It’s been too long since one of these, and the beer collection keeps on growing! And so to Westerham, a Kentish brewery based on a National Trust farm.
First up then, is Scotney Best Bitter at 4.3%. It has a nice amber colour but quite a feeble head with large bubbles that quickly faded to nothing. There’s not much of a nose but a gentle sweet malt. In the mouth there’s some fairly malty sweetness and a gentle hop bitter that lingers quite nicely and at least partially balances out that sweetness. It’s nothing particularly incredible, but is a very drinkable best bitter – if a little sticky sweet.
Next is Scotney Pale Ale at 4.0%. Golden, with a slightly finer and more lingering head than the Best Bitter. There’s a sweet, pale malt smell with just a hint of slightly oily hops. In the mouth it has a lighter body with a nice feel from the bubbles. There’s not a great deal of sweet to the taste; certainly less than the nose suggests. There is a fair bit of hop bitterness which actually leaves it tasting quite dry. It’s another traditional tasting beer; nothing very distinctive from the hops but a nicely balanced bitter.
On to British Bulldog, a 4.3% amber beer, with a big lingering head. Another understated nose, with just a hint of grass. In the mouth, the sweetness is somewhere between the last two. It has a serious hoppy bitterness throughout and just a slight hint of citrus at the very end. Another good, simple solid Best Bitter.
The branded National Trust Viceroy India Pale Ale at 5.0% has another big, open bubbled head on top of the golden coloured ale. There’s a sweet, floral nose, with citrus orange notes and a hint of spice. On tasting, it has a warm sweet start in the mouth that fades away into a faintly floral but surprisingly weak bitterness, although it lingers well. Very drinkable, again.
Finally we come to William Wilberforce Freedom Ale at 4.8%. Golden syrup coloured in the glass with another generous, but more finely bubbled head. There’s a fruity nose to it, which feeds into the taste – sweet, grapefruit flavours, without a significant bitterness to it. Quite nice and easy drinking, without being remarkable.
Overall, not a bad collection of traditional beers – although there’s a slight tendency for them to be a little oversweet for my taste.
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