A personal guide to the beers I love and the beers I loathe. See also  MY BEER HISTORY


RATINGS * Bilge water ** Drinkable *** Fine **** You’ll want more. ***** Nectar of the Gods. 174 alcoholic beverages  reviewed to date 


RA = Real Ale.  Specific gravities are given when I can remember them.


GENERAL OBSERVATION - Beer is best in its Bitter form, though some German lagers and ciders are fine. Beer is best as Real Ale, and in a pint pot, rather than a can or a bottle. There is no such thing as Draught Beer in a can - Widgets just make canned beer taste smoother, but do not really make it a draught flow beer.  Spirits, such as Whiskey and Rum  should be drunk without water, Ice or coke, orange juice, etc. Lesson (or rant) over - here is a list of the best and worst beers, porters, lagers,  and spirits, etc  in my personal opinion. 


Beers are now listed alphabetically by brewery rather than by beer name - the beer name is given in Bold capitals. 



What form I have tasted this beer in. B – BOTTLE C – CAN F – BEER FESTIVAL P – PUB 

Abbeydale - BLACK MASS ***** 6.6% the name and taste suggest something potent, pagan and archaic – a dark mysterious beer with a rich aroma of hops. . RA F

Abbeydale BRIMSTONE ***** 3.9% Amarillo hops give this a nice shiny look and a very smooth taste - fine session ale. RA F

Acorn HERSBRUKER 5% 5/5 Deceptively soft tasting ale, disguised as a session ale, but one to treat with respect. RA  F

Acorn GORLOVKA IMPERIAL STOUT –– 6% ***** Oddly named Barnsley ale, but a fantastic taste.  RA   F

Acorn OLD MOOR PORTER ***** 4.4%. Delightfully creamy beer that should be baked into cakes. RA  F

Allendale - BLACK GROUSE 4.0% **** A mild with a hint of porter, smooth session ale with a slightly sweet texture to it. RA F

Allgates MOSAIC 4.2% ***** A rich tasting fruit cocktail beer with pine and mango among its mixed flavours. RA F

Allgates – NAPOLEON’S RETREAT 3.9% **** A traditional ale, and a good benchmark ale for beginners RA F

Anarchy Brewery – SINISTAR 4.3% ***** Conservative and traditional despite the name but a fine ale nevertheless. F

 Archers - BLACK JACK PORTER ***** Archers - Dark, rich, almost liquor like, and quite delicious. RA F

Archers MARLEY’S GHOST –***** 7% Strong sugary syrupy beer that leaves in no doubt that it is one to treat with respect – You wish you could drink it all night, but you’d be a fool to try. . RA F

 Archers - WINTER WONDERLAND **** 5.2% A strong Winter Ale that definitely has the right warming effect. . RA F

B & T BEDFORDSHIRE CLANGER –***  3.8% A decent enough session ale but not a particularly memorable one . . RA  F


B & T EDWIN TAYLOR'S EXTRA STOUT *****. 4.5% A strong mild, deceptively so, almost too strong to call it mild, but with this taste, who cares? RA F 


 Bank Top BIG BUMP - LITTLE BUMP () 4.5% **** Amusingly named bitter,  with a logo depicting a pregnant woman in cartoon form, or possibly the beer belly it will give you if you take too  much of a liking to the beer  which is easy with a decent, though non-to-special ale like this. RA P

Bank Top LEPRECHAUN STOUT –6% ***** Dark ale with added blackcurrant – very good indeed. RA F/P

Bank Top RED BARON  4.1% ***** Launched at the Bolton Beer Festival 2010 and sure to fly far – very nice ale. RA F

Bank Top - SAMUEL CROMPTON'S ALE *** 4.2%  Pleasant drinkable staple beer in anchester, but not particularly distinguished. RA P

Banks’s BITTER ***** 3.8% A fair to middling ale – that they give it no name other than just Bitter shows how traditional this one is. B

Bateman’s - VALIANT .2%. A weak beer with the taste and consistancy of cold tea. It takes forever and a day to settle in the glass. Awful F. 

