The beer trail moves south once more, this time to West Berkshire, both geographically and by name. The West Berkshire brewery began in 1995 and now has an online shop with a selection of bottled, canned and mini-keg ales. Conveniently, four different beers were available, which fits in nicely with the threshold for free delivery.
Good Old Boy (4.0%)
This is their “flagship” bitter and appears to be the most commonly available, as friends tell me they have seen it in supermarkets in the south of England. It is more malt than hop, and consequently, I wasn’t that keen on it. There is a little hoppiness once you get into it, but the prevailing flavour is malt and fruit.
Mister Chubb’s (3.4%)
A copper-coloured ale with a little more bitterness than the Good Old Boy. It’s a rather lightweight beer, however, not just in terms of strength, but also flavour. Pleasant enough, but a little thin and lacking in character.
Mister Swift (3.7%)
This proved much more appealing, a pale beer with a nice balance, hops winning out this time. A very decent session beer with a floral aroma. There is also a hint of tropical fruitiness.
Full Circle (4.5%)
This also went down very well. A little strong for a session beer, but fine if the session isn’t an extensive one. This is a golden ale that has a good hoppy zing to it. Interestingly, the hops – it’s a single hop beer – are locally grown, one of the very few hop gardens in that part of the country.
Sadly, Maggs’ Mild, a 3.5% mild ale, wasn’t available, but I have it on very good authority that it is worth seeking out. My correspondent, a native of Berkshire, is not normally a mild drinker, but assures me that it is a very fine beer.