as it could on a chilly winter’s night in front of the fire.

On drinking, Wolf Warning IPA doesn’t quite live up to the big hitters that it’s pitched against.  Although the flavour is decent, it lacks in the depth and the length that the standout beers in this arena give in abundance.  But that said, it is good, and it is definitely not to be ignored.

While Wolf Warning IPA has some tough, and frankly better, opposition, it’s not one to be ignored on the shelf.  And with packaging such as it has, who could ignore it anyway? 

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Sammy’s Rating: 77%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 76% 

JLARC SAY’S…

After a long, hard day in the matrix what better task could you have than to sup on a beer supplied by the Muse on Booze crew for guest review? Sat; feet up, football on, Wolf Warning IPA can cracked open, here we go…

I can’t say I’ve ever (knowingly) consumed a beer brewed in Sweden before, so I didn’t really know what to expect from this. Could it swing the way of Swedish cuisine… bizarre flavour combinations that on the odd occasion come together to form something far greater than the sum of its parts but on other occasions are just plain weird. Or was this to be a more middle-of-the-road IPA?

Wolf Warning IPA pours a beautiful, clear amber with a thin creamy colour head. Maybe it was the contrast between the warm inviting glow of the beer and the cold, dead look of the weather outside – this beer looked particularly appetising. Or maybe I was just cluckin’…

Quite flat on the nose, slightly floral with mild zesty fruit notes. Nothing special but nothing offensive.

Wolf Warning is rather dry but lifted by faint citrus notes sometimes resembling a mild, sweet marmalade, there’s that zesty citrus note somewhere in there but it mostly gets tempered by creamy malts and notes of toffee.

I could’ve quite happily sat and drunk three or four of these but after that I fear the tang would get me. All-in-all a pleasant enough beer but it doesn’t stand out and certainly doesn’t make the list of beers that I would traverse in to the upside-down to acquire a crate of. Also, you probably wouldn’t have to as it seems to be available at some of the big boy supermarkets. On reflection, it fits the middle-of-the-road bracket rather than a Swedish masterpiece, but it’s still a decent enough tipple

JLarc’s Rating: 64%

MOB review next weekend: PEDIGREE by MARSTONS

PEDIGREE

LOOKIN’ TO BE THE SLICKEST KAT IN TOWN? THEN FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @MUSEONBOOZE

 

WHITE TIPS

 

The weekend has landed party people! Time to sit back, relax and crack a beer. And we have the wise words of a guest reviewer named simply, OJ, to accompany those aforementioned actions… 

Have a goodun 🙂  

WHITE TIPS

 

BREWER: Siren Craft Brew, Berkshire 

STYLE: White IPA

ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 330ml bottle

TWITTER: @sirencraftbrew

MOB RATING: 84.5%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Right, just to get us started, this is a mighty fine beer! Mighty fine. For me it’s offering something a little different too. It’s hard to say exactly what but the first sip drew a Kenneth Williams style, ‘OOOOOH ELLO’ out of me from nowhere! I think the taste is somewhere between lemon and biscuit, which sounds a little odd I know, but honestly it’s superb! What you definitely get taste wise from each sip is a very intense flavour which quickly fades away into something quite lovely but then somehow that intensity returns with the aftertaste. None of this is a bad thing by the way, it is a very enjoyable flavour rollercoaster believe me.

The nose is full of brilliant citrus and WT is smooth enough seeing as she is fairly carbonated. I wouldn’t put it down as a classic session ale but it does have a real moreish feel to it that would keep you coming back for more, no doubt.

Now the packaging has left me all at sea (please excuse that unintentional pun but I’m just going to roller with it).

Do I like the look of White Tips? : Yes

Do I love the look of White Tips? : No

Why don’t you love the look of White Tips Jymi? (didn’t see me interviewing myself when starting this write up!) : Well the concept is great with some of the finer detail like small pieces of citrus fruit within the wave being an understated highlight, but there is just something not right about it.

Is it the rolling waves and white tips not being large enough or even clear enough? Not sure.

Is it the beautiful blue ocean colour not sitting particularly well on a brown bottle? Not sure.

Is the name too small on the label? Not sure.

Is it probably a mix of all these things? Yeah, I’d say so. As I said, I do like the look but think with a few tweaks could be way better.

But the main thing is White Tips tastes splendid and if you happen to see one, go ride that wave baby.