Bazen's. BLACK PIG MILD ***** 3.6% - There's a slight taste of antiseptic TCP to this and it is more akin to bitter than mild. Eccentric drink that just shouldn't work, but it does. RA .  F

 Beartown BEARLY LITERATE  4.5% **** Almost a wheat beer, but not quite – a strong smooth taste – quite a satisfying ale. RA F  

Beartown POLAR ECLIPSE 4.8% ***** Delightfully mild stout

Cross Bay – BLACKFELL PORTER 4.6% ***** An unusually smooth Porter, with just a hint of chocolate. RA F

Blackwater - YAKUZA 4.2% *** Rather watery tasting,  - a name like Yakuza makes it sound dangerous to mess with,  but it's a quite safe beer over all. RA F

BODDINGTONS *** - Manchester brewed until recently. When I was in Canada, I wanted to try Canadian Beers, and one publican there tried to convince me, a Mancunian,  that Boddingtons was Canadian. He really got a telling off  for that. Beer wise, Boddies tastes fine when well kept, and serves as a useful fall back beer if the real ale isn't flowing. Canned Boddies is a real no-no though. P/C/B

Boggart – MUD BRAWLER PORTER 4.4% ***** A surprisingly light porter with a touch of chocolate in the taste

 Bollingtons - WHEAT NANCY – Bollington’s – 4.2% 5/5 Rich taste and aftertaste, named after a folly, but not folly to drink this.  RA F

Bogart Brewery NOIR NELL **** 4.2%  Xmas ale, warming and rich textured. RA F 

 Bowland - ADMIRAL OF THE BLUES ***** a very rich exotic, distinctive fruit taste, with a dash of vanilla. Marvellous  RA F 

Bowland CROMWELL STOUT –– 4.5% ***** Bitter bordering on stoutiness, but a fine beer with a hint of fruit. RA F

Bowland Brewery HUNTERS MOON 3.7% * the taste of cold coffee isn’t my idea of fun beer. RA F

Bowland Brewery SKY DANCER 4.5% ***** Gorgeous bottled ale, with multi-national hops combinations B


Brampton -1302  *****  Rich hoppy golden bitter. A very tasty real ale.RA F   

Brampton – WASP NEST 5.0% ***** A very sweet amber taste

 Brew Dog - 77 LAGER  5% 5/5 A rarity, a lager that gets served at Real Ale festivals, - - make them well and us bitterites will take a taste. RA F

Brightside – MAVERICK IPA 4.8% Light tasting amber/copper ale, border between session ale / non-session ale RA F

BUDWAR ***** 5% As strong imported lagers go, this Czech beer is one of the finest, and a very popular drink with my Civil War Re-enactment buddies who go through  several cases of it.  Not to be confused with American Budweiser  P/B. 

BUDWEISER * How anyone can drink this is beyond me - it tastes insipid and I find it almost impossible to get drunk on it. C/B/P   

Buntingford NIGHT OWL PORTER *** 4.2%. Slight watery aftertaste spoils an otherwise nice light beer. A very mild mild indeed. Nice and harmless.  RA F 

Buntingford OATMEAL STOUT **** 4.4%. Rich & Impressive tasting stout. RA F 

Burton Bridge GOLDEN DELICIOUS ***** 3.7%. Tastes stronger than it is, and definitely lives up to its name. RA F 

Butts JESTER ORGANIC **** 3.5%. Fizzy, fun, and nice. A bitter for those making a slow transition from alcopops to proper beer. RA.F  

Buxton KINDER SUNSET –– 5.5% ***** Wild blendof tastes in every sip, bitter, sweet, ruby, caramel. Sensational ale. RA F

 Caerngorm BLACK GOLD - ***** 4.9%  Award winning Scottish ale that bridges the dimensional gap between mild and stout, to give a terrific double taste effect. To top it all, they add liquorice and blackcurrant into the mix. Extra-ordinary. . RA F

CAFFREYS *** Quite a smooth beer that  grew in popularity as an Irish beer that isn't a Guinness stout in the 1990's.    P/C/B

Cain’s  BITTER  4% *** Lively tasty bitter,  but one that would taste dull if consumed over a full session. One to enjoy before moving on to finer things. RA P 

Caledonian Brewery SANTA'S LITTLE HELPER ***** 3.9% - A light seasonal ale that tastes a lot stronger than it actually is, - ideal for a long, relaxed drinking session  over the festivities of Yule. RA   F

Carling Black Label - 4.5% * Utter bilge 

Carlsberg Lager * Probably not the best lagerin the World Blaeh! 

