BREWER: Fuller’s, West London

STYLE: Strong English Ale

ABV: 6.3%

VESSEL: 330ml





From the outset, everything about 1845 points to Fullers.  Their distinctive packaging is instantly recognisable – and that’s only a good thing.  All companies want their products to be easily associated to them.  The marketing team at Fullers can certainly be proud and hold their heads high: they have succeeded in their task.

 But for me, that’s where it stops with 1845. 

Despite it being a beer that slips down nice and easily, it lacks in the punch that matters the most – taste.  It’s harsh on the back of the throat and the after-taste lingers, when you wish it would just drift into the background or, preferably, never have been there in the first place.  In fact, you could easily liken the flavour to a well-known yeasty spread that one apparently loves or hates.  And that taste belongs on toast, not in such abundance in beer.

 1845 will have its fans and Fullers will know whom they are targeting this beer at.  To my mind, that will be a limited market and it certainly won’t be one that I’ll be joining in the near future.  There’s much better out there…


TASTE: 29/50

NOSE: 4/10




NAME: 4/5

INFO: 2/5

S-TOTAL: 59/100




Shrove Tuesday, 2005

Sammy takes on the Pancake duties and lines up four per flat member, fair play to the man. Once finished I, rather unappreciatively, blurted out the words, “I could do another eight of those without even thinking about it you know”.

Folk laughed….. Sammy fired up the frying pan.

Now, knowing I’m not one to cry off from an eating challenge Sam proceeded to make every pancake he made, unbeknown to me, just that little bit thicker every time.

I spent the next hour going from extreme confidence to utter despair. Facing into the last two I turned into a sweaty mess wondering if I’d make it out of this nightmare alive. After the twelfth pancake was finished I can now only tell you second hand what happened as I was in batter delirium.

Word is I was writhing around on the kitchen floor mumbling “Mate, I’m serious, my stomach is going to explode”. Sam laughed. “Seriously man, you need to call an ambulance”. Sam laughed.

And so to the beer, 1845!!

On first sipping this ale you are met with one massive taste hit! Literally ‘sit you back in your chair’ good. From there it starts to mellow out a little and just turns into a jolly nice pint of beer. However, as the end approaches you begin to feel full. As you finish you question whether you could have another as it is so very rich and heavy. Too many of these would leave me calling out “Mate, I’m serious, my stomach is going to explode”. However, this is a good drop that Fuller’s have created for their 150 year beer.

In case you were wondering how Shrove Tuesday 2005 concluded.. Sam and I have not spoken since that day. He actually contacted me a couple of months ago asking if I wanted to co-write a booze blog with him… I told him to f*#k off.


TASTE: 34/50

NOSE: 6/10




NAME: 4/5

INFO: 4/5

J-TOTAL: 62/100








BREWER: Crafty Dan (Thwaites), Lancashire

STYLE: American IPA

ABV: 5.5%

VESSEL: 330ml tin





13 Guns doesn’t seem to promise too much from it’s packaging. It’s not quite enticing and intriguing enough and before embarking on its taste adventure you are left with a confusion of expectations.

On first pouring, you are met with some strong and pleasant pineapple aromas, which gives rise to raised expectations when compared with the slightly underwhelming packaging. Then the tasting…and expectations are slightly depressed again. The taste, although not wholly unpleasant, is lacking when compared with the nose of this beer. However, when not taken in direct comparison with one another, the taste is better than average and added to that, 13 Guns slips down nice and easy. To say you would be able to have a session on these beers is probably a stretch of the imagination.

13 Guns is a confused beer. While it is very drinkable, it probably won’t become a long-time favourite of many consumers. And this is, in part, down to its lack of consistency between all of its elements. The whole package doesn’t pull together as you might like, and there are others out there doing this significantly better. This leads to a lack of conviction in believing in this beer. With some tweaks and fine-tuning, you can’t help but imagine what 13 Guns could have been…or could yet still be…


TASTE: 35/50

NOSE: 9/10




NAME: 4/5

INFO: 4/5

S-TOTAL: 70/100



Firstly, the look of her… For me, brilliant!! So understated, but absolutely catches the eye. It’s brave to go with no colour in today’s bright world, but I’m glad the design team over at Crafty Dan had the cannonballs to do it. Good job dudes, good job.

