Farsons Brewery

Brewery: Farsons

As well as brewing the ever-present Cisk, Farsons - Malta's oldest and largest brewery -produces a fair variety of other, less lager-y beers for thirsty islanders.

The Farsons Family

Despite their flagship Cisk being a fairly standard European lager, the rest of their range has a lot more in common with the British beer tradition. This is perhaps unsurprising, given both the history of Malta as a Crown Colony and Farson's own history with Simond's Brewery, in Reading.

Green Hop IPA

Green Hop IPA is a 5.7% premium hoppy ale. In the glass, it has a deep golden colour that reminds me of a good scrumpy, along with a fine, fluffy and lingering head.

The nose has dark honeys and hints of earthy hops that wouldn't be out of place in a Kentish ale. In the mouth it's positively creamy; more honey mixed with a nice maltiness and backed up with a solid old-world hop bitterness.

It's very much the Old English version of an IPA; more of a premium bitter than a hop explosion. The 'green hop' monikor is confusing - it's not made with green (fresh, undried) hops, but rather keeping with the general house style of having each beer under a different label colour. Wildly different to what I was expecting but very drinkable.

Hopleaf Pale Ale

Next up, Hopleaf is a 3.8% pale ale which, despite being the lowest alochol beer in the range is sold in a small 250ml bottle instead of the 330ml used by the rest of the range.

A touch paler than the Green Hop IPA but still a nice rich gold in the glass; the head doesn't linger quite as well but still has that fine foamy texture.

The nose has a much hoppier profile; but still full of the leafy, earthy tones of English hops rather than the sweeter, more floral New World flavours we're used to when a beer declares itself "hoppy". Under those hops is a light grain aroma, rather than the more heavy handed sweet notes of the previous beer.

In the mouth, it's the same story - light, not too sweet with a nicely balanced bitterness from the hops. That combined with a perfect, gentle carbonation and it's a dangerously drinkable session ale. Thank the gods it's only 3.8%!

Blue Label Amber Ale

Blue Label is a 4.7% amber ale, here in a simple bottled form - in bars and even cans you're more likely to find it in a "smooth and creamy" nitrogen-dispensed style more associated with the likes of Guinness.

It's a deep copper colour, with a fine but fleeting head without the assistance of the widget. The nose is very biscuity, along with what I can only describe as a slightly metallic edge.

In the mouth, the first sip is a little bland if I'm completely honest. There's a nice foamy mouthfeel, with some red fruits lurking and an almost tannic dryness to balance that out. It's not a beer that cries out to me, but I find myself going back for sip after sip - not earth shattering, but very easy drinking.

Double Red Strong Ale

Double Red is a 6.8% strong ale; deep reddy copper in colour, with a lingering head and an impressive stream of rising bubbles. The nose is full of rich, red berries and a definite hint of that alcohol strength.

It's rich and fruity in the mouth too; like a boozy christmas pudding - succulent dark fruits, and a wonderful alcohol heat that lingers wonderfully after you swallow, and leads you to another mouthful. Dangerously delicious.

Lacto Milk Stout

Lastly, Lacto is a 3.8% milk stout - a beer style I so rarely see overseas. It's almost black in the glass, with only a fleeting head in evidence. The nose has a touch of sweetness, and that 'burnt coffee grounds' aroma of black malt.

In the mouth, it's got that astringency of a good stout; close-to-burnt grains, with a satisfyingly bitter finish. What I'm not getting is the gentle sweetness or creaminess that you might expect from the milk; it's a perfectly nice stout, but it's not quite hitting the promise on the bottle.

Overall, this is an interesting collection of beers; mostly very drinkable, and a very respectable range of styles represented.

This review was originally published 20th June, 2024. It was last updated 20th June, 2024.