  Castle Rock Brewery HEMLOCK ***** 4% - Neat fruity session ale.  RA F

 Cellar Rat Somewhere brewery FAT RAT  **** 4.6% - A fun beer tasting of cherries and brandy - just about makes it as a session ale - and with that taste well worthy. RA F

CHAMPAIGN *** To some readers, this will sound sacrilegious, but I find the reputation of Champers,  on its own or in a Bucks Fizz, quite over-rated. It's  nice to drink, but hardly the best drink going. For weddings and other major celebrations, I would prefer a good Chardonnay anytime.P/B 

Coach House Brewery GUNPOWDER MILD 3.8% *****  Rich creamy and tastes much stronger than it actually is. A fine session ale RA P 

COBRA BEER - *** Slightly spicy bottled Indian Lager that is  sold in curry houses to accompany the spicy meals. I quite like it. Occasionally it can be found on draught and then it is very likeable indeed.  P/B

College Green MOLLY’S CHOCOLATE STOUT *****  4.2% Lovely’ like melted alcohol flavored Galaxy Chocolate. RA F

Coniston - BLUEBIRD XB  4.2% ***** A great amber ale celebrating speed king, Donald Campbell. RA  F

Conwy – INFUSION 3.9% A gentle sweet tasting bitter RA P

Copper Dragon SCOTS 1816 - **** 4.1% Fizzy, slightly acidic beer, and contains fruit but difficult to say which fruits. Tastes great though.  . RA F

Crabbie's GINGER ALE - Alcopops for the older generation - Ginger beer at 4% proof ***** P B 

Crown - WHEATY BITS (CLOUDY) *** 4.4%  Sheffield - The name is probably a pun on breakfast cereal Weetabix,  - An odd tasting ale - not strong but hardly one to drink all night F RA

Cumbrian Legendary Ales  - AMERICAN INVASION 5^ ***** inspired by a doomed American invasion of Britain via Whitehaven and agreat taste – aftertaste strog ale. RA F


Daleside SQUARE RIGGER IPA  4.5% **** Lovely sharp biter, rich in malty hops. RA  F

Dent - RAMSBOTTOM 4.5%  ** strong on fruits, marred by a dash of coffee that stops it tasting too like drinking a beer. RA F

DEUCHERS IPA **** This one sparks  whole debates on how best to pronounce it, i.e. Duke-ers, Dockers, Doy-chers. One barmaid advised me wisely to just ask for the IPA.  However you say it,  drinking it  is well worth the experience. RA P/B

Dunham Massey - CHOCOLATE AND CHERRY STOUT ***** A fine tasting craft beer that goes down way too smoothly P RA 

Dunham Massey PORTER 5.2% **** A dark ale with a hint of coffee but not a bad taste overall

 Dunham Massey TREACLE TREAT –, ***** Tastes bitter rather than sweet as the name might suggest, but a fine beer all the same. RA P

Durham MAGUS * 3.8% - A beer that tastes of literally nothing, almost devoid even of water. It doesn't seem possible to be the taste equivalent of invisible, but this beer achieves it. . RA F

EBONY ***** 4.5%  Front Street - This one tastes stronger than its gravity suggests, and well worth a pint or three. RA F

Elland – NETTLETHRASHER 4.4% *****  A creamy favourite among beer festival selections I’ve tried. RA F

Elland - SPACE 5.5% ***** Lovely mix of UK & US hops, with a copper colour and fabulous taste.RA F

Ellen Ales EDEN ALE *****  4.3% Smooth, golden tasting session ale.RA F 

4T’s – FACE THE HOPS ***** 5.5% You really do taste the hops in this rich ale too – fabulous.

Foxfield – WONDERFUL LIFE 7.7% ***** But a short life at that strength if you keep drinking it – delicious poison

Fullers WINTER ALE ***** 4.8% Fullers - Very nice beer indeed, and a great way to stay warm in the cold season. RA F 


Fuzzy Duck MUCKY DUCK – 4.0%  ***** Sweet mild with a chocolaty aftertaste. RA  F


Fuzzy Duck - STOUT  $% *** A traditional mild marred by a hint of coffee and chocolate in the mix. Be better without I thought.  RA F

Fuzzy Duck - TANGERINE DUCK  4.4% ***** Citric taste of real tangerines in a very unusual but excellent ale. Shouldn’t work, but it does RA F .

Gale’s SEAFARERS –. 3.6%  **** Light amber ale, refreshing and very much a session beer. Pleasant but somehow short of perfect. RA F 

George Wright’s ROMAN BLACK BEER –– 4.7% ***** Dark ale, if a little over foamy but very nice. RA F

GLUWEIN ***** Strong, and best served heated up like a toddy (in fact cold it tastes vile). This is a great Xmas drink, often sold at the Christmas Markets. good to drink and send to friends in presentation bottles. F/B 

Greene King – ABBOT ALE ***** A   fine copper coloured full bodied session ale

Greenfield BILLY O’JACKS– 5.5% ***** Tastes light but carries a kick to the taste to remind you its no session ale. RA F

Greenfield – SILVER OWL 4%**** 25TH anniversary special for the Oldham beer festival, a fizzy light refreshing taste.

