Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Battle of the Bests- Southern Round

At the start of Feb I reviewed a couple of Yorkshire best bitters, I thought it would only be fair then that I review some from the south this month. I chose one very widely distributed best that is bordering on national (and to a lesser degree international) brand status ,Fullers London Pride, one obscure best from a brewery whose products I will become all to familiar with when I visit my partners hometown of Horsham ,Hall and Woodhouse Fursty Ferret, and a best which is reasonably common around the south of England and has recently been showing up regularly around here, Wadworth 6X.

Fullers London Pride 4.7%

Coming from the only regional brewery left in London, London Pride is a pretty common sight on the pumps around England and can be picked up pretty widely from supermarkets and off licenses in my neck of the woods.

London Pride pours a burnished gold with a tight white head. Aroma features the classic Fullers yeast nose of orange fruit, crisp warm malt and a faint hint of tangy hop. On the palate there is sweet malt reminiscent of baking, orange fruit and a balanced finish of malt, citrus fruit and gentle bitterness.

Wall and Woodhouse Fursty Ferret 4.4%

Wall and Woodhouse seem to quietly brew away wooing the supermarket competitions every now and then with another awful fruit syrup spiked golden ale. However in 2000 they were in the right place at the right time to merge with Sussex brewer King and Barnes as the company reeled from a hostile takeover bid from Shepard Neame. I’m not a huge fan of the Badger beers however I better get used to it as I will be spending some time in Horsham next year when I visit the UK.

Fursty Ferret pours a light copper with a fluffy white head. Aroma features an estery blend of apples and pears with a hint of caramel malt. On the palate the fruit salad effect continues cushioned by a rich sweet crystal malt base which leads to a solid bitter finish

Wadworth 6X

Wadworth are a family brewer who have pushed 6X to become a relatively major brand in the south, partially through a 6Xy advertising campaign, sorry I couldn’t resist. I have relatives near Devizes so I hopefully will be have a poke around there Victorian tower brewery next year.

6X pours a mid copper with a creamy white head. Aroma features fruity hops, a hint of plum and a metallic note. On the plate the fruity notes are continued with plums and berry fruit, earthy hops and a touch of sweet malt leading to light fruity bitter finish. Rather complex even if all the flavours are rather subdued.


Anonymous said...

And who was the winner? You never summed up!

When in London last I bought a bottle of Badger Golden something or other (there were two beers with very similar names) - was either the golden champion or golden glory. It had peach syrup in it and it was TERRIBLE. the underlying beer *might* have been ok (though probably bland) but with this stuff in it.....horrible.


Sam Possenniskie said...

London Pride for me

Ed - that would be the Golden Glory I think. I didn't think it was that bad. If you wanted horrible, try the Blandford Fly next time - the ginger just goes all wrong.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Yep Pride takes the top spot for me.

Martin said...

"Balance" is the key word for London Pride for me - a truly harmonious blend of malt and hops, with neither dominant. A lovely lovely beer.

The bottled version (and the overseas kegged version) is actually a subtly different beer. The main difference is strength - about 5% if I remember rightly as opposed to about 4.2% for the cask version. We were fortunate enough to have a cask version of the bottled version (if you follow my meaning!) at the Ealing Beeer Festival a couple of times, where it was called Pride Export and won Beer of the Festival.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

The pasteurised version is 4.7%abv. I'm actually rather partial to the keg version, its on tap in a couple of places around town.