Now, the drink itself takes my mind off to the 1976 critically acclaimed novel by R. Hargreaves, Mr. Muddle, and specifically to the main character of this fantastic read… Mr. Muddle. To put it simply, Muddle is all over the shop, and I believe this beer is too.

Let’s break this down into the order of events..

Open, pour, smell.

Again, brilliant!! It smells fantastic. Kind of fruity, kind of Caribbean? I don’t know, but the nose is great.

Sip, Initial taste.

Poor. Not for me at all…

Actual taste.

Once that initial taste has worn off the flavour then builds to a lovely hoppy explosion with more Caribbean yet caramelly hints. A real treat.

After taste.   

Rubbish. It left me feeling like I hadn’t enjoyed it when in fact, I had!

I honestly don’t know what to make of this beer. I’ve given her the benefit of the doubt in the scoring but it’s left me confused and obviously, in a muddle.


TASTE: 35/50

NOSE: 8/10




NAME: 3/5

INFO: 4/5

J-TOTAL: 70/100







BREWER: Goose Island, Illinois, USA


ABV: 5.9%

VESSEL: 330ml brown bottle 

TWITTER: @GooseIsland

INSTAGRAM: gooseisland

DATE POSTED: 17th November 2017 





.a large/medium waterbird with a long neck, short legs (occasionally long), webbed feet, and a short broad bill. Generally geese are larger than ducks and have longer necks and shorter bills.


2. informal

 a foolish person. “‘Silly goose,’ he murmured fondly”

“WHO’S THE GOOSE”?  Eddie shouted brashly.


verb;  informal

1. poke (someone/something) in the bottom.


ale; definitely informal

1. A fantastic IPA. True story.


Well, for me the words beer and American together used to evoke a mild grin if not an hysterical laugh. The main protagonists that produced these facial movements still loom large, of course they do, and they probably always will, BUT we have a player in town that seems to know exactly what they’re doing.

This is one clever drink.

Is it an old trad IPA? No. Not even close.

Is it an NKOTB hipster super duper IPA? No. Not even close.

Is it absolutely marvellous? Yes. Yes it is.

Goose Island have nailed this!

I personally don’t even like the look of the bottle , but, it just works.

It’s modern without being hipster, it’s old ale without being a glass with a handle. It’s very clever and it get’s the thumbs up from Jymi.

Jymi’s Total: 81%



Goose IPA is an American interpretation of one of the British favourite beers: India Pale Ale. Crossing over between craft and big brewery, Goose has a lot to live up to – and boy does it live up to it. This is a uniquely identifiable beer that is worthy of carrying the IPA label, albeit with Goose Island’s own spin on it.

It’s probably fair to say that Goose IPA is aimed at satisfying both lager and bitter drinkers, and it does this with ease. The bitter notes of the taste are a surprise when they’re paired with the sweet aromas. The flavours have length and leave the drinker fully aware that they are drinking a high quality product. So that looks after the bitter drinkers. Lager drinkers are taken care of by the fizz of this beer and its ability to be drank all night long, without apparently breaking any rhythm. Goose IPA truly is a beer for all occasions and for all drinkers.

It is rare that you have such a successful cross-over beer in so many aspects. Goose Island have achieved something very special with their IPA. This beer runs through the beer checklist leaving a wake of ticks in its trail. Go on – you know you want one…

Sammy’s Total: 88%







BREWER: Sharp’s, Cornwall


ABV: 4.8%

VESSEL: 500ml bottle




Sharp’s, a big brewer by anyone’s standards, has turned out some world-renowned beers. So is Wolf Rock one of these? In my humble opinion, sadly, it is not.