Greenfield UPPERMILL ALE –4.4% ***** Ruby red rich Northern brew, subtlke in its malty aftertaste. Wonderful. RA F

GROLSH ****– Beer which is rarely seen on draught, but  not bad as a bottled beer, either, and its bottles have those fantastic pop-caps P/B.

 GUINNESS **** I like  Guinness,  though I generally only drink it when the bitters are poor or unavailable. I have yet to find out if it really tastes better in Ireland than over here in England. Some people say it is better, others that it is exactly the same.P/C/B

Hambleton’s GHOSTLY GLORY –4.0% ***** Sweet tasting amber ale with lotys of maltiness too. RA F

Hamblleton – NIGHTMARE 5% **** A fine non-scary strong beer RA F

Hampshire Ales PINK ELEPHANT - 5.4% **** This sounds as if it should be strong and hallucinatory, but it tastes relatively modest and I didn't feel  any more drunk for its consumption than before taking it,  but it tastes fine. RA F

Harviestown MAE BEST ***** 4.2% - Daft name for a sensible session ale, blend of modest taste and illusion of strength. RA F

Harviestoun Brewery PTARMIGAN  4.5% *** Very sugary sweet beer, not one you would like to sup over a full session, but very nice to sample at least once. RA F

Hawkshead BRODIE’S PRIME 4.9% ***** Strong porter, just too strong to be a session ale, with a cool, smoky aftertaste. RA  F

Hawkshead – BRODIE’S PRIME 8.5% ***** A half strength version is available to -  strong roasted malt flavour – awesome. RA F

 High House Farm - AULD HEMP **** 3.8% not as druggy as its name suggests, and not very strong at all - a decent enough session ale. RA F

High House Farm GLOTT’S HOP –() 5.0% ***** An excellent and strong beer festival discovery – it tastes deceptively light for a strong ale. RA F

High House Farm) MAFTEN MAGIC 4.8% - **** A chocolate beer which isn’t spoilt by adding coffee as so many are. The chocolate doesn’t taste like a melted Mars Bar, so it doesn’t forget that it is primarily a beer. RA F

Hilden Ales. SCULLION'S IRISH *** 4.6% Quite weak tasting despite it's gravity, almost with a film of fine water to it, but not unpleasant to drink. RA F

Hornbeam CALIFORNIA DREAM BEER ***** 4.4%   - Denton, Manchester is not the USA, but despite the useless name it's a fine beer for session drinking. RA P

Hornbeam DARK DOMINION 4.79% Tastes stronger than it is but still too strong for a traditional session ale, which is a crying shame when it tastes this rich. . RA P

Hornbeam HOPPY PRESENSE 4.5% ***** A dark tasting, fine session ale, in an easily acquired tasting ale. P RA

Hornbeam – THUMPIN’ PUMPKIN 4.9% **** Dark copper ale with a hint of Halloween and a rich lingering after-taste P RA

Hornbeam - TEARS OF ANGELS * 4.0%  rather thin and insipid tasting real ale despite its medium strength - the alcopop bitter equivelent of tap water. RA  P

Hornbeam TOP HOP 4.2% 5/5 Classic session ale from a fine brewery. Hops heavy as the name suggests. RA P

Howard Town DARK PEAK –*****  6.2% Rich porter with a dash of rum added for flavour. What’s not to like? RA F

Ilkley - STOUT MARY  4.5^ ***** One of the finest stouts I’ve ever enjoyed. RA F

Inveralmond LIA FAIL 4.7% 5/5 Good enough to make you want more, but the gravity is too high for session ale-ing this one. RA  F

Inveralmond THRAPPLEDOUSER 4.3 ****  An initially deep taste evaporates very quickly to ordinary. Elusive and frustrating.  RA F

 Irwell Works COPPER PLATE –– 3.8%***** Lovely copper coloured smooth tasting ale with a creamy head.RA F

Isle Of Turbeck - THERMAL CHEER **** 4.8% dark and strong beer with a contrasting soft and gentle taste. RA F

J P Brewery BEST BITTER – 4.3% *** Strong tasting for a session beer strength, with an aftertaste that lingers that makes shifting to other ales a little challenging. RA U 

JR BEST – Raw – 4.2% ***** A new traditional no nonsense bitter, a good benchmark starter for first time tasters. RA F

Jarrow –RIVET CATCHER 4% **** A  getle fizziness to a golden glowing fine session ale RA F

Jennings - REDBREAST ***** 4.5% Great Winter warmer ale, with a deep glowing aftertaste. RA F

JOHN SMITH'S BITTER ** Dull beer that  I'll settle for drinking if nothing better is on offer. Often served as the token ale  in bars that think alcopops and lager are all anyone really wants P/C. 3.8% 

 JOHN WILLIE LEES * some of my family will go out of their way to find a JWL  bar. I’ll go out of my way to avoid this rubbish. An acquired taste I never could acquire P. 

