Where travel and thirst collide



Blackthorn Cider

Hello cider drinkers,

Today I bring you another ubiquitous cider widely available in any supermarket. There are two versions of this, the more palatable 4.7% (this) and the higher strength 6% version typical geared toward students.

Cider: Blackthorn

Brewery: Matthew Clark Cider, Shepton Mallet, England

Blackthorn Cider - medium carbonated sweet cider mild apple flavour low abv 4o7 - 6o5 () 10
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Impressions: This was a semi-sweet apple cider. Altogether mild in apple flavour with little in the way of additional notes. Medium carbonation.

ABV: 4.7%

Score: 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Verdict: As with many mass market ciders, this is very drinkable. It does nothing to excite, but also nothing to offend. It’s cheap, refreshing, and can do the job. Much better alternatives out there.

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Banks’s Lion’s Roar

Hello ale fans,

Today I bring you an ale from the ubiquitous Banks’s brewery. Typical of these brewers are creamy, low ABV ales, which is exactly where this one falls. Check out their beautiful website here:


Beer: Lion’s Roar

Brewery: Banks’s, Wolverhampton, England

Banks Lion's Roar - England - smooth ale mild hops bitterness semi cereal flavour creamy aftertaste low carbonation - 3o8 abv - 6o5 () 10

Impressions: This was a smooth, creamy ale. A nice rich head to the pint, with low carbonation. Very mild bitterness with low hops hidden in the cereal notes. A nice creamy follow through and after taste.

ABV: 3.8%

Score: 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Verdict: This beer has many qualities that I look for in an ale. Creamy, smooth, easy drinking. But that’s where it stops. It needs more bitterness, more flavour in general. The low ABV drags this beer down further as it lacks any real punch and leaves it a bit on the watery side. That said, amongst the low ABV ales, this is very pleasant and will do the job if that is what you’re after.

Happy Easter! LIVE UPDATE: Isla Negra Reserva 2011

Happy Easter Y’all!

Today I offer a live update of another Tesco ‘half price’ wine offer: Isla Negra Reserva 2011 (£5 down from £10).

Wine: Isla Negra Reserva, 2011

Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon

Vineyard: Cono Sur, Chile

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Impressions: This was another very smooth dry, red wine from Chile. Very mild, with a light body. The dryness hits your mouth with a light amount of tannin, but again is quite mild. Almost refreshing in lightness, with light grape flavour.

ABV: 12%

Score: 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)

Verdict: Again, another easy drinking red wine from Chile. A light amount of tannin hits your mouth, but still an ‘easy drinking’ wine. Light bodied with light grape flavours.  Presumably lighter due to the lower ABV. At only £5, worth a try, but I would have liked a bit more body. Still very good value.
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Ringwood Brewery – I

Today I bring you two beers from the Ringwood Brewery (now under Marston’s ownership).

Beer #1: Boondoggle

Brewery: Ringwood (Marston’s), England

Ringwood Boondoggle - England - smooth blonde ale light and refreshing light cereal notes weak bitterness creamy - 4o2 abv - 6o5 () 10

Impressions: This was a smooth light blonde ale with refreshing, light cereal notes. A creamy head tops a rather weak, and light bodied beer. Low bitterness suits the low ABV of 4.2%, and sits well with the low carbonation.

ABV: 4.2%

Score: 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Verdict: A decent enough beer that is more light and refreshing than full and satisfying.

Beer #2: Best Bitter

Ringwood Best Bitter - England - smooth ale medium bitter with cereal and wood notes but also weak low carbonation pedestrian - 3o8 abv - 6 () 10

Impressions: Another smooth ale, with prominent cereal notes, accompanied by a woody background. Medium to low bitterness accompanies the low carbonation, along with the low ABV of 3.5%.

ABV: 3.5%

Score: 6 / 10 (Low Average)

Verdict: A fairly avoidable bitter that brings nothing new to the table, but isn’t offensive. A decent pint if you want a low ABV beer.

Initial impressions of the Brewery

These two beers don’t inspire much confidence in the brewery. These beers are far from awful, but if there are other options on the menu, I’d more than likely choose those.

Wood’s Brewery

Today I bring you three beers from the relatively young brewery (circa 1980) Wood’s. Found amongst the hills of Shropshire (England), this brewery believes in producing traditional ales to be served in real pubs. They were inspired by the lull in ales available at the time, as gas powered mass produced lagers became more abundant.

Today I bring you three of their creations: Parish BitterPot O’ Gold, and Shropshire Lass.

Beer #1: Parish Bitter

Woods parish bitter england 4 abv low carbonation smooth average alr medium bitterness weak body bitter sweet average 6() 10.jpg

Impressions: This smooth ale presents a fairly mild tone, with a light-medium bitterness throughout the almost watery body. Subtle sweet malt notes hit your tongue toward the end as the lowly carbonated beverage slides down your throat.

ABV: 4%

Score: 6 / 10 (Low Average)

Verdict: An average bitter that presents nothing exciting. It’s smooth and has a respectable taste.

Beer #2: Pot O’ Gold

Wood's pot o gold england smooth ale 4o4 abv creamy bitterness malty citrus average 6 o75 () 10.jpg.jpg

Impressions: Another smooth ale with a creamier body. A much nicer citrus bitterness hits the tongue immediately followed by malted notes. However, it is still a very light bodied ale with low carbonation.

ABV: 4.4%

Score: 6.75 / 10 (Average to Good)

Verdict: A nicer ale that the Parish, it has much more distinct notes. The slightly higher ABV brings a bit more punch to the beer, however, it is still nothing remarkable. Definitely not Britain’s best bitter.

Beer #3: Shropshire Lass

Wood's Shropshire Lass England smooth ale mild slightly sour citrus orange 4o1 abv 6 () 10.jpg

Impressions:  Another light, smooth ale. Very mild with a slightly sour orange / citrus bitterness. Low carbonation and light bodied.

ABV: 4.1%

Score: 6 / 10 ( Low Average)

Verdict: Another, not-so-special ale, that while enjoyable, probably isn’t a repeat buy.


Final thoughts on the Wood’s Brewery:

With a claimed 20~ different ale output every year, I can hardly judge the brewery by these 3 bottled ales. That said, nothing here blew me away. Pot O’ Gold was definitely nicest with it’s slightly more depth of flavour. Nothing here would put me off from drinking from this brewery as they are all perfectly adequate (re: average), but I am not going to be immediately drawn to them if say Doom bar is on tap.

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