Not too long along I was able to wander down the aisle of beer in my local Tesco store and pick up a few bottles of what I had tagged ‘old favourites’, Hip Hop from local brewer Langham, Jack Brand Innovation IPA from Adnams, St Peter’s Cream Stout…basically, beers that were reliably good and made for enjoyable drinking on a quiet Friday night.
Nethergate were also on that list, until Tesco decided to replace these beers with bland substitutes. The beer aisle, with a handful of exceptions, is now an advert for Marstons, Greene King and Carlsberg imports.
This week however, courtesy of Nethergate, I managed to get reacquainted with an ‘old favourite’ as I cracked open a bottle of Old Growler.
Pouring a lighter shade of dark with ruby glowing at the edges, I was instantly reminded of the sweet vanilla fudge notes that burst through the light roast malts upfront. Then there’s the dark fruits that play in the background and that sweeping dryness in the finish. A little bit thinner than the abv would suggest but drinking this beer was like meeting up with an old friend; an affable, enjoyable experience.
This time though it came with a couple new to me, two beers that I’d not tried before, Essex Border and I.P.A (Ian & Paul’s Ale)
Essex Border carries an aroma that is a little earthy with wisps of lemon cutting through. It’s smooth over the palate and dry with a hint of citrus and a light prickly spice. In short, it’s a very classic Golden Ale, tasting a little like a bitter shandy, a good beer for those looking to move away from mass produced, bland lager, this bridges the gap rather well.
It’s at this point that I want to say that on the whole I really like the Nethergate branding, it’s bold without shouting too loud and it’s fun (who doesn’t like a dog in a bowler hat?!) but that label on Essex Border isn’t working for me, it’s clichéd to say the least.
back to the beer and Ian & Paul’s Ale is very classically British in style, a traditional bitter that I found to be perfectly sessionable. Malty caramel notes and a decent prickly carbonation bringing crisp citrus over the palate, this was well balanced with a dry bitter finish. A decent lower abv beer that would be ideal with food on a summers afternoon.
I rarely see Nethergate beers in my neck of the woods (Sussex), in fact, I’ve only ever had their cask beer at festivals but getting to know Old Growler again I’ll be sure not to leave it so long next time and I’ll certainly pick up a bottle of this and IPA if I see them. These beers don’t stomp and shout and vie for attention, they just make for good amiable company and for that they’ll be welcome here again.
Thank you to Nethergate for sending the bottles.
Even though these beers were free to me, I don’t believe that affected my review.