07 February 2011

Bang on target

I've been doing well on my random Sainsbury's shelf sweeps. Last year the uninspiring selection yielded up this beauty, and I wasn't expecting to get lucky again when I randomly selected Wolf Brewery's Battle of Britain, but it's lovely.

Yes, it's a 3.9% ABV brown bitter: whoop-de-do. It's not doing anything more daring than that. The carbonation is wonderfully light, the hopping is gentle and oh-so-English, combining with the malt for a sort of Terry's Chocolate Orange effect with bonus hints of sandalwood and just a little bit of dry metal at the end. It's a flavour I associate most with Young's Bitter, but Young's isn't nearly as good as this when bottled, and I suspect a lot of that has to do with overzealous carbonation.

This stuff is everything I want in a session bitter, something I find far too rare in bottled English beer.


  1. I think there's a lot to be said for a beer which matches expectations of a particular style perfectly. Sometimes I want a beer to surprise me, but there's a lot to be said for a 'classic' interpretation too.

    I had the Meantime London Porter (brewed for M&S) recently and it was a revelation. Not because it was super hoppy, or super smoky, or super malty, but because it was perfectly balanced and as close to what I think a classic Porter should be. Light and medium hopped with bags of smoke, malt and chocolate flavour - but ultimately moreish and easy drinking.

    I reviewed it on my blog if you want a look, from your review here I think it's a beer you'd enjoy.

  2. The thing about decent, solid, unpretentious beers is that it's reasonable to assume they won't cost as much as super hoppy/smoky/malty ones. You don't get that at Marks & Spencer, unfortunately.

    I'll keep an eye out for the London Porter, though. I don't think it's been on our shelves yet.

  3. It's not the cheapest bottle to be fair, but at £2.39 I think it's not too bad. Definately worth a try.

  4. In the real world that should make it about €2.85. Planet Marks & Sparks will be charging €3.20 or so for it, however.

  5. Jesus, if ever I heard an argument against the Euro thats it.

    Marks is pretty expensive to be honest, and there beer is generally just average. This Meantime beer was different though.

    You've got me thinking about summer session bitters with this post, can't wait for that first pint in a beer garden this summer. Something light, refreshing, hoppy and pale.

    Mind you come august I'll be wishing it was winter so I could drink more stout, porter, and high ABV dark ale...

  6. I firmly believe that, with technology and all, seasons should be half their current length, squeezing eight into a year.

    And M&S beer is an argument for the UK joining the euro: if it did, its chain stores wouldn't be ripping off Irish customers with usurious exchange rates.

  7. A fair point. I wasn't having a go at the Euro, just wouldn't want prices to go up. Beer's a right not a privilege!

    p.s. Would you mind adding me to your blogs list? I've added a link to here from mine.


  8. scrap that. noticed you already have!

    muchly appreciated

  9. Done.

    If prices going up are a problem for you I'd suggest setting up your self-sustaining colony in the woods as soon as poss: prices are going to go up regardless.

    When we moved to the euro the government set up a voluntary fair trading scheme where businesses would guarantee exactly equivalent pricing and they could put a little smiley sticker in the window saying so.

    Only one group of traders announced, publicly and shamelessly, that they would not be joining the scheme: the publicans.

    It's not that the euro changeover caused prices to go up so much as Irish publicans are, by and large, brass-necked money-grubbing bastards with no regard whatsoever for their customers, and who never let an opportunity to gouge them further go by unexploited.

  10. I've always passed over that beer in sainsburys i must admit, will pick it up next time.

    (See Mr beer producer reading this blog, blogging does encourage sales, Wolf Brewery will be getting my custom)

  11. I've never actually counted what proportion of my reviews here would encourage people to by the beer and what wouldn't. Let's go with "blogging does influence sales" shall we?

  12. The unexpected find is one of the most pleasurable beer-buying experiences IMO. I need to go to my local bottle shop and get some, myself.