John Willie Lees – DRAYMAN’S PROMISE 4.1% *** Drinkable but nothing special RA F 

John Willie Lees DRAGON'S FIRE - A rare palatable Lees ale RA P 

John Willie Lees MANCHESTER RAMBLER *** - A great improvement on the slop that is their bitter. RA P 

Joseph Holt’s BITTER ***** Manchester’s cheapest pb treat of an ale – an acquired taste I easily acquired RA P

Joseph Holts - BLACK ***** Strong smooth mild RA P 

Joseph Holt’s MILD Not quiye as great as the bitter but still a great beer RA P

Kelham Island GENTLEMAN DEATH 6% Great name foir a great porter RA F

 Kelham GINGER WINGER  - 4.7% ***  Oddly named for a dark, stoutish, strong bitter. It's a name you'd associate with wheat beers, but whatever they call it, this is a good one. RA F

Keswick – THIRST FALL 4.8%  ***** A chocolate ale with roasted malts and a very smooth finish RA F

Kirby Lonsdale JUBILEE STOUT –– 5.5% Terrific strong liquorice flavoured stout. RA F

Kirby Lonsdale –RADICAL 4.2% **** A quite traditional ale, a bitter bordering on mild with a nice ruby glow  RA F 

Kopperberg Pear Cider 4.5% *** Nothing special P B 

KRIEK – Liefman’s 6%  ***** Belgian cherry beer, too strong to drink like lemonade sadly – totally delicious. P

KRONENBERG 1664 Standard imported bottled fizzy lager * 

Lancaster BLACK –4.5% ***** A very tasty stouts that proves totally satisfying. RA F

LANCASTER LANCASTER RED  4.9% ***** Fruity, dry, sweet tasting copper coloured session ale.  RA F

Little Valley GINGER PALE ALE 4.0% *** Disappointingly light on the ginger with nice citrus fruit tastes – unexciting RA F

Liverpool FATHER TOM’S RUBY MILD 3.5% **** Mixes several hoppy and crisp flavours but tastes a little watery to me. RA F

Liverpool Craft Beers – HOP BEAST 4^ *** Despie it’s fierce name a fauilrly average decent session ale butnothing special.RA F

Magic Rock – STRONG STOUT 6% ***** This lives up to its name with rich malted taste and gentle aftertaste

Marble Brewery CHOCOLATE ALE –5.3% ****  Very nice, like an alcoholic chocolate cake, very heavy in cocoa,  with a slight burnt taste – not one to drink all evening, but worth a taste.RA F

Marble - PINT ***** 3.9% Great session ale with a confusing name – try ordering half a pint of Pint and see the bar staff get confused. RA P 

Marston Moor MERRIE MAKER –- ***** 6.5% Beer with the opposite effect to an aftertaste in that the initial richness of the beer hits you instantly and then melts away like candy-floss almost immediately, but stays in the memory as the strength stays in your liver. . RA P

MARSTON’S BITTER ** Cheap slightly watered Pedigree.  RA P

 MARSTON’S PEDIGREE *** Slightly more expensive and stronger than their ordinary bitter, but not exceptional. RA P

Mayflower BLACK DIAMOND– 3.6% A superb session mild ale. RA F

 Maypole MAE WEST - **** 4.6% - The name is wrong as you'd expect a full bodied strong beer to be named after the heavily breasted actress concerned, but despite really being an Audrey Hepburn, it is a fine beer all the same. RA 

Merlin THE WIZARD 4.2% ***** Explodes in a rich variety of taste sensations – genuinely magical ale. RA F

Millstone – TIGER RUT 4% ***** A tinctive citrus lemony taste and not as strong as it seems – terrific. F RA

Mighty Oak SAXON STRONG –***** 6.5% 2008 competition Ale, and a very aggressive contender given its assault on the taste buds. . RA F

Moles – MOLE CATCHER 5% ***** dark looking, dark tasting strong and with a pleasant lingering aftertaste RA F

Moor WITHY CUTTER** 3.8% Moor. Bland, almost tasteless and non-descript bitter. RA F

Moorhouse’s BLONDE WITCH  - 4.5% ***** Golden in colour and taste, smooth silky session ale P/B.

Moorhouses - ELVES BELLES 4.4% ***** rich copper coloured yuletide special rich in flavour and aftertaste. RA   

Moorhouse’s -PENDLE WITCH ***** – The finest Beer on the planet. RA P

Mount Murray MANX PRIDE (Bushey’s) 4.2 *** A soft light taste, fine, but nothing special. RA F

MURPHY'S 4.0% ****  Guinness clone that some say is better than its more famous rival, but on the whole Guinness is much richer P/C. 

