03 March 2006

Ale and Arty

On a recent trip to the UK I conducted a selective raid on Sainsbury's and came away with three new finds:
Theakston's Old Peculier is a familiar name, but I hadn't actually tasted it before. I'm a big fan of the normal Theakston's and was very interested in trying the premium product. It's very good and has the wonderful round warmness of England's best ales.
Duchy Original is a bit of a gimmick: an organic ale made with ingredients which may (or may not) have come from the Prince of Wales' Highgrove estate. The label is striking and of a very high quality. The beer, alas, is not. When it comes down to drinking, this is a very ordinary bitter. I'm generally in favour of organic produce on principle, but I have yet to encounter an organic beer which is better than its non-organic competitors: sad but true.
Lastly, Meantime Chocolate from the Greenwich Brewery comes in an interesting ship's-decanter-style bottle and, as the name suggests, is a chocolate beer. It's not a stout, though. It's a strong ale with an equally strong concentrated chocolate flavour - rich and bitter, with coffee overtones. Not something one would get through lots of, but an interesting variation on the usual chocolate theme.

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