Jymi’s Rating: 82%

 

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

White Tips is a cracking beer.  There’s no two ways about it.  It is cracking.

Packaged in a standard brown bottle, the label stands out and states what this beer is about: citrus and hops. 

On the nose, White Tips is heady.  It’s many things that you’d dream of in a craft brew: fruity and deep.  One could keep on sniffing this all night long and never get bored. 

The taste is magnificent.  It’s what you’d hop(e) for and more.  What it lacks in length, it makes up for in intensity.  And my goodness me is it intense?  Trust me, it’s so intense that the bottle is gone before you realize that you’ve even started. 

I can’t say much more for White Tips: try it (now) / (when available again as this is a seasonal beer) 

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Sammy’s Rating: 87%

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 84.5% 

 

OJ SAY’S…

Let’s kick things off with a confession. As a beer drinker, I’m lazy. I keep it fairly simple and don’t give many different types or varieties much of a try, ‘I drink what I like and I like what I bloody well drink’ as Boycott would probably say. I once asked for a lager at CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival. So I’m not used to picking up on the fine nuances that these small breweries are so keen to create and differentiate themselves in what is now a burgeoning industry full of myriad competitors.

You’re no doubt thinking, ‘nice choice of guest reviewer S&J’, but I mention it because I almost treated this like any other beer but upon firing it open, I poured it, and then stopped, for a variety of reasons. I hadn’t expected the smell or the colour of it and it stopped me in my tracks. I don’t really pay any attention to my sense of smell when it comes to beers but what a beer to have drawn for my guest week because pouring this one took me hurtling back through time; lost Glaswegian lunchtimes in the Republic Bier Halle (tagline – ‘it’ll all end in biers’, genius), chunky pint glasses of Hoegaarden with orange garnish, memories of stag dos in Germany as cloudy as the beer, right back to the box of ‘Beers from Around the World’ I was given as a regular Christmas present.

Basically, I hadn’t realised it was going to be a weißbier (sharp, me) and upon pouring it I was intrigued and drawn back to the packaging. I suddenly started noticing the citrus fruit slices next to the wheat, the diving mermaid tails, all of this framing the crashing green, white tipped wave. It all suddenly clicked, I was driven to their website, the Sirens of Greek (well, Finchampstead) Mythology drawing me in further and further, lulling me to learn more about this beer and the brewery, hooking me like the barbed tip of the S on the logo… Let me know if I get too carried away.

Anyway, once I’d finished obsessing over the packaging and had actually read the back, I realised it was their expression of a Witbier (which Google informs me is Dutch rather than the weißbier of Germany) and it was time to get stuck in. In short, it’s a cracker. A very smooth taste with just the right levels of citrus undertone ensuring there was no tang or sour taste that can haunt beers like these sometimes. It’s very smooth, I’m not sure it’s one I could get into a proper session on but the appeal of these beers is the chance to drink something very different, incredibly refreshing, but one to move on from after a few.

I’d thoroughly recommend getting yourself down to Siren Craft Brewery if you get a chance and getting your hands on this Seasonal IPA to give it a try for yourself. Really enjoyed their website as well and how passionate they seem about their calling (love the recipes).

Lucked out with this one, hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

OJ’s Rating: 84%

 

 

MOB review next weekend: WOLF WARNING IPA by SOFIERO BREWERY

WOLF WARNING PREEEV

if you wanna be super cool then follow us on twitter : @museonbooze 

 

200

200

 

BREWER: Palmers, Dorset

STYLE: English Bitter

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 500ml bottle

MOB RATING: 49.5%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I can’t quantify what I’m about to say because I wasn’t about back in the day nor am I a brewer BUT….

Back in the day, brewers used to be able to get away with knocking out beers to flog with some pretty standardized labelling and as long as you had a good reputation or a decent sales patter (or even better, both) you would do just fine.

Nowadays, competition is fierce, there are fresh brewers popping up all over the world everyday and a fair chunk of them are putting out some pretty decent, if not incredible, stuff. Not to mention some of the packaging out there today really is… out there.

So you have to stand out from the rest… and Palmers 200 does, but for all the wrong reasons I’m afraid.