Newby Wyke) BLACK FUNNEL (5.0% **A mixture of hops that makes it taste like a mixture of several beers poured into one glass by mistake – an experiment that doesn’t quite work. RA F

Newbie Wyke KINGSTON TOPAZ ***** 4.2% A lovely session ale with a golden glow. RA F

Newcastle Brown Ale aka, Newkie, Dog) Popular bottled ale and quite reliably tasty 4.7% 

 Northern Brewing MAR’V’LUS MILD 4.1% 5/5 – New mild, and one that’s here to stay. Lives up to its immodest name. RA F

Nutbrook – RESPONSIBLY 4% ***** There is a massive moderate your alcohol intake campaign in the UK that calls on everyone to ‘drink responsibly’, meaning that we should stay within medicaly advised units and never ever get intoxicated. Now a drink comes along called Responsibly, enabling us to get blotto whilst still drinking Responsibly – joy. RA F


Tasting notes – It has alovely citrus tang to it and a light golden colour. RA F

Oakham ATTILLA  7.5% 5/5 Mongol hordes invade your beer, a great thundering assault that leaves impressions. RA F 


Oakham - JEFFREY HUDSON BITTER *****  Terrific big tasting beer named after a dwarf who became a Royalist Cavalry Officer in the English Civil war. You can about read his story at  RA F

Okells - AILE – ***** 4.5% A great session ale,  - marketed as a Winter Ale, but good all the year round. RA F

Okells ELIXER –***** 6.8% Strong beer and tastes it too – a great beer to finish the night with after a few session beers. RA F

OLD CODSWALLOP Cider  7% ***** A genuine strong apple cider with a hint of orange in the taste too.

Old School – HEADMASTER  4.5% *** Nice copper colour but rather watery tasting – must try harder as my school headmaster would say RA F .

Old Wavertonian – SPITTING FEATHERS 4.4% ** A decent ale spoilt bythe taste of coffee that might give it appeal to some RA F

Orchard’s.SANTA’S LITTLE COSTREL ***** 9.1% I rarely bother with ciders, but this uber-dry cider is a good one, quite a grainy solid liquid and strong too. . RA F

Otley DARK O –***** 3.8% Delightful session ale – definitely one to relax with and savour. . RA F

Otley HAZY ***** 8% A good strong beer to have just before leaving a pub or a beer festival – as rich as a fruit cake and as good as one too. . RA F

Outstanding Brewery SMOKED OUT 5% 3/5 Smoky after-taste like you’ve just walked through a recently burnt building with fresh fried bacon strips.  RA F

Paradise Ales NANTWICH ALE –***** 5.6% A beer reminiscent of the school tuck shop – very sweet – for grown ups with nostalgia for childhood. . RA F

Partners – SHODDY PORTER 4.5% A chocolate ale with a definate non-shoddy taste *****.RA F

 Pennine Brewery, Haslingdon, Bury RAILWAY SLEEPER ***** 4.2%. A session ale that tastes stronger - well worth seeking out. RA F

Phoenix STRAWBERRY 4.2% ***** Bubble gum taste but far from unpleasant – English brewed continental style beer. RA F

Phoenix Brewery - WOBBLY BOB 6% *****  Wobbly Arthur too after a few of these – Shame few session ales taste this smooth. RA P  

Pictish KASBEK 4.2% ***** A beer recommended to me by other ale festival attendees and understandably so RA F

Pictish brewery EARTHQUAKE ***** 7.3% - Rochdale - As brutal and shaking on the taste buds as the name and gravity suggest and that's a compliment RA F

Pictish SIREN – ***  4.1% Rather bland tasting wheat beer. Drinkable but unexceptional. RA F 

Prospect BIG JOHN –4.8% **** Dark mild with a hint of liquorice, has a flat look to it but lovely to drink. RA F

Purple Moose MADOG'S ALE *** 3.7% Dry tasting, and actually seems to clear your mouth of all moisture, leaving you thirsty for more. RA F

RAMSBOTTOM – Dent – 4.5%  ** strong on fruits, marred by a dash of coffee that stops it tasting too like drinking a beer. RA F

RCH of Somerset FIREBOX  6.0% ***** Strong and treacherously so as it tastes good enough to want more of it. An instantly addictive beer. RA F

 Red Rose CARE-TAKER OF HISTORY - ***** 6% Deceptively light taste might dupe you into thinking of this as a session ale, but that gravity would soon prove you wrong. Goes down way too easily. . RA F

