14 April 2007


The list of decent English quaffing ales is endless and I'm no more trying to put together an extensive archive of them than I am of Belgian beers. My most recent discovery is Fuller's ESB, a light tannic bitter with a slight tea-like flavour, reminiscent of Theakston's, though with a stronger dose of hops.

Bury St Edmunds (the BSE of the title, in case you thought I was suggesting bitter as a cure for brain disease) brewing giant Greene King make an ale which is definitely not for quaffing: their Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale. This is an almost flat, deep red beer which gave me three distinct flavour notes: caramel, smoke and toffee. It's not complex, as such, but it's definitely interesting and worth savouring.


  1. I certainly wouldn't describe ESB as "light" in any sense - it's a serious brew. For me, ESB was very much a gateway beer because it is widely available in London. However, these days I prefer to go for a lighter, golden bitter and leave the heavy stuff until the end of the night.

    I agree with you that Sussex Strong isn't very complex, but then I'm not sure Greene King are capable of producing a decent beer anymore. Cheers!

  2. Perhaps "slight" might be a better word than "light", in this context. It's the sort of beer I could drink pint after pint of without filling up.

    Greene King may indeed have become a producer of the bland and industrial, but for those of us unfortunate enough to live in the deep, cold shadow of Diageo Ireland it looks like a paragon of craft brewing. Yes, the vast majority of Irish beers are that bad.