Monthly Archives: July 2012

Four Bottled Beers from Wold Top

As you may know, I was recently involved in judging bottled beers for Sainsbury’s (Tasting Beer for Sainsbury’s). This enjoyable day included a substantial ‘Meet the Brewer’ element, and one of the breweries represented was Wold Top from Driffield in the Yorkshire Wolds. Their entry in the Great British Beer Hunt was Scarborough Fair IPA, which did win a place on Sainsbury’s shelves, though I did not get to taste it.

Four Bottled Beers from Wold Top

Inspired by this, I bought four of their bottled beers on a visit to Booth’s supermarket in Windermere. Booth’s is an excellent beer retailer, by the way, well worth checking out if you have one within striking distance. One odd thing I have noticed about Booth’s is that they seem to intercept beers intended for the export market (see Ridgeway’s Wicked Elves). Three of the four bottles I bought were marked ‘Imported into Italy by Cuzziol S.p.A.’

The labels on the Wold Top bottles are very eye-catching. One lady at the Meet the Brewer session said that they looked like the covers of books, and they do. They positively invite you in.

Wold Top Angler’s Reward

The first one I tried was Angler’s Reward, a 4.0% golden ale. The label reads ‘Perfect for enjoying Lazy Indulgent Afternoons’. The eccentric use of capitals is all theirs.This beer pours with a nice pale orange colour and with a thin head that dissipates very quickly. There is a pronounced fruitiness to the smell. The flavour is of strong, bitter fruit. There are hints of orange and floral notes dance around the edge of the flavour. It is refreshing and nice.

Wold Top Golden Summer

The second Wold Top bottle was Golden Summer, 4.4% and described as ‘A fruity amber beer’. In fact the colour was a pale orange, slightly paler than Angler’s Rest. I found there was very little to differentiate these two. Golden Summer also has a thin, short-lived head and has all the same taste notes as Angler’s Rest – mainly fruity with floral hints and a touch of orange. Hops are perhaps a little more forward in Golden Summer, but frankly, you could swap the beers half way down the glass and you wouldn’t notice any change.

The 4.5% Against the Grain was next. ‘Gluten Free’ the label announces with glee, ‘Naturally Wheat Free Real Ale’. This is the only one of the four beers that did not contain wheat.The alien ingredient in this one is maize. It’s pale yellow with a head that vanishes before you’ve finished pouring it. The smell is slightly hoppy and the taste dryish. It’s hoppy alright, but there’s a slightly strange taste that I couldn’t recognise, a bit chemical. Maybe it’s the maize. There is a slight caramel finish. I’m really sorry to say this, but the thing it reminded me most of was Kaliber.

Finally, I tried a bottle of Wold Gold. A blonde beer weighing in at 4.8%. For a moment, I thought I had a head for keeps on this one, but it was gone within a minute. It’s a pale to mid yellow in colour, and the smell is sweetish and slightly floral. The flavour is fairly strong; dryish and hoppy but with a slightly unpleasant taste after the swallow that reminded me of cheap lager.

All in all, I was not hugely impressed with my exploration of Wold Top beers. None of this beer is actually bad, but there’s nothing here that really stands out from the crowd. For my money, Angler’s Reward and Golden Summer were the better two ales, and I wouldn’t be put out if I found that one of these was the only beer on the bar, though I wouldn’t be able to tell which one it was, so similar are they. I’d be less happy if it was either of the other two.

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Posted by on 31 July, 2012 in Bottled Beer


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Teme Valley This & That

Two bottled beers to be reviewed today, both from the Teme Valley brewery. The labels are nicely uniform and quite attractive, in an understated way. The beers are called This and That, and were drunk side by side. Both beers are bottle conditioned.

‘This’ is a 3.7% brew, the label does not inform as to what type of beer it is, but I would class it as a bitter. It’s orange in colour. There’s a certain maltiness to the smell. The flavour is dominated by an initial malt taste which is followed (just) by a slight hoppy bitterness. I’m afraid that’s about all I can say. There’s nothing really to hang a review on to here. It’s one of those beers that just tastes like beer.

And so on to its sister brew, ‘That’. ‘That’ is a 4.1%… well, I’m going to say ‘bitter’ again. It presents an orange colour that may be a shade darker than This, but only just. ‘That’ is slightly smoother than ‘This’. There is a certain bitterness that fades away very quickly, leaving virtually no aftertaste. I’m sorry, you can probably tell that I’m struggling to say anything about these two beers. The fact is that there really is very little to say. This and That are two beers which fall into the ‘OK, but not special’ category. What’s more, they are so similar to each other that they barely deserve separate names.

What is the point? These two beers have very similar ABVs, are almost identical in colour and barely distinguishable in taste and it has to be said, both equally dull. Sorry, Teme Valley, but if you want to set the beer world rocking, you’re going to have to do better than This. Or That.