While Wolf Rock is not the worst beer by any stretch of the imagination, it lacks in all areas and the sum of these parts leads to an overall underwhelming whole. The poor nose from this ale is the first sign that something is amiss, and while the taste is not on the disastrous level of the aroma, it is still lack lustre and the shallow flavours leave you wanting more. It does slip down nicely enough, but having a string of Wolf Rocks is a battle that I wouldn’t want to enter into.

Although Wolf Rock will never be a trail-blazing beer for Sharp’s, or for anyone else for that matter, it does have its place and it will have its following. Unfortunately, I will never be one of them. However, I can see a place for this beer for a one-off on a cold winter’s day and I do, strangely, understand Sharp’s thinking with this one.


TASTE: 33/50

NOSE: 4/10




NAME: 4/5

INFO: 5/5

S-TOTAL: 64/100



So it’s off to Cornwall we go and to the now world famous Sharp’s brewery, but rather than starting with their flagship brew we thought we would go with the still readily available, but slightly lesser known, Wolf Rock.

I’d first like to state that historically I am generally a huge fan of a Red IPA so was very much looking forward to testing this slick looking little puppy.

I’m going to start with the beer itself…

It’s tasty. I like it, I do. Blown away by it, probably not, but I do like it. The nose is curious, almost like toffee based soap! Is that a bad thing? I’m not totally sure!! It’s really smooth but also really rich so I’m not sure too many could go down before moving on. All that said, it definitely gave me the sense of being a Cornish Atlantic coast fisherman (not that I would have the first clue what that would be like as I’m pretty fearful of the ocean as well as boats and to be totally honest fish scare me a fair bit too), coming off the trawler after a hard few weeks out to sea and getting to the nearest pub for a good ol’ ding dong with my fellow workers and friends.

Packaging wise, I think it looks great. The colours work brilliantly together and somehow give the bottle an understated wow factor. The Grey backdrop with the Red and Silver hints I think are great. Really Sharp (sorry, that wasn’t even intentional).

Now here comes my problem. The taste and packaging of this ale don’t belong together for me.

The bottle doesn’t make me feel like a rugged brave fisherman and the beer, though good, doesn’t possess a wow factor nor is it sharp.

But all in all, looks good and tastes good, and that cannot be a bad thing.  


TASTE: 39/50

NOSE: 7/10




NAME: 4/5

INFO: 5/5

J-TOTAL: 78/100








BREWER: Two Cocks, Berkshire

STYLE: English Bitter

ABV: 3.8 %

VESSEL: 500ml bottle 




“Now what on earth do we have here”?  I thought to myself, staring at the bottle of Leveller whilst eating scrambled eggs at 5am on a Monday morning.

I knew I had a few days to get the review done so there was definitely no rush, but…

Day 2

I  sat down once again, this time with a bowl of  Rice Krispies, and stared this new feathered acquaintance straight in the proverbial eye and said, just what are you all about?

I got no answer…. Bit rude , I thought.

Days three and four, I have to say, were pretty similar to day two (other than the choice of breakfast).

Then came test day.. Friday.

I bowled in from work, said hello to the family and settled down to test. After all my musing I had finally decided that I was undecided…. as much as I loved the feather as part of the packaging there was something just a little pretentious about it.

The only way to get round whether the packaging was going to score zero or get full marks was this…

Before pouring this utterly fantastic ‘caramelly’ smelling ale into the glass, I decided to take my first sip from the bottle. If the feather tickled my nose in any way it was going to be a zero, if there was no hooter contact it would be a ten…. It was a ten. And let’s be honest, rightly so, it looks fantastic!

And so, on to the beer…

This is a total champion of an ale. My initial notes had the words POWER ALE written very heavily in 9B pencil and those words were not wrong. The lack of head once poured was a little odd I thought but the taste was fabulous. A classy yet classic Sunday bitter!

Fantastic beer, fantasic and individual packaging. Very well done Two Cocks, I must say.


