Pedigree from Marston’s Brewery in Burton Upon Trent, UK is a traditional English pale ale that pours a lovely, fiery, amber-copper tone with a rich and frothy white head that leaves some generous lacing. The beer has a remarkably fresh aroma for a months-old import. The aroma is deep and rich, well-balanced between malt and hops with wood, fresh river water and grain notes.
The taste of Pedigree is also rich and malty, punctuated by a very creamy mouthfeel. Oak aging gives the beer woody flavour and there is a hint of toffee. The bitterness may be a bit lopsided; it’s not overpowering, but appears more in the finish than throughout the taste. I find a sort of resin-like thickness in the aftertaste.
Wells IPA from Wells and Young’s Brewing Company Ltd. In Bedford, UK pours a nice honey-amber colour, with a white soapy head that falls quickly, but leaves behind some nice lace and a collar. The natural mineral water that Wells IPA is brewed with comes through in the aroma, along with a malty sweetness and a decent hop backing.
The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a medium carbonation. The taste of Wells IPA is malty and bready, with a sort of metallic undertone from the mineral water used to brew it. I find it very dry, but not to the point of bitterness. I also note a certain peppery spiciness in the aftertaste along with a distinct earthiness.
This old ruby ale is not actually ruby coloured, but is an attractive-looking brew. Duchy Originals Organic Old Ruby Ale 1905, produced for Waitrosee Limited by the Wychwood Brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire, UK has a rich copper-amber tone that starts with a frothy white head and leaves a fair amount of lace on your glass.
The aroma is slightly faint, a trait common to many organically-produced beers. It smells fresh and grainy, laced with a honey-like sweetness and deep malt backing. It’s easily the best smelling and tasting organic beer I’ve tried.
The taste of Duchy Originals Organic Old Ruby Ale 1905 is primarily malty, with a toasted biscuit tone and a very crisp, dry bite quickly following. I also note a syrupy sweetness, a citrus taste that I can’t quite put my finger on and a sort of mineral or metallic tone.
Winter Welcome Ale from the Samuel Smith Old Brewery in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England pours a beautiful, clear rusty-amber colour and leaves a thin but frothy beige collar on your glass. This strong beer carries an almost cider-like apple aroma with hints of pine and spice and a caramel sweetness.
Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale delivers a very bubbly mouthfeel that gives way to a dry taste, again reminiscent of apple or pear cider. A peppery and clove-like spiciness comes though mostly in the finish, balanced by a hoppy bitterness. You are then left with a pleasant face-warming sensation between sips.
Fuller’s Extra Special Bitter from the Griffin Brewery in London, England is a rich ruby-amber coloured ale that produces a lingering, sponge-like head that laces your glass. This award-winning brew has a deep fruit and malt aroma with molasses undertones.
A two-malt, four-hop blend creates a rich biscuit-like taste that is punctuated by a bitterness reminiscent of baker’s chocolate. Fuller’s Extra Special Bitter finishes with warming peppery and spicy tones and has a very creamy mouthfeel from the start of your glass to the end.