Cambridge Winter Ale Festival 2005
Beers & Ciders
Whilst many beers here are Winter ones, as usual there are lighter varieties as
well. This year there seem to be fewer true winter ales on offer, so many of
these are dark and/or strong specials or regular seasonals.
Beer descriptions are from the Good Beer Guide or from the
breweries or from the Web or our own tastings.
Beers which arrived in the Friday re-order are marked *.
Final update: 30-Jan-2005
Archers; Swindon, Wiltshire; 1979
- Marley's Ghost 7.0%
- Pixie Juice 4.2%
Arran; Cladach, Brodick, Isle of Arran; 2000
- Blonde 5.0%
- A hoppy beer with substantial fruit balance and the finish increasingly bitter;
an aromatic strong bitter that drinks below its weight.
B&T; Shefford, Bedfordshire; 1981
- Bedford Clanger 3.8%
- Fruit Bat 4.5%
- Raspberry flavoured, hoppy fruit beer.
- Old Bat 6.0%
- A powerful-tasting, sweet winter beer, with bitterness coming
through in the aftertaste. Fruit is present in both aroma and taste.
Bartrams; Thurston, Suffolk; 1999
- Jester Quick One 4.4%
- A darker-than-average best bitter that is more malty than hoppy,
with hints of fruit in the aroma.
- Comrade Bill Bartram's Egalitarian Anti-Imperialist Soviet Stout 6.9%
Bass Museum (White Shield Brewery); Burton-on-Trent; Staffs;
- St Modwens 4.1%
- "E" 4.8%
- Original Worthington recipe from the 1970s.
Beartown; Congleton, Cheshire; 1994
- Ginger Beer 4.0%
- The flavours from the malt and hops blend with the added bite from
the root ginger to produce a quenching finish.
- Wheat Beer 5.0%
- Dry and bitter with good wheat malt flavours and
initial fruitiness in aroma and taste; long-lasting dry aftertaste.
Blindmans; Leighton, Frome, Somerset; 2002
- Mine Beer 4.2%
- A copper-coloured ale with full body, leading to a long finish with
fresh hoppy aroma.
Boggart Hole Clough; Moston, Manchester; 2001
- Standard Pioneer 4.0%
- A light pale bitter with a lemon citrus flavour &
aroma, made using Pioneer hops.
Bridge of Allan; Queens Hotel, Bridge of Allan, Stirling; 1997
- Rabbie Burns 90/- 4.8%
Broughton; Broughton, Biggar, Peeblesshire; 1979
- Clipper IPA 4.2%
- This light-coloured, crisp, hoppy beer bears all the hallmarks
of an India Pale Ale, with a strong hop character and a clean taste.
Buffys; Tivetshall St Mary, Norfolk; 1993
- Hollybeery 6.2%
- A sweet and smooth ale; very drinkable.
- Festival 9X 9.0%
- A fine, old-fashioned ale, dark amber in colour.
Buntingford; Buntingford, Hertfordshire; 2001
- Fireside Stout 4.2%
- Golden Drop 5.0%
Burton Bridge; Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire; 1982
Old Ale 10%
As Thomas Sykes Old Ale this used to be brewed to 11%.
Cairngorm; Aviemore; Invernessshire; 2001
- Sheepshaggers Gold 4.5%
- A golden amber brew with some malt and hop character but
balanced on the sweetish side.
Cambridge Moonshine; Cambridge; 2004
- Harvest Moon Mild 3.8%
- Coffee and chocolatey black mild.
- IPA 4.4%
- Winter Stout 5.7% *
- Pigs Ear Porter 5.8%
Church End; Nuneaton, Warwickshire; 1994
- Rest In Peace 7.0%
- A winter seasonal beer.
City of Cambridge; Chittering, Cambridgeshire; 1997
- Rutherfords IPA 3.8%
- This satisfying session beer is made from a blend of two yeasts.
After a fruity, malty start, there is a soft hoppy, bittersweet balance
and a light sulphury character, finishing with a light balance of malt and hops.