TASTE: 40/50

NOSE: 8/10




NAME: 4/5

INFO: 4/5

J-TOTAL: 84/100



Every now and then you come across a beer you’ve never heard of, and that’s exciting enough. Even more rarely, you come across a beer that you’re just not sure what to make of before you even begin the tasting journey. Leveller fits into the latter of those categories. The packaging is the first point of trepidation: a feather secured into the label…

Once poured into the glass, it’s blatantly evident that this is a high quality bitter. It fills the nasal cavity with strong, chocolaty aromas that tempt you to drink straight away. The first sup is such a treat…smooth and complex. And the next one is no less disappointing, neither the one after that. Leveller achieves so much. It really is a joy to behold. Quite frankly, it’s a cracker of a beer.

In hindsight, had I been savvier, the feather is not a point of trepidation, it’s mark of small batch quality. Only an ale that is produced on a small scale could include a real feather in its packaging. Having the confidence to do so, highlights that the brewers have the highest belief in the quality of their product. And they are so right to do so. Leveller is unique, deep and keeps on coming. A must try for all beer drinkers. This beer deserves all accolades that are heaped onto it.


TASTE: 41/50

NOSE: 8/10




NAME: 5/5

INFO: 4/5

S-TOTAL: 85/100







BREWER: Gipsy Hill, South London, England


ABV: 4.6%

VESSEL: 330ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @GipsyHillBrew

INSTAGRAM: gipsyhillbrew

DATE POSTED: 27th October 2017



So, we’ve all had those moments in our lives that will stick with us forever. Whether it be getting a shiny new bike for your birthday as a youngster, meeting a new addition to your family for the very first time or in my case being given a pair of multicoloured tie-dyed silk pyjamas as a teenager.

Life seemed so simple before these came into my possession but just by the sheer look of them I knew that there was a far more complex world out there for me to discover.

Fast forward 20 years and that complexity came to me under the guise of Hepcat by Gipsy Hill, and my, was I glad that it did…. This is one incredible tasting IPA! Simply stunning.

The look of the bottle, though pretty cool, didn’t do a lot for me if I’m honest but once involved with the actual beer itself it was only good news.

The smell is unassuming and pleasant. The initial taste is breathtaking (note: please don’t take breath whilst consuming). Taste overall is of complex citrus tones and is very good indeed.

Then comes the absolute pièce de résistance, it is soooo smooth! An absolute delight.

Hepcat is a major player when it comes to modern hipster IPA’s. It’s as complex as a pair of tie-dyed silk pyjamas and as smooth as a……. pair of tie-dyed silk pyjamas.


Jymi’s Rating: 80%



In recent years, the world has become awash with craft beers. You only have to walk down the beer aisle of any mainstream supermarket to see how this phenomenon has taken off. This is fantastic news for the consumer but brings struggles for the, often small-scale, brewers to find their place in this overcrowded and highly competitive market. To survive you have to be good…

It’s when you first pour Hepcat into a glass, and are hit by the tropical aromas, that you get an insight about the incredible taste journey you are about to be taken on. From the first sip to the last draining of the bottle, Hepcat is truly outstanding. It manages to pack a complex, fruity punch into every sip. The depth of flavours roll around the tongue and leave the drinker’s mouth wanting to go back for more straight away. And each time, you are never left disappointed.

Hepcat is a craft beer that packs a punch. This is one for all seasons, any time of the year. As soon as you (very quickly) empty one vessel, you’ll straight away be reaching for the next. It’s one of those – you’d be happy to have this as your forever beer.

Sammy’s Rating: 86%






BREWER: Fuller’s, West London, England


ABV: 5.3%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @Fullers

INSTAGRAM: fullers

DATE POSTED: 20th October 2017



I once knew a chap called Phil*. Now, my first impression of Phil was not a good one. I know you should never judge a book by its cover, but there was something about him that didn’t sit well with me. I think it was his dress sense. However, once we got chatting it soon materialised that he was a really good guy, dry sense of humour, but a really good guy….

Which brings me seamlessly to the Bengal Lancer.. The MIGHTY BENGAL LANCER!! Now, much like Phil, the packaging is hideous and not appealing whatsoever. I think it’s the purple, though it’s my favourite colour, it’s just not working here. But, once you delve deeper things start to improve considerably!

