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What are your 3 favorite beers from Britain?

Chinon00 Dec 21, 2006 10:36 AM

This is a problematic question for me because there are so many local British beers that I'm probably not aware of. But here's goes nothing:

a) Caledonian 80/-
b) Fuller's London Pride
c) Young's Special London Ale

British beer to me is more of a mystery so I wanted to get an impression from hounds as to their take on it.

Thanks

  1. bkhuna Mar 1, 2007 06:20 PM

    What I can get is limited, but my favorites are:
    Samual Smith Oatmeal Stout
    Old Peculiar
    Blacksheap Ale

    1. b
      ben61820 Feb 5, 2007 08:11 AM

      only one recommendation, but i havent seen anyone rspond with this one yet:
      monkman's slaughter. i forget the brewery name but it says "monkman's slaughter" really big on the label. AMAZING. prolly one of my favorite all time beers. magic it is.

      1. Harp00n Feb 4, 2007 07:02 PM

        Well if I was sitting at the bar in the Woodcock Inn, Iden Green, Cranbrook, Kent:

        Shepherd Neame Spitfire Ale

        Traquair House Scottish Ale

        Hopback Summer Lightning

        btw, this is way too few to choose :-)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Harp00n
          thegolferbitch Feb 7, 2007 06:35 AM

          This is pub weather, isn't it (of course, when is it not...)
          Absolutely agree--great, great selection-- and am pounding my desk in assent on the the Spitfire Ale (though no one can see it, my officemates are wondering)
          but also I love the Bishops Finger
          God, my memory's going...
          Old Peculier and...
          Newcastle Brown (somebody has to name it)

        2. p
          PapaT Feb 2, 2007 06:59 AM

          I'll add one more - Boddington's Pub Ale nitro can. When you want creamy beer with little flavor there's nothing finer. Of course you don't need to go British to find beer like that, you can get a 12 pack of domestic macro brew for the same price as the Boddington 4 pack.

          1 Reply
          1. re: PapaT
            z
            zin1953 Feb 7, 2007 06:27 AM

            Boddington's is a staple in our house -- which is in the States, and not in the UK. (See prior post of mine above.) Abbot Ale have been in a nitro can, but the latest purchase here was *not,* and most disappointing.

          2. MOREKASHA Feb 2, 2007 05:39 AM

            I can't believe no one has mentioned Bateman's XXXB. We used to get that on hand pump occassionaly @ dba in Manhattan. What al ovely brew.

            1. b
              buffetking Feb 1, 2007 06:49 PM

              Young's double chocolate stout
              Samuel Smith oatmeal stout
              Samuel Smith nut brown ale

              1. z
                zin1953 Dec 26, 2006 03:46 PM

                Presuming for the moment that I am IN the U.K. (and hopefully the kegs are tapped with a hand-pump):
                Greene King's Abbot Ale
                Theakston's Old Peculiar
                Fuller's London Pride

                Here in the States, it's a different story.

                1. c
                  Chicago Mike Dec 23, 2006 10:43 PM

                  My number one fave is Fuller's London Porter. Old Taddy Porter is good too, but IMO Fuller's is the better of the 2, and one of the best in the world actually.

                  1. Chinon00 Dec 23, 2006 10:34 PM

                    Another general question. I was at a pub that served Bombardier Bitter and Eagle IPA (which I think are brewed by the same company). The Bitter had a higher %abv than the IPA (which was around 3.6 %abv). In the States IPAs are generally higher in alcohol than other ales (e.g. Pale, ESB). Are there any rules in England about this?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Chinon00
                      j
                      jmoryl Dec 26, 2006 03:49 AM

                      Both of the beers you mention would have been from the Charles Wells brewery in Bedford. One doesn't see UK IPAs as much as might be expected and there is no standard as far as ABV goes - except you will pay more for the higher alcohol content (partly higher taxation, BTW). The Deuchar's (brewed by Caledonian in Edinburgh)I mentioned above is only 3.8% ABV. Americans who are used to our high gravity craft/micro brews are often surprised at the low alcohol content of the most common UK beers. But then again, we seldom drink 10 imperial pints before deciding where to go for dinner!

                    2. j
                      jmoryl Dec 22, 2006 03:36 AM

                      Hmmm, hard to narrow them down, but here are three favorites (all to be had in cask conditioned form):

                      Cain's Mild
                      Timothy Taylor's Landlord
                      Deuchar's IPA

                      Cheers,
                      Joe

                      1. Moomin Dec 21, 2006 02:43 PM

                        You've got to specify what sort of British beer you're after... based upon your list you're looking for bottle conditioned Extra Special Pale Ales that are exported by fairly major brewers...