- Hobson's Choice 4.1% *
- Mich'aelmas 4.6%
- A darkish, smooth and complex beer, combining sweetishness with a
- Atom Splitter 4.7% *
- Parkers Porter 5.3%
- Reddish in colour, roast notes come to the fore in the taste and
continue into the bittersweet finish. Rich, smooth and very drinkable.
- Bramling Traditional 5.5% *
Coach House; Howley, Warrington; 1991
- Gunpowder Mild 3.8%
- Dark brown, lightly hopped, malty mild with faint roast undertones.
- Ginger Nut Premium 5.0%
- A pale beer but of premium strength, with
the added kick of a touch of real Jamaican ginger.
- Burns Aulde Sleekit 5.5%
Collingwood; Withersfield, Suffolk; 2004
- Mytton Mild 4.5%
- A strong dark mild.
- Rustat SPA 4.7%
- A strongish pale ale.
Crouch Vale; South Woodham Ferrers, Essex; 1981
- Essex Boys Bitter 3.5% *
- Blackwater Mild 3.7% *
Darwin; Sunderland; 1994
- Durham Light Ale 4.0%
- A re-creation of a historic beer.
- Saints Sinner 5.0%
- Smooth, rich & hoppy.
Derwent; Silloth, Cumbria; 1996
- Carlisle State Bitter 3.7%
- A light, hoppy beer with underlying malt and fruit and a dry, yeasty finish.
It's a re-creation, referring back to the period c1916-1971 when the
State Management Scheme owned and operated all the breweries and pubs of Carlisle.
Elgood; Wisbech, Cambridgeshire; 1795
- North Brink Porter 5.0%
- Dark in colour, resembling a dry stout, although less
creamy and lighter in body, with a coffeeish dryness.
- Wenceslas Winter Warmer 7.5%
- Rich red-brown warming brew with full fruity aroma,
flavoured with cinnamon plus a hint of orange and a potent finish.
Elveden; Thetford, Norfolk; 2003
- Harwich Charter Ale 10% - Champion Beer of the Festival
- Brewed for the 2004 Harwich & Dovercourt Bay Winter Ale Festival
and the 400th anniversary of Harwich's Royal Charter.
A re-creation of Allsopp's Arctic Ale, brewed in 1852
for Captain Edward Belcher's expedition to the Arctic in search of John Franklin.
Enville; Enville, Stourbridge, W. Midlands; 1992
- Ginger 4.6%
- Produced using root extract ginger, this has a flavour which
is not overpowering and is very refreshing.
Fenland (Isle of Ely); Little Downham, Cambridgeshire; 1997
- Babylon Banks 4.1%
- Winter Warmer 5.5%
- Dark Christmas ale: strong, pungent ginger spice dominates
the aroma and taste of this warming brew.
There is also fruit, cinnamon and a hint of roast malt in the mouth
but a surprisingly restrained, bitter-sweet finish.
Fyne Ales; Achadunan, Cairndow, Argyll; 2001
- Highlander 4.8%
- A strong traditional ale with intense malt flavours and a citrus hop
Garton; Garton-on-the-Wolds; Driffield; E. Yorkshire; 2001
- Liquid Lobotomy Stout 8.0%
- Garton's flagship beer, its strength derived from grain without the
aid of extracts and sugars.
Golcar; Golcar, Huddersfield, Yorkshire; 2001
- Dark Mild 3.2%
- A light roasted malt and licorice taste.
Smooth and satisfying.
Hanby; Wem, Shropshire; 1988
- Cherry Bomb 6.0%
- Made with the addition of cherries.
Hart; Cartford Hotel, Little Eccleston, Preston, Lancashire; 1994
- Cleo's Asp 3.8% *
- Big Shuggie 4.0% *
- Indian Pale Ale 4.4% *
Haton (Hart/Milton brewery blends)
- Uniao 3.6% *
- Chama 6.6% *
Harviestoun; Dollar, Clackmannanshire; 1985
- Bitter & Twisted 3.8%
- A refreshingly hoppy beer with fruit throughout.
