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Top 10: Real Ales

Posted on Jun 11, 2013 by Paul Tiernan

As the summer has (just) arrived and a chap is feeling comfy in his linen suit, one’s thirst should be regularly quenched to avoid the horror of sunstroke. Regular refreshment is the key to enjoying the sunshine and the application of fine English hops to water and malt is the key to a Chap’s summer. The Chaps at Savvy HQ have been known to go to the pub every now and again and have been researching assiduously to bring you a guide to (just some) of the finest ales for Chaps.

Greene King IPA

The first known use of the term "India pale ale" is an advertisement in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829. It was also referred to as "pale ale as prepared for India", "India Ale", "pale India ale" or "pale export India ale". Among the earliest-known named brewers whose beers were exported to India was George Hodgson of the Bow Brewery. Bow Brewery beers became popular among East India Company traders in the late 18th century because of the brewery's location and Hodgson's liberal credit line of 18 months. Ships transported Hodgson's beers to India, which benefited exceptionally from conditions of the voyage and was apparently highly regarded among its consumers in India. At the behest of the East India Company, Allsopp Brewery developed strongly hopped pale ale in the style of Hodgson's for export to India. IPA was born and is now much loved by the ale enthusiast. Mr Tiernan’s cricket career is closely entwined with IPA and Greene King in particular. Mr Tiernan can largely be found loitering ineffectively at Third Man quaffing this wonderfully refreshing brew.

Black Sheep Brewery Best Bitter

The classic session ale brewed in Masham, North Yorkshire. At 3.8%, it doesn’t leave a Chap unable to stand and is a suitably subtle pint which offers the Chap a long afternoon enjoying the rugby, cricket, rowing, snail racing or whatever sporting excuse he may choose. A classic well-hopped and beautifully balanced beer with a deeply satisfying and refreshing taste that is followed by a distinctively dry and long bitter finish. Only 20 years old, it is a classic pint. Beloved of yeoman farmers, sports fans and layabouts.

Courage Directors

Brewed in Bedford since 1875 by Wells and Young, this is a proper Southern pint which should have no head on it whatsoever. Full bodied with a clean, bitter taste, balanced with a sweet burnt, malty and fruity notes with a distinctive dry-hop aroma and flavour. The best ever beer with pie and mash.

Deuchars IPA

If a Chap’s paramour insists on imbibing beer rather than a more suitable white wine, then this deliciously floral ale is perfect. Must be served in a ladies’ glass of course as a lady might find a whole pint simply too heavy to hold without assistance. Deuchars’ is not at all bitter and the light, hoppy and honey notes should appeal to even the most squeamish feminine palate.

Harviestoun Schiehallion

Should a Chap’s palate be sullied by mass-produced lager, an acceptable approach to the largely undrinkable fizz is the redoubtable Schiehallion (pronounounced ‘she-hal-i-on’) lager brewed by the lovely fellows at Harviestoun who also produce the marvellous ‘Bitter and Twisted’. Schiehallion has ‘aromas and flavours of fresh-cut grass, brown sugar, lychee and green mango with a crisp palate and a lingering, fresh, grapefruity finish’. Much more acceptable to a Chap. Perfect for drinking in the hot sun messing about in a boat.

Sonnet 43 Steam Beer

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sigh, for the ends of being and ideal grace. Apparently, this isn’t a Chap’s feelings for a pint but from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese’. Being the inspiration for a brewery situated a stone’s throw from Savvy HQ in County Durham, Sonnet 43 produces a smashing range and we would recommend Steam Beer. An amber ale with excellent clarity and a creamy off-white head with a very good retention period. The aroma has well-balanced malt and hop combo with sourdough and nut notes. Marvellous with roast rib of beef.

Wickwar Brewing Company’s Station Porter

The history and development of stout and porter are intertwined. The name "stout" for a dark beer is believed to have come about because a strong porter may be called "Extra Porter" or "Double Porter" or "Stout Porter". The term "Stout Porter" would later be shortened to just "Stout". Whatever the history, this is a heavyweight pint with lots of chocolate and coffee tasting notes. Works wonderfully well with a plate of steak pie or oysters. A marvellous example is the Wickwar Brewing Company’s ‘Station Porter’. A smooth, dark ruby porter with an aroma of roast malt, coffee and rich fruit and a long, smooth warming roast finish.

Timothy Taylor’s Landlord

This is a marvellous pint which embodies the reason a chap goes to his local. A classic strong Pale Ale, Landlord has won more awards nationally than any other beer. Refreshingly reliable, nationally renowned, this full drinking Pale Ale with a complex and hoppy aroma has real "Pulling Power" and stands out in any bar as the ideal regular. We could not promise that a Chap will increase his pulling power but the offer of getting a round in may help.

Banks’ Cereal Thriller

As Gentlemen prefer blondes, we thought a top ten ought to have at least one! Cereal Thriller is a compelling combination of crops - the palest Barley Malt, Malted Wheat and Golden Naked Oats. This tantalising trio intriguingly intertwine, transforming to a translucent blonde beer with tremendous complexity.  And of course - a heartwarming hoppy ending.  A real stunner!

Marston’s Pedigree

A pint of Pedigree on a balmy, warm day whilst listening to the thwack of leather on willow and appreciating the finer points of fielding strategy at the cricket is a splendid thing. Brewed with natural Burton spring water and traditional varieties of barley and hops (Fuggles and Goldings) and using proper wooden casks for a classic bitter finish. We particularly applaud their commitment to Anglo-Australian diplomacy.






  • Hi Paul
    Just to let you know Doombar is from Sharp’s Brewery, Rock, Corwall.
    P.S unfortunatly I am not being paid for this either in cash or kind !!!.

    Posted by John Madle
  • Know Doombar? We don’t…but there is no limit to our commitment in this field. Please send supplies, urgently! The revival of real ales is such a welcome kickback against the mediocrity of mass production. Keep up the good work! Always good to hear from you, John. Hope you are keeping well. Paul.

    Posted by Paul Tiernan
  • I say no Doombar, "know Doombar know beer!!!.

    Posted by John Madle

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