Red Willow -  AGELESS – 7.2% ***** A very strong way to finish a night – drink session ales then cap things off with this. RA F

  Redwillow FECKLESS 4.1% ***** fizzy bitter with hoppy taste and a hint of toffee – very tasty RA F

Ridgeside BLACK NIGHT –5% ***** Chocolate malted ale and definitely one to return to RA F

Robinson’s OWD TOM 8%  ***** Legendary strong ale  that real ale aficionados save to the end of a night at a beer festival, so that they are sober enough to enjoy all the other beers first. Not a beer for amateurs. RA P

Robinson’s - STOCKPORT ALE * Tastes like it was dredged straight from the Mersey. RA P

Saddleworth HONEYSMACKER 4.1% *** Beer with a trickle of honey in the taste, sweet golden ale RA F

Sadler’s WINTER SPICE 4.7% **** Light on the promised spiciness but a rather nice creamy flavour and golden shine. P RA

Saltaire - TRIPLE CHOCOLATE ALE – 4.8% ***** Delicious creamy rich, like an alcoholic chocolate milkshake. RA F

Saltair WINTER ALE – Saltair - ***** 4.9% A creamy smooth session ale – very nice. . RA F

 Sam Smith's CLASSIC BITTER ***. 3.8% Soft, frothy, smooth bitter with a modicum of taste - nothing special, but nothing to complain about either.P 

Sharp's CHALKY'S BITE  6.8% 5/5 Named after TV chef Rick Stien's dog, and sponsored by the chef but don't let that put you off. It's good beer.  RA F

Shephard Neame = BISHOP’S FINGER ***** 5%  An excellent ale more often bottled than availble on draught in the North West. B/P

Shephard Neame – SPITFIRE 4.5% **** Pleasant enough beer, but lacking the ferocity and wonder of the legendary fighter aircraft from which it gets its name. RA P/B

Southport Brewery NATTERJACK –*** 3.9% Initially tastes watery, so the far from unpleasant aftertaste comes initially as something of a surprise, though the novelty wears off after a while to leave modest contented drinking pleasure. . RA F 


Spectrum - YULE FUEL – ***** 7% Delicious, so if you get one, do keep the gravity in mind before considering whether to get another – a session ale if you want a very short session. . RA  F

Spire NOCTERINE PORTER –***** 5.7% Strong rich and creamy – you’ll wish it was weaker so you could drink more. . RA F

Springhead CROMWELL'S HAT *****. 6% A veritable general among beers as the name suggests.  Strong, and forceful,  commanding respect, and impossible not to notice al  the way down. RA  F

Stella ARTOIS - Stronger than average lager 4.9% sometimes caled wife-beater - pallatable in small doses. 

Stewart Brewery EDINBURGH GOLD *** 4.8%  - Tastes like a session ale but just too strong to qualify  pleasant soft taste. RA F

 Stewart BreweryWINGATHER 4.5% **** Lovely beer promoted as having a fruity taste, though I find that undetectable – nevertheless it tastes a fine ale. If anything, fruit would spoil it. RA F

3 B’s TACKLER’S TIPPLE –4.3% *** Good but no favourite as beer tasting of biscuits isn’t my tipple – Maybe not a tackler. RA F


3 Rivers Brewery OLD DESREPUTABLE ***** 5,2% A beer that straddles the border between dark bitter and  stout, probably  from the stout side, but rich, creamy and can I have another one please...? RA F

3 Rivers - YUMMY THIGGY PUDDING 7% 3 Rivers. Strong Belgian style Xmas festivities al, which lives up to its  yummy promise. RA F 

Tatton Ales – YETI 4.5% ***** A strong tasting beer with fine aftertste and a rich enduring head. RA F


TETLEY'S BITTER **** - One of the better traditional non-real ale beers, and one I often easily migrate to in the absence of  cask conditioned ales P/C.  

Theakston's  BEST MILD ***** Fine dark strong mild - proof that there's more to Theakston's than Old Peculiar.  P

Theakston’s OLD PECULIAR ***** 5.6% The stuff of legends, and a great name for the effect it can have on you if you overdo this fine strong beer. RA P/B 

Thornbridge JAIPUR XB) 5.9% **** Strong beer saturated in hops and giving a great aftertaste. RA F

Thornbridge JAYWICK – 4.8% 5/5 American pale ale, tastes pretty mighty, and an easy one to pick even when other good ales are on offer. RA F

 Thwaites‘s - WAINWRIGHT – 4.1%  ***** Named after the famous walker, map book writer, and as much loved as its namesake. A fine ale to sup after trekking the hills. RA P