I’d like to think the M.O. for the label wasn’t, ‘make it look as rubbish as you possibly can’, but if it was, whoever was put in charge nailed it. I genuinely can’t believe that something that looks so bad and dated could make it off the design table. Take away the weird red ribbons and the shambolic coastal picture and it might not be too bad. But we can’t can we, the image has been burned onto our retinas forever, so therefore IT. IS. BAD! Even down to the font telling us the quantity and percentage, it just looks like such little effort has gone in. Hopefully it’s not a sign of complacency or arrogance from a brewer that has been around for well over 200 years now.

I’m sure you can tell I’m none too happy so far but I have to say, it doesn’t get worse, but it doesn’t get better either…

The beer is pretty shabby I have to be honest. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I hated it, but I definitely didn’t like it. Starting with the nose, my instant thought on initial sniff was, “my life, that smells like a drip tray”. Now I know some folk have a thing for drip trays, but Jymi isn’t one of them.

It is pretty smooth to be fair, and if it tasted better you could have a truly enjoyable evening with 200 and some chums down a Dorset local.

But, the taste really isn’t great and I thought with their bicentenary beer these guys, with so much history would have done a whole lot better.

 

Jymi’s Rating: 46%

 

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Let’s be clear, 200 is an uninspiring name for an ale.  So uninspiring in fact, I had to motivate myself to try Palmer’s flagship beer.  Once I’d psyched myself to get over the aforementioned name issue, I was then faced with the packaging.  And on the positive side…it is packaged and one doesn’t have to cup one’s hands to create a vessel to drink it.  That’s it.  It’s packaged.  There are no other positive I can gather from this offering around first impressions.  Literally none.

 Not a good start.

 Moving onto the actual drinking, the nose is not great.  It’s distinctively mediocre and the malt notes are hardly anything to write home about.  Or anything to write to anyone about for that matter.  Then when you do get over the name, the packaging and the nose you finally come to drink 200.  And the drinking is exactly like all other factors of this beer: average.  There are malty notes and it is full bodied.  But it lacks depth and distinctiveness.

 200 most certainly is not one for me.  There will be those out there that like it…somewhere.  It’s not offensive.  It’s just not interesting or exciting. 

 Not a good ending.

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Sammy’s Rating: 53%

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 49.5% 

 

 

MOB review next weekend:

WHITE TIPS by SIREN CRAFT BREW  

PROPER JOB

 

It’s a chilly ol’ Friday in the UK but we have the warming thoughts of a guest reviewer named Rocco to get us through.. As well as the usual tosh from Sammy and Jymi.

Fire on, slippers on, beer on… Let’s go 

PROPER JOB

 

BREWER: St Austell, Cornwall 

STYLE: IPA 

ABV: 5.5%

VESSEL: 500ml bottle 

MOB RATING: 80%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

‘Proper Job’ is a phrase that evokes all kinds of lovely memories from when little Jymi was an even littler Jymi..

I was fortunate enough as a lad to spend many a summer on my Auntie and Uncle’s farm down in Cornwall. The farm had many vast and stretching fields and sat on top of a hill looking into a valley and onward to the next hill in the distance. The view was breathtaking.

But it wasn’t the long hazy summer day’s stomping in the fields that gave me the greatest memories of my trips to Cornwall. Nor was it the amazing breakfasts my Auntie cooked to accompany the already mentioned view of an early morning. Nope, it was the Autumn time, late Autumn into early winter, when stuff got really muddy and dogs and grown men got very excited. The time when my Uncle’s buddy Peter would rock up pre shoot and shout…

”ALRIGHT JAMES”??

“Yeah good Peter, how’s you”?

“PROPER JOB BOY, PROPER JOB”

Now, I’ve got to be honest, I’m still not totally sure I ever really understood what Peter was ever going on about but I do know he was a champion of a man and those two words will always take me back to my time in Cornwall as a boy.

But, does the beer live up to the name that I clearly adore?

Quite simply, yes. It is an absolute beauty!

Taste wise, we have that lovely crisp and hoppy hit of a modern ale but the notes of a traditional IPA haven’t been left behind. The nose brings incredible sharp shots of fresh citrus and even though PJ is packing a punch percentage wise it really is the type of beer you could while away the afternoon with.

Very good you St Austell boys, very good indeed.

