Firstly sorry for this being so long, I will try to review the ales individually in the future but…
I was going to a family BBQ and I wanted some ales that wouldn’t break the bank but that would still deliver on flavour so I popped to morrisons to see what they had on offer.
I ended up with a bottle of Cusquena, Holts Humdinger, Marston’s Burton Bitter, Brakspear Bitter and Piddle in the Hole by Wyre Piddle. (The Abbot Reserve and Titanic stout in the photo weren’t £1 so they will be reviewed seperately) From what I gather they also had Spitfire and Hobgoblin for £1 each but had sold out.
The first beer I started with was the Cusquena, to be honest I only bought it because it was £1 and came from Peru, I don’t recall ever having a beer from Peru so thought I would be another country I could add to my beer tour of the world, it also came in a big 640ml bottle ;o)
It poured a lovely light amber colour with a huge head, it didn’t really smell of anything which wasn’t a great start but not the end of the world, It had decent body for a lager, much better than the usual mass produced lager, it’s head retention was also pretty good, It wasn’t the most flavour packed bottle of beer but it was cold, had a slight “beer” taste and went down a treat after the long walk to the BBQ.
Next up was Joseph Halt’s Humdinger It’s a 4.1% ABV, I thought this would be perfect for the BBQ as it’s light and is one of a number of beers in the shops that have honey added to them.
The head was a little disappointing as it was thin and disappeared very quickly, again the beer didn’t have much scent, you could just about smell the honey and a little bit of the hops.
Taste wise it was quite refreshing, it had a hint of sweetness from the honey but it was very subtle so wasn’t too sickly, there was a tiny amount of hoppyness to it and a little bit of lemon so overall it was quite well balanced.
It went a treat with some spicy BBQ pork chops.
I then moved onto Wyre Piddle’s, Piddle in the hole, it has quite a simple label but I think that was part of it’s charm. The beer was a fair bit darker than the two previous beers, It’s 4% and I would say it is a traditional English bitter, It had a hint of caramel, spice and malt, it was very drinkable and would make a great session beer, it had enough flavour to make me buy another bottle the following week.
The penultimate beer was Marston Burton Bitter this came in at 3.8% as is made using “special” Burton spring water, I’s another traditional English Bitter, easy drinking, nice and simple with a good amount of flavour for a beer that’s under 4%. It kept it’s head quite well, there was a little bit of maltyness there that improved as the beer warmed up, I would say it was probably worth the £1 but not much more.
The final beer was Brakspear Bitter which to my surprise was only 3.4% making it the weakest ABV of the day. Funnily enough it was the beer I preferred most, It packed more flavour than the rest of the beers, was well balanced and had a great head, It was hoppy and bitter without being to sharp, there was a nice malty warmth and another flavour which I couldn’t quite make out, it certainly stood out from the other beers, although I’m not sure it would stand up against stronger ales such as hobgoblin quite so well.
All in all I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the ales for £1, I don’t think they compete with some of the stronger more accomplished and flavoursome ales, but at £1 a bottle they are idea for BBQ’s, Parties and occasions where you might not fancy anything stronger.
If I had to put the beers in some sort of preference it would be as follows:
1) Brakspear Bitter
2) Piddle in the Hole
4) Burton Bitter