This is an exceptional ale. I truly adore it. There is just something about it that puts it above your everyday ‘classics’. It comes across quite dry, which is what I like about it, and I’m sure I picked up some hints of coriander along the way.

Awful looking but let us not forget that it’s what’s inside that really counts, and what’s inside is fantastic.

Phil, should you ever read this, I am not implying that YOU have hints of coriander.

*Phil is not Phil’s real name, and there is a small chance he doesn’t actually exist.

Jymi’s Rating: 74%



With big breweries come big beer ranges. And while that means there’s a wide range of selection for the consumer, it also means that each beer runs the risk of being easily lost amongst the crowd.

Bengal Lancer is strong in all areas but stands out in none. It has a good nose and is easy to drink one after the other and it doesn’t lose its appeal. The taste is deep, while not commanding any domain of its own in the beer world, and will leave a wide range of different beer drinkers feeling fully satisfied. And therein lies, perhaps, the biggest strength of Bengal Lancer: it will appeal to a wide range of ale drinkers, from the seasoned pro to the newby. But it’s probably fair to say that, save for a small handful, it won’t be topping the favourites list.

So does Bengal Lancer fall off the metaphorical beer cliff without leaving a distinctive mark of its own? It most certainly doesn’t, it stands tall amongst the huge Fuller’s range and will not disappoint on any level. That having been said, Bengal Lancer has no unique quirks about it, which launch it to the level of being a standout beer. But hey, very often being good at being normal has its strengths. Bengal Lancer is well worth its place in the Fuller’s fleet.

Sammy’s Rating: 75%





BREWER: Timothy Taylor, West Yorkshire, England

STYLE: Pale Ale

ABV: 4.1%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @TimothyTaylors 

INSTAGRAM: timothytaylorsbrewery

DATE POSTED: 13th October 2017



There’s no escaping it – the packaging and marketing are dated, even with recent updates. And although this may be a conscious decision by the creatives at Timothy Taylor, it leaves Landlord as a brand that is aimed at the older generation and appears to be left behind the growing beer pack. This may seem counterintuitive…but behind the packaging is a beer that stands tall and packs a punch with the best of them.

Let’s face it, an ale like Landlord couldn’t really be left behind – the name says it all. It is the Landlord of the Timothy Taylor brewery and when you’re the flagship of such master brewers you’re at least keeping pace with the rest…the taste is deep and has lasting complexities. It has an aroma that could only be that of a British ale – and a stand out one at that.

This ale is one for all and, dated marketing aside, it’s a mainstay of the ale elite. This beer is one to be enjoyed for all occasions. So whether you’re settling down for an evening in the pub with old acquaintances (of which Landlord is one), enjoying a Sunday afternoon sup or socializing at a barbeque Landlord will be a trusty friend in all cases.

Sammy’s Rating: 71%



If you’re lucky enough to have an old man, and an old man that took you down the pub back in the day when you were maybe, I dunno, fourteen?? Then you’ll understand what I’m about to say.

TT Landlord tastes like a PROPER ale. A PROPER PROPER ALE!

Is it the best bottled pale ale in the world? No, of course it’s not. But when it comes to a classic tasting British ale that you could happily sup in front of an open fire or whilst eating or preparing your roast dinner of a Sunday then you will not go far wrong with this beaut. TRUST ME.

Packaging is dated (even with the recent update) and frankly, I love it! In all honesty, I preferred the previous packaging but that’s probably just me.

Landlord is great, make no mistake.

Classic ‘ALE’ in taste and look.

Jymi’s Rating: 82%



Welcome to Muse on Booze…

Muse on Booze

Welcome to our blog where we …errr, have a muse on booze.

Sammy and Jymi are just a couple of dudes who love the odd drink and also love to rate stuff, as we all do hey? So why not combine the two.

We review a beer every week and post it each weekend. So keep those eyes peeled now won’t you. As time ticks on we’ll be doing a few other booze related bits and bobs too, so again. EYES. PEELED!

See soon..

TWITTER: @museonbooze