                        I'll give you my three favories in each catagory:

                        Standard English Bitters:
                        Charles Wells Bombardier -- this is actually an ESB when exported, but it's my favorite bitter at the moment... only buy it in bottles, the cans are a different brew entirely.
                        Bluebird Bitter -- good workmanlike bitter, low ABV.
                        Horndean Special Bitter -- tough to find out here on the west coast, but very tasty.

                        English Pale Ales:
                        Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale -- clear bottles, try to get one that's been sitting in a dark corner, or has just come out of a sealed case.
                        Young's St. George's Ale -- originally rewed for ASDA, this is now being exported and is very tasty stuff... similar to Bombardier (now produced at the same brewing facility).
                        And you've already got Fullers, which would be my #3.

                        Brown Ales (Nut Brown Ales):
                        Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale -- again with the clear bottles, see the advice above.
                        Riggwelter Yorkshire Ale -- drier than most nut brown ales.
                        Hobgoblin -- the newer bottles of this will be brown... yay for the application of modern brewing science.

                        India Pale Ales (for those who crave hops):
                        Meantime India Pale Ale -- very expensive, but nice and bitter, almost like an American IPA
                        Fuller's India Pale Ale -- nice middle of the road IPA
                        Samuel Smith's India Ale -- CLEAR (&*^% BOTTLES! But, still good when you can get a fresh batch.

                        Porters (thanks to Brooklyn Brewing for bringing them back):
                        Manchester Star Ale -- My personal favorite of the porters, but very hard to find out here on the west coast.
                        Samuel Smith's, The Famous Taddy Porter -- the best and most venerable of the porters... clear bottles... grrrrrr...
                        Fuller's London Porter -- a distinctly bitter porter.

                        Stouts (I prefer oatmeal stouts, personally):
                        Hopback Entire Stout -- I like this, but it's tough to find out here.
                        Dragonhead Stout -- technically an Orkney beer.
                        Meantime Chocolate Stout -- again, very expensive and tough to find.

                        Strong Ales:
                        Fuller's 1845 -- much like the rest of the Fuller line, tasty and easy to find.
                        Adnams Broadside -- probably more of an ESB... widely available on the east coast, hasn't made it out west yet... one of my favorites.
                        Monkey Wrench Strong Ale -- a nice middle of the road strong ale.

                        The best of the oddballs:
                        Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout -- I love this stuff with an unmitigated passion... outrageously sweet and smoothe.
                        Charles Wells Banana Bread Ale -- tough to find, but surprisingly tasty... the hops and the banana kinda marry in a bizarre way.
                        J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale -- a traditional barley wine available in a variety of different cask aged bottlings... all good.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Moomin
                          JessKidden Dec 21, 2006 03:10 PM

                          "Porters (thanks to Brooklyn Brewing for bringing them back):"

                          How did the Brooklyn Brewery "bring back" porters? They don't even have a regular Porter in their bottled beer line-up, do they?

                          Porters actually survived in the US (Stegmaier, Yuengling, Narragansett, Krueger, Anchor) longer than they did in the UK, where they did disappear during the mid-20th Century.

                          1. re: JessKidden
                            Moomin Dec 21, 2006 03:46 PM

                            It's called Manchester Star (after the JW Lee's recipe by the same name) and it's only brewed very occassionally, but it inspired a whole renaissance of classic porter brewing in the UK. Whereas there were quite a few strong baltic porters, and some very bitter American porters made through less traditional methods, at that point, it was Brooklyn's Manchester Star that brough back the resurgence in old British porter brewing that has really taken hold today.

                            Or so the story is told.

                            1. re: Moomin
                              l
                              LStaff Dec 22, 2006 01:54 PM

                              Although I'm sure they helped, I disagree that Brooklyn's Manchester Star "brought back" porter -or even imperial porter for that matter.

                              Heavyweight's Perkuno's hammer was made a full year (2001 vs. 2002)before Brooklyn's Manchester Star and imo was the beer that turned brewers and beer geeks on to the baltic porter style -and probably even Garret Oliver.

                              And single strength porter has been somewhat popular in the states since the beginning of the microbrew revolution. Anchor, Sierra Nevada, Geary's have probably exposed more people to porter than any other breweries in the states.

                              1. re: LStaff
                                Josh Dec 22, 2006 03:47 PM

                                I remember seeing Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter on shelves here back in the '90s, when I was first buying beer. FYI, Garrett Oliver was a brewer for Samuel Smith's early in his career.

                                http://www.sdcitybeat.com/article.php...

                                1. re: Josh
                                  JessKidden Dec 22, 2006 04:45 PM

                                  "FYI, Garrett Oliver was a brewer for Samuel Smith's early in his career."

                                  I don't think so. The article only states that Oliver served an "... apprenticeship under Samuel Smith’s former head brewer.."