TIGER BEER *** Decent enough for a bottled lager and one  that is popular in Chinese restaurants. B 


Titanic DARK MILD -***** 3.5%  Dark only in colour - very light in taste - a delightful session ale. RA F

Toad THE DA VINCI TOAD –5.5% *****  great pun of a name and a fabulous tasting strong ale. RA F


Tomas Watkin MERLIN STOUT –– ***** 4.2% A terrific session ale, and a worthy competition ale. . RA F

Traditional Scottish Ales STIRLING BRIG *** 4.1% Created to commemorate the battle of Stirling Bridge, though rather genttle in taste for a beer associated with such savage times. RA F

Ulverston - BAD MEDICINE 6.3% Respect this - good medicine in moderation - Session Ale only for suicides. Rich tasting, strong beer. RA F


Ulverston brewery BLACK CHRISTMAS 6.5% ***** A persistent Xmas ale, given its all year round appearance at beer festivals. Dangerously good - a sure way to wake up hung over on Boxing Day if you try to drink it all night. RA F


Ulverston - STOUT OLLIE 4.3% Excellent modest mild, named after the great comedian but nothing funny about a good serious beer. RA F

Wapping Brewery WAPPING STOUT ***** 5% The name sounds like a boast until you drink it and realize that they are not joking at all. This is a big wapping beer. RA F 

Wapping ZEBU 3.8% *** Despite claims to be brewed with a hint of rum, in keeping with its obscure nautical name, (being Christened after a Tall ship), the beer is quite gentle on the palette. RA F

Wear Valley - EXCALIBUR – Wear Valley ** Weak tasting, and though not undrinkable, proves utterly unexceptional. . RA F

Wensleydale –  SEMER WATER  4.1% ** Nondeescript citrus ale with a daft name – unexceptional. RA F

West Berkshire - MR. CHUBBS LUNCHTIME BITTER West Berkshire ***** 3.7% Eccentric name for a good session beer which is ideal for anyone wanting a quick pint at lunchtime before going back to the office, and returning to in the evening after work. . RA F

Wharfbank – CELTIC GLORY 4.0% ***** Strong tasting session ale stout, with a fine taste and lasting after-taste. RA F

Wharfbank - WISPA Wharfbank – 5.1% ***** a fizzy tasting ale that should wean anyone of the alcopops onto proper beer RA F.

Whim - KASKADE – Whim 4.3% 5/5 The bitterest bitter of all, sharp, and it hits your taste buds, surrender. It’s worth it. RA F

WHITBREAD'S BITTER ** - Amazed to find they still sell this stuff recently,   when drinking at a social event at the Manchester Town Hall. It tastes  better than I remembered it of old, but hardly a classic. P

Wickwar - MR. PERRETT’S TRADITIONAL STOUT ***** 5.9% Anyone who thinks mild is a soft option should try this strong mild, which tastes quite modest as it slowly takes you past the point of no return. . RA F

Williams Brothers - MIDNIGHT SUN 5.6% ***** potent Porter, with a hint of ginger, and eenthusiasticaly recommended to me by friends at a beer festival. RA F

Wilson Potter – IN THE BLACK 4.2% ***** a liquorice stout – sells itself to me right away

 Wincle - WIBBLY WALLABY – 4.4% ***** Fruity amber ale, with a neat finish. I was congratulated by bar staff for not calling it Wibbly Wobbly as many do. RA F

Wold A4 AMBER ***** 5% Wold Top  - Easily mistaken for session ale by the unwary - actually quite a strong brew and very nice, with its name partly derived from the glowing colour. RA F

Wold Top - MARS MAGIC ***** 4.6%  Down to Earth, despite the name, a no nonsense beer - very malty but quite nice too. RA F

 Woodenhead. CORNISH MUTINY **** 4.8% Strong bitter that tastes like a mild - the mutiny is a betrayal of the taste buds, but in a nice way. RA F 

Woodfordes - NELSON’S REVENGE ***** 4.5% A decent session ale, reminiscent of lots of other fine beers you may have appreciated – a déjà vu beer. Not quite sure how Nelson is avenging himself on us with such a tipple it’s far too forgiving. . RA F

WORTHINGTON'S BITTER ** Easy going smooth tasting beer, that has survived the test of time well - one of the better non-real ales P / C. 

Wychwood - HOBGOBLIN ***** 5.2%  A good beer to have around Halloween,   when it is marketed with flashing eyed pumpkins. It has a rich taste and a sense of darkness to it.  I loved their ‘Scared of the dark, lager-boy?’ advertising promotion. RA P/B


Wychwood – PUMPKING 4.8% ***** There;s a growing trend for Halloween novelty ales and this is a fine example