 Jymi’s Rating: 80%

 

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

St Austell is a fairly small affair of a brewery.  Based in Cornwall, they are making a mark in the national scene.  And it’s Proper Job that they are using to drive this. It’s a departure from old school ales, yet not quite into the world of craftiness. I feel that St Austell’s intention is to make a bold statement with Proper Job…

Bottled up and packaged, Proper Job looks good. Not ground breaking but…decent.  And decent in the beer world is good.  It’s clear where this beer is being targeted in the market.  Neither hipster nor moustache wetting it be – somewhere smack bang in the middle.   

The nose is strong and fruity, which leads you to believe you are in for a hoppy treat.  And in this case your nose doesn’t lie.  Those strong hoppy notes follow through into the beer.  They climb out of the glass and give you a big smack in the face.  Me personally, I like being smacked in the face in such a manner. But the crux of it is that drinking Proper Job is very pleasurable, even delightful dare I say. However, that having been said, for those of you not keen on the hoppy numbers this one won’t be for you.

 Proper Job is the proper job.  There’s really not much to moan about with this beer.

Sammy’s Rating: 80%

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 80% 

 

 

ROCCO SAY’S…

As a huge fan & regular visitor to the West Country, providing a review on this classic IPA instantly puts a smile on my face. I have had the pleasure of drinking many of the St Austell classics over the years and this is certainly one of them.

 Proper Job…. Nothing could describe this modern IPA better.  I like to say the words “Proper Job” out loud after my first sip when I am home dreaming of being in Cornwall. It makes my world a better place.

Another upside of the bottled Proper job weighing in at 5.5% ABV as opposed to the Cask 4.5% you really taste the citrus flavour with a fine bitter finish, its packed with PROPER flavours.

Proper job on draft is a cracking session beer, look no further than The Farmer Arms, St Merryn (Just outside of Padstow) for the ultimate pint.

 This beer is thoroughly recommended, well done St Austall brewery. Keep them coming.

Rocco’s Rating: 84%

MOB review next weekend: 200 by PALMERS

WATERCRESS WARRIOR

Another weekend is upon us, another MOB review is here, and by Jove we have another guest reviewer! A man that goes by the name of…. Panther. 

Let’s go Wild Cat’s..

WATERCRESS WARRIOR TWO

 

BREWER: Cerne Abbas Brewery, Dorset

STYLE: English Bitter

ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 500ml bottle

MOB RATING: 59.5%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

We all want the small guy (in business terms) to do well.  We are all rooting for the underdog.  We all want the small brewer to bring out a corker.  And we all want to be the one to discover that corker and share it to the world.

So, here we have Watercress Warrior.  From the small batch brewer that we are all rooting for.  It has a clear USP.  Cerne Abbas Brewery clearly know what they’re about.  I like that.  They know where they want to go and what they believe in. Does this mean they delivered that absolute corker of a beer?

Sadly not with Watercress Warrior.  Once in the glass, this ale has a very unpleasant nose.  The watercress does come through, but it’s not fresh and vibrant, as one might hope.  In fact, it’s stale.  The same with the taste.  Watercress is all over it, but not pleasantly.  Let me be clear, the taste isn’t horrendous, it would be unfair to say that; it’s just not stand-out, as it should be.   

From bottle to pour to drinking, Watercress Warrior just isn’t that discovery we all hope it will be.  It’s underwhelming.  If you do ever happen across it – keep on walking.    

Sammy’s Rating: 55%

 

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I have a dream! Actually, I HAD a dream! So we’re more along the lines of Bobby Ewing’s wife Pam here rather than Martin Luther King Jr.

Let me explain. I cracked open my Watercress Warrior to be met with the utterly overwhelming smell of WATERCRESS. Once drinking was met with a dark soupy beer that tasted massively of WATERCRESS. It was so thick that due to the viscosity alone it actually took several minutes to come out the glass even though I had turned it upside down and put my open eye underneath it….

I then I awoke. Pam style. The whole thing had been an awful, awful dream.

Now, there had to be something to this. All week I had been wondering what Watercress Warrior was going to be like, because to be frank, the name and look of it filled me with fear and trepidation.

Test day came along and I scored the packaging and name accordingly. I actually awarded five marks for the smiley face having been put on the famous Cerne Abbas giant and also the fact that he had a bunch of watercress in his hand (which, until I looked closer, had thought was a bunch of hops). No further marks were awarded however as for me the overall look of the bottle is awful.

Things then began to look up. The nose of this beer the second the lid was removed was fantastic but strangely faded to something quite odd once in the glass.