The bittersweet taste gives way to a long, dry, bitter finish. This
golden session beer was Champion Beer of Britain in 2003.
Hebridean; Stornoway; Isle of Lewis; 2001
- Islander Strong Premium Ale 4.8%
- Brewed with special coloured Scots
malt, deep ruby in colour and predominantly malty with robust hopping to
match. Complex like the Hebrides themselves, with hidden rewards waiting
for those who search them out.
- Berserker Export Pale Ale 7.5%
- A real India Pale Ale based on 150 year old recipies.
Light in colour but strong in flavour. Malty with an
intense hop to match.
Hereward; Ely, Cambridgeshire; 2003
- Oatmeal Stout 4.0%
- Malty beer with chocolate roast notes and berry fruit undertones.
- Porta Porter 4.2%
- Named after the entrance to the old Ely monastery.
- St Ethelreda's Golden Bitter 4.5%
Hexhamshire; Ordley, Hexham, Northumberland; 1993
- Devils Water 4.1%
- Copper-coloured best bitter, well-balanced with a slightly fruity,
High House Farm; Matfen, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; 2003
- Auld Hemp 3.8%
- A traditional bitter.
Holt; Cheetham, Manchester; 1849
- Nearly Holt Upright 4.4%
Humpty Dumpty; Reedham, Norfolk; 1998
- Lemon & Ginger 4.0%
- Fragrant summer ale.
- Peto's Porter 5.0%
- Railway Sleeper 5.0%
- Sweet, plummy fruitiness blankets an underlying malty bitterness.
Iceni; Ickburgh, Norfolk; 1995
- Adam's Garden 3.8% *
- Elveden Forest Gold 3.9% *
- Men of Norfolk 4.0% *
- Fen Tiger 4.2% *
- Darvel's Winter Ale 4.2% *
- Phoenix 4.3% *
- Gas Hopper 4.5% *
- Winter Lightning 5.0%
- Pale, with well-rounded maltiness.
Inveralmond; Perth, Perthshire; 1997
- Lia Fail 4.7%
- Gaelic for Stone of Destiny. Dark full-bodied beer, smooth and
Leatherbriches; Bentley Brook Inn, Fenny Bentley, Ashbourne, Derbyshire; 1993
- Hairy Helmet 4.7% *
- Bespoke 5.0% *
Lees; Manchester; 1828
- Moonraker 7.5%
- A reddish-brown beer with a strong, malty, fruit aroma.
The flavour is rich and sweet, with roast malt and the finish is fruity
Mersea Island; East Mersea, Essex; 2005
- Yo Boy 3.8%
- Blackwater Bitter 4.0%
Milton; Milton, Cambridgeshire; 1999
- Minotaur 3.3% *
- Jupiter 3.5% *
- Aphrodite 3.8% *
- Zeus 4.2% *
- Babylon 4.4% *
- Jericho 4.8% *
- Cyclops 5.3% *
- Colossus 5.6% *
- Mammon 6.0%
- Dark, rich and satisfying.
- Caligula 8.8% *
- Ur 9.5%
- Named after the ancient Sumerian city in what's now southern Iraq.
Nethergate; Pentlow, Essex; 1986
- IPA 3.5%
- This amber-coloured session beer is clean, crisp and very drinkable.
Plenty of malt and hoppy bitterness, together with some fruit,
are pleasing to the palate. Bitterness lingers in a long dry aftertaste.
- Umbel Magna 5.0%
- A coriander variant of Old Growler, made to a
1750s recipe and resulting in a distinctive, spicy dark porter.
Oakham; Peterborough, Cambridgeshire; 1993
- White Dwarf 4.3% *
Oldershaws; Grantham, Lincolnshire; 1997
- Regal Blonde 4.4%
- Straw-coloured lager-style beer with a good malt/hop balance
throughout; strong bitterness on the taste lingers.
