ALE Winter 2003/04 No. 312 : Next section

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Real Ale in a Bottle

For those times when you can't get to a pub to enjoy real ale, you will be pleased to know that you can also enjoy excellent real ales in bottles from the comfort of your own armchair. This is because, like real ale in a pub, the beer contains yeast and continues to mature for a fuller, fresher taste. This is opten known as bottle-conditioning. And as with cask ale, there is a huge range of flavours and strengths available, so whether you prefer something dry and hoppy or rich and biscuity there will be a bottled beer to suit your tastes and that will also go perfectly with food.

Treat it with respect, as it has been brewed with care: stor it standing up so that the yeast settles to the bottom of the bottle, keep it cool and then chill lightly before serving. Remember not to shake the bottle but to pour it slowly into your glass so that if there is any sediment it is left behind. Many producers of real ale in a bottle are independent local brewers, so check if your local supermarket or off-license stocks locally brewed beer: then you can support your local producers as well as enjoying a taste of your local area.

CAMRA, in conjunction with the Guardian, makes an award every year for the best real ale in a bottle. This year's winner was O'Hanlons Port Stout, and previous winners include Fuller's 1845, Hop Back's Summer Lightning and Young's Special London Ale.

The new edition of The Good Bottled Beer Guide contains tasting notes and useful information including details of where you can buy real ale in a bottle across the UK. This pocket book costs 8.99 and is available from all good bookshops as well as online at

ALE Winter 2003/04 No. 312 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA