Friday, 23 August 2013

This week's beers

Best beer of the week was a Marble Dobber - a robust IPA and the Lagonda's big brother. As expected, it was fabulous; strong, hoppy and dangerously drinkable. Bollington Brewing Company's beers have somehow managed to escape me so far so I took the opportunity to buy a Long Hop from The Bottle Stop in Bramhall. It's described as a 3.9% Summer Beer and it fitted the description perfectly, being light, uncomplicated and very refreshing when chilled for half an hour.

I also tried a UBU from Purity in Warwickshire. This is a 4.5% Amber beer, named after the late brewery dog. Again, delicious. There are so many microbreweries producing such good, tasty beers that we really are spoilt for choice and I am aware of getting almost complacent about the choice.

This led me to start wondering just how many microbreweries there were round here, so I did a quick bit of research and so far, have identified 25 small breweries within a 25 mile radius of my house. These range from one-man bands to outfits which have probably outgrown the microbrewery tag, such as Titanic in Stoke.

Almost exactly 25 miles away, but not included in my list is Robinsons in Stockport, which would be classed as a large regional, boasting a chain of 340 pubs in their portfolio. My earlier enthusiasm for the diversity of the local brewing scene was stopped in its tracks by a visit to the George and Dragon in Holmes Chapel, a Robinsons pub, selling only Robinsons ale.

The pub is nice enough and the outside area seems to have been spruced up recently but I am always reluctant to go because of the lack of choice. I started with a Dizzy Blonde, which is described as invigorating on their website. In fairness, it is really inoffensive but I struggled to detect any aroma at all. It's pleasant enough but just doesn't really taste of much. I didn't think it was invigorating, just a bit bland.

I moved on to a Trooper in search of more flavour. This is stronger and although brewed by Robinsons, is "created" by Iron Maiden, whatever that means. This beer is starting to become a bit of a sensation and is exceeding all sorts of sales expectations in the pubs and supermarkets, according to the press releases. I expected great things then, but as usual with beers from big regionals, I just thought it was a bit disappointing. Again, there wasn't much nose but it did have a little bit more flavour than Dizzy Blonde. There was an unusual underlying taste that I couldn't quite put my finger on. "Kind of orangey" is probably as good as I can do.

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