Orkney; Quoyloo, Sandwick, Orkney; 1988
- Skullsplitter 8.5%
- Brewed in celebration of Thorfin Skullsplitter, 7th Viking Earl of
Orkney. Satiny smooth in the mouth, deceptively light and dangerously drinkable.
Intense malt aroma with hints of apple, nutmeg and spice and a long dry
Phoenix; Heywood, Greater Manchester; 1982
- Humbug 7.0%
- Flowery hoppiness
Pictish; Rochdale, Lancashire; 2000
- Alchemist Ale 4.3%
- A refreshing straw-coloured ale with crisp malt flavours
and a robust hoppy finish.
Red Squirrel; Hertford, Hertfordshire; 2004
- Conservation Bitter 4.1%
- Brewed in the traditional style for best bitter,
with full-bodied malty flavour using chocolate and dark crystal malts.
- Gold 4.2%
- A full-bodied golden brown golden ale, it contains a large
amount of pale-coloured malts, giving it a characteristic flavour.
- Stout 4.9%
- A traditional full-bodied dark, sweet stout which has a dark
red colour. Made using crystal chocolate and dark malts.
Robinson's; Stockport, Cheshire; 1838
- Old Tom 8.5%
- A full-bodied dark beer, it has malt, fruit and chocolate in
the aroma. A delightfully complex range of flavours (including dark
chocolate, full maltiness, port and fruits) lead to a long bittersweet
aftertaste. Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2005.
Rockingham; Blatherwyke, Northamptonshire; 1997
- Fruits of the Forest 4.3%
- Champion Beer at the 30th Cambridge Beer Festival and runner-up at
the 31st last year.
An interesting Belgian-style beer with complex flavours of summer fruits
- WAF Ale 4.4%
St Peters; Bungay, Suffolk; 1996
- Mild 3.7%
- Sweetness is balanced by bitter chocolate malt to
produce a rare but much sought after traditional mild.
- Organic Ale 4.7%
- Soil Association standard, light malted barley from
Scotland, with organic Target hops, create refreshing ale with a
- Cream Stout 6.5%
- Fuggles and Challenger hops plus a blend of four
local barley malts create an aromatic, strong, dark chocolate cream
stout with a satisfying bittersweet aftertaste.
Salamander; Bradford, W. Yorkshire; 2001
- Mudpuppy 4.2%
- A well-balanced copper-coloured best bitter with a fruity, hoppy
nose and a bitter finish.
Slater's (Eccleshall Brewery); Eccleshall, Staffordshire; 1995
- Bitter 3.6% *
- Original 4.0% *
- Premium 4.4% *
- Supreme 4.7% *
Three Rivers; Stockport, Greater Manchester; 2003
- Manchester IPA 4.2%
- Orangey red. Apparently made with hops that
grow over someone's garage in Manchester.
Timothy Taylor; Keighley, W. Yorkshire; 1858
- Ram Tam 4.3%
- A dark, strong beer that has a reputation as a winter
warmer. Wholesome and satisfying, this mellow beer has body and depth,
leaving a pleasant fruity afterglow.
Tipples; Acle, Norfolk; 2004
- Longshore 3.6%
- A light session bitter with a good pale amber colour, a
nice balanced malty flavour and nicely hopped.
- Toppers Stout 4.9%
- A traditional stout, with deep rich colour and a
strong malty aroma. Lots of flavour with a nice toasty aftertaste.
Wissey Valley; The Bluebell, Stoke Ferry, Downham Market, Norfolk;
- Peach Ale 5.0%
- Licorice Stout 6.7%
Youngs; Wandsworth, London; 1831
- Winter Warmer 5.0%
- Ruby black and inviting, this beer is less sweet than many others of
its type. Roast malt notes give way to a rich, caramelised fruitiness and a
pleasant dry bitterness.
- Cassels Regular Dry Cider 7.0%
- Morgan Sweet Cider 6.4%
Cambridge Winter Ale Festival 2005