                                  Garrett originally worked at the late great Manhattan Brewing Co., where he worked under brewmaster Mark Witty, who *had* previously worked at Samuel Smith and Whitbread in the UK.

                                  1. re: JessKidden
                                    Josh Dec 22, 2006 04:52 PM

                                    Yes, you're right. I misremembered what he said.

                                2. re: LStaff
                                  JessKidden Dec 22, 2006 04:24 PM

                                  "Heavyweight's Perkuno's hammer was made a full year (2001 vs. 2002)before Brooklyn's Manchester Star and imo was the beer that turned brewers and beer geeks on to the baltic porter style..."

                                  Okocim Porter and Zywiec Porter may have had some influence as well <g>. I don't know how extensive their distribution was, but they were common beers (and cheap) in NJ (esp. in old industrial areas with large Polish populations). It was strange that they both stopped importing their porters just as the sub-style was being recognized in the US.

                            2. re: Moomin
                              JessKidden Dec 21, 2006 03:25 PM

                              Oh, yeah, by the way, most (if not all) of Samuel Smith's brews are now available in the US in brown bottles. http://worldofbeer.com/totm/totm-2006...
                              I've already bought and drank a few single bottles of Winter Warmer, which, in previous years, I would always only buy by the case, splitting it with a friend.

                              1. re: JessKidden
                                Moomin Dec 21, 2006 03:48 PM

                                Spectacular! We're not seeing the brown bottles out here in Los Angeles yet... but I'm sure we will given time. And I'll be thrilled to see them!

                            3. b
                              brentk Dec 21, 2006 12:50 PM

                              I'll name four:

                              J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale
                              Traquair House Ale
                              Harviestoun Old Engine Oil
                              Thomas Hardy's Ale

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: brentk
                                Josh Dec 21, 2006 02:27 PM

                                Second on the JW Lees.
                                Also:
                                Adnams Broadside Ale
                                Belhaven St. Andrews Ale

                                Last night I had the JW Lees aged in Lagavulin casks. Amazingly good.

                                1. re: Josh
                                  MVNYC Dec 21, 2006 09:31 PM

                                  Josh where did you find this? I am intrigued as Lagavulin is my scotch of choice

                                  1. re: MVNYC
                                    Josh Dec 22, 2006 03:28 AM

                                    It's actually on O'Brien's bottle list. It's $13 for an 11 oz. bottle.

                                    Holiday Wine Cellars has it for $7, though. I'm actually heading up there tomorrow to pick up a few bottles. I'm making duck confit for Christmas dinner, and think that the JW Lees will be a great match.

                                    It may just be my new favorite beer.

                                2. re: brentk
                                  Chinon00 Dec 24, 2006 01:55 AM

                                  old engine oil is incredible

                                3. a
                                  ali patts Dec 21, 2006 11:05 AM

                                  shepherd neame 1696 (? it was a special anniversary beer)
                                  shepherd neame master brew
                                  uley beer name escapes me, they normally name their beers after pigs so...

                                  But then, I am English, was brought up of Shepherd Neame (from Kent) then lived in Gloucestershire for a couple of years up the road from Uley where there is a small brewer. In order words I doubt you will be able to get any of these beers in the States, which is where I assume you are! Soryr - but if you ever visit I can send you in the direction of some pubs with fantastic beer!

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: ali patts
                                    Chinon00 Dec 21, 2006 04:24 PM

                                    I would love to hear more about some great pub towns outside of London.

                                    1. re: Chinon00
                                      a
                                      ali patts Dec 21, 2006 04:30 PM

                                      outside where? I can only really say about bits of gloucestershire and bristol. Probably suggest a couple in the lake district and maybe around Inverness. I know a couple of nice pubs in Leicestershire but none I would really recommend because of the beer.

                                      1. re: ali patts
                                        Chinon00 Dec 21, 2006 04:37 PM

                                        Anything within a couple of hours of London.

                                        1. re: Chinon00
                                          a
                                          ali patts Dec 21, 2006 04:38 PM

                                          I started a new thread! http://www.chowhound.com/topics/353455 and now am realising how bad my memory is!

                                          1. re: Chinon00
                                            c
                                            cackalackie Feb 7, 2007 06:51 AM

                                            You can take a train west from Paddington and be in the Berkshire/Oxfordshire countryside in no time. There are some lovely pubs along the river. Check out the Brakspear website (http://www.brakspear.co.uk) . There's even a find-a-pub feature, where you can tick which features you're looking for, such as "On the River."

                                          2. re: ali patts
                                            MaspethMaven Dec 22, 2006 02:00 PM

                                            The Campaign for Real Ale is a great resource for finding great beer and terrific pubs. We went to several recommended places while on honeymoon in London, and they were all great.

                                            By the way:

                                            Fuller's London Pride is delightful.
                                            JW Lees
                                            Thomas Hardy's

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