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Posted by on 25 July, 2012 in Bottled Beer


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Quick Review: Tetley Trust Porter

Tetley Trust Porter

‘What was that?’ You ask. ‘A porter from Tetley?’ Well, for my money, now that Tetley has been completely bought out by Carlsberg and the historic brewery in Leeds now sits abandoned and decaying, Tetley no longer exists, despite the continued use of the logo by Carlsberg UK. Anyhow, Carlsberg has produced this limited edition beer with the intention of giving 10p for every bottle sold to the Help for Heroes charity, which does great work for soldiers wounded in current conflicts. The label on the bottle informs us that Carlsberg hopes to raise £100,000 from sales of this beer, which is available on tap and in bottles. This is all very well and good, and most certainly a worthy cause. You may think that Carlsberg has ample funds simply to give the charity the money without the necessity of boosting their own profits at the same time. You may wonder about the moral rectitude of buying anything produced by this Fizz Monster. That’s your choice.

What of the beer itself? It is a very dark red in colour with an off-white head that remains (albeit thinly) right to the bottom of the glass. The beer is quite smooth. The dominant flavour is chocolate (though it is by no means massively chocolatey) with some fruitiness and there is an underlying malty bitterness. The finish is quite dry with a hint of smoke and a whisper of dry earthiness.

I was quite prepared to poo-poo this beer when I saw it, but it is surprisingly good. Not of the first rank of porters, maybe, but a good effort. If only it was brewed by Tetley!

The Help for Heroes website is here –

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Posted by on 23 July, 2012 in Bottled Beer


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Let’s Call Time on the Beer Duty Escalator

The Beer Duty Escalator was introduced by Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling in 2008. This insidious piece of legislation ensures that the tax on beer rises by the rate of inflation + 2% automatically at every budget, and will do so until 2015. So when the ConDem Chancellor George Osborne announced in the budget that there would be ‘no change’ to beer duty, what he meant was that beer duty would increase by the rate of inflation + 2%, which will amount to about 10p on every pint.

This much of the price of your pint is tax

This peabrained idea is supposed to tackle the problem of youth drunkenness and the so-called ‘binge drinking’ culture observable in some of our city centres. Like all governmental ‘solutions’ to problems, it totally ignores the causes of the problem, and punishes those who not only are not part of the problem, but who very well may be a real solution to it. It seems that the governmental solution to every new problem that arises is more tax.  I use the term ‘governmental’ without reference to party lines because as far as I can see, it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always wins. When Gordon Brown as chancellor was finally persuaded that climate change was actually happening, he responded by increasing taxes all across the transport spectrum. Way to save the world, brainbox.

Instead of addressing the real problems (high unemployment amongst the young, banks and their arrogant self-rewarding useless directors causing massive financial hardships to everyone but themselves, the fact that students will now begin their working lives after university with massive debts, the total failure of the pensions industry (sodding bankers again), ever increasing taxation etc., etc., etc) the government decides to tackle the problem by taxing people who are decidedly not part of the binge-drinking culture. Those people are the everyday drinkers of beer in pubs. They totally ignore campaigns such as ‘Pub is the Hub’ (patron HRH the Prince of Wales), which show quite clearly that a properly maintained and managed pub is by far the safest place to have a drink, and that the people who regularly use their local pub are the best-behaved of all drinkers.

The government should turn its attention to tackling the real problems – something they are clearly too lilly-livered to do. Instead, they make the situation worse. By hiking the duty in this way, they more or less force the young bingers to go to the local supermarket and stash up on below-cost pissy booze to chuck down their necks before going out to the disreputable bars and clubs that permit loutish behaviour.

There is a little hope. We can force a debate in the House of Commons if we can get 100,000 names on an e-petition which you can access via CAMRAs website at At the time of writing, there were just over 65,000 names on the e-petition. So go on, do your bit now! We can only counter this stupid and unthinking legislation by registering our concerns in this way. This is the wording of the petition:

Stop the beer duty escalator

Responsible department: Her Majesty’s Treasury

Every year, the beer tax escalator increases the tax on beer by 2% above the rate of inflation, thus adding considerably more pressure on the British pub, the cornerstone of many of our communities. Removing the beer duty escalator at the next budget will help keep beer more affordable and go a long way to supporting the institution that is – the great British pub.   Going to the pub is a core British tradition and so is enjoying great beer. If you want to continue enjoying your fresh pint in your local pub then it’s crucial that you support our campaign to grind the beer duty tax escalator to a halt.  If we don’t show our support for the great British pub, we risk losing more pubs and more jobs within our local communities.   Support great beer in the great British pub and sign our e-petition now….. British Pubs Need You.

Do it now.

Do it.

Do it.

Do it.

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Posted by on 11 July, 2012 in Uncategorized


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