The taste is very bitter and almost quite harsh on the palate but I actually I think it’s a good ol’ drop! I really quite enjoyed it. And to be honest, after all the worry about how watercressy this ale was going to be, I found myself a little disappointed that there wasn’t more heat and punch to it in the end!

 

Jymi’s Rating: 64%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 59.5% 

 

 

PANTHER SAY’S…

The Watercress Warrior, where to start on this, It’s got me. You first look at the bottle and think “standard” then you look at the grafts in detail and they do not disappoint, who doesn’t want a cave man wielding a club, holding some watercress and his old Jonson standing to attention. Honestly who doesn’t’ want this?

I wasn’t sure having hops and watercress would ever work and I was not looking forward to tasting this. The initial sip filled my mouth with everything you want in an ale, light, hops and yeasty! But then you get this after taste that I’m not sure of. Swilling the second (much larger) gulp around my mouth trying to understand what that first lingering tang was and still not being able to think what it could be. After continuing on for the rest of the bottle it finally hit me, watercress warrior, It’s watercress. And now all I can think of is growing up eating egg and watercress sarnies walking to school. It totally side tracked me, now I’m back in the room.

I’m not totally convinced by Watercress Warrior the swill and gulp has a great first impression but I just can’t get over the after taste it leaves. I’m a lover of session ales and always keen to try new things but for me this is just a “one off”, for me the best part of this 4.5% 500ml drink is the artistry! I’m a massive fan of the watercress wielding caveman.

PWW

Panther’s Rating: 65%

 

 

OLD CRAFTY HEN

OLD CRAFTY HEN

 

BREWER: Morland, Oxfordshire

STYLE: Strong English Ale

ABV: 6.5%

VESSEL: 500ml bottle

MOB RATING: 63.5%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

It’s all going on with this one!! Let me get straight to it..

Old Crafty Hen in it’s bottle looks wise is not great for me. The generic and ossified Morland Octagon as always takes centre stage and just looks tired, dull and uninspiring. It’s slightly saved by the label’s black colouring and the actual colour of the ale, but overall the packaging is poor.

Now I don’t hate the name, BUT, let’s be honest, it’s not the best. The generic ‘Hen’ thing has begun to get on my nerves… Reason being the beginnings of Hen were from Old Speckled which wasn’t even a flippin’ Hen, it was a car! But Morland then just ran with the Hen theme. I mean it doesn’t even make sense…. the beers are named after Hens from a beer that was named after a car, I mean…….. I’m ranting aren’t I…. Move on Jymi..

The nose of this ale nearly knocked me off my chair. It certainly made me lean back with much vigour! Very strong, very medicinal, not very nice.

Not going too well at the moment is it?!!

This is an incredibly strong tasting big brew. The thought of having a second bottle definitely didn’t spring to mind. That said, two bottles could be done but that really would be that.

Ok, so it doesn’t look very good, the name is average, the nose is awful and you can only drink 1 or 2 of them!!

So, what does OCH have going for it?!

Well, it tastes great!! For all the downsides already mentioned I did really enjoy it. I also happened to have a nice mature lump of cheddar kicking around when I was testing so took my guide from the bottle and fired some up. And yes indeed Old Crafty IS amazing with cheese. I’m going to remember this beer for next Christmas time and will definitely settle into ONE with a cheese board.

Jymi’s Rating: 54%

 

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Morland have a distinctive and consistent approach to the packing of their ‘Hens’.  The octagonal label remains across the range, with the colour and name changing.

The Old Crafty Hen incarnation has been given a dash of the black ink and, in my humble opinion, it works well, as does the name.  The play on words works perfectly for this stronger crafted version of this little Hen.

It has to be noted that there is a good nose on this for an ale and toffee notes really do break on through.  The toffee theme also continues into the taste, which is stand out compared to its lighter sibling, Speckled Hen.

There’s no getting away from it, this is an exceptionally good ale that doesn’t hide behind over-hoppiness to create its taste.  It’s well brewed and is unique.

For me personally, the only issue with Crafty is in identifying where and when it might be enjoyed.  To be clear, it’s not a beer for all occasions.  But it most certainly is one for one-off indulgence, most likely on a chilly winter’s evening.  So right now would be perfect.

Sammy’s Rating: 73%

 

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 63.5%