New beer reviews

Words by Simon Difford

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The following are new and other products we've received recently (newest at the top). We’ve reviewed and attributed a qualitative score out-of-five to each product according to our Difford’s Guide rating system. Please click on product names for full tasting notes and further information.

Reviewed January 2018

Asahi Super Dry (Italian brewed)
As the name suggests this light-bodied lager (brewed with rice) is dry but with subtle sweet white bready notes dried by subtle toasty maltiness and mild grassy hop bitterness. Light, refreshing and unchallenging on a hot summer's day.

Freedom Four British Lager
This English lager is light-bodied, superbly clean, refreshing and hard to fault. However, that cleansing lightness means this lager is also light on character. Great on a sunny afternoon or as a cleansing beer at the end of an evening.

Freedom Organic Helles Lager
A Munich Helles style inspired lager with toasty malt and floral hops.

Freedom Pale New World Ale
Dry with assertive bitter hops - pine and citrus. As Freedom say, a drinkable "go to" session pale ale. Reminiscent of this prototype.

Reviewed October 2017

Purity Pure UBU Amber Ale
A well-balanced amber ale with sweet caramel malts checked by lightly grassy bitter hops.

Purity Longhorn IPA
An American styled English IPA with citrusy hops and tropical fruitiness - passion fruit, mango and pear.

Purity Lawless Lager
The strapline "lagered beer with a hopload of attitude" suggest Lawless has pronounced hop bitterness - a hop bomb of a lager. Don't let that put you off. Yes its hoppy, but this pilsner is far from overly hopped.

Mad Goose Pale Ale
Slightly more hop bitterness than your average English session pale ale but supported by slightly sweet caramel maltiness.

Purity Pure Gold Golden Ale
A moderately bitter and well-balanced English golden ale with zesty citrus.

Crazy Donkey India Pale Ale
Rich peach and apricot fruit balances zesty grapefruit marmalade and bitter piney hops with yeasty brown bread.

Reviewed September 2017

Peroni Nastro Azzurro
The "Blue Ribbon" Italian lager which for many drinkers outside of Italy is the taste of Italy - certainly where beer is concerned. Nastro Azzurro is a light, crisp and clean light lager.

Peroni (red label)
There's a distinctive sweet caramel breadiness to this beer that millions of Italians have acquired - it's the country's best-selling beer. Best enjoyed ice cold.

Partizan Saison Raspberry & Lemon
Fresh and jammy raspberry, sour/lightly bitter with mild cracked black pepper.

Reviewed August 2017

Nissos (ΝΗΣΟΣ) Pilsner
With its pronounced breadiness this Greek beer is perhaps not what you'd expect of a pilsner - it's more flavoursome.

Partizan Imperial Stout
Chocolaty dry roasted malt, coal dust, liquorice and tar.

Shepherd Neame Cinque Five Grain Lager
A relatively full-bodied lager with Weetabix maltiness, piney hops and faint nuttiness. The headline five grain include rice.

Septem Lava Imperial India Red Ale
A high alc./vol. meal of a beer with hunks of yeasty brown bread, caramel and piney hops with attractive blackcurrant and marmalade fruitiness

Boundary Gift
As its brewers say, this is "A massive Stout" with rich chocolate, liquorice and notes of coal dust/charcoal.

Reviewed July 2017

Melvin IPA
A big IPA with brawny hops, yet balanced rather than overly hopped with attractive tropical fruitiness and light caramel sweetness that smooths both the hops and the high alc./vol..

Melvin Hubert MPA
Melvin have dialled up both malts and hops in this balanced characterful ale. Malty sweetness and tropical fruit is balanced by pine resin and herbal bitterness.

Voreia Smoked Amber Ale
A big amber ale with pronounced smoky bacon aromas and flavours. Slightly sweet.

Voreia Stout Beer
A robust stout with huge chocolatey character slight acidity and bitter piney hops.

Ubrew Responsibly Low Alcohol Pale Ale
As beers go that have a mere ½% of alcohol go then this is better than many. It will appeal to/please either driving or just seeking to be, well, responsible, but otherwise has a promising start followed by a disappointing finish.

Reviewed June 2017

Lagunitas 12th of Never Ale
Masses of tropical fruit and hints of rich coconut, balanced and freshened by zesty citrus and assertive hop bitterness.

Magic Spells Craft Lager
A full-flavoured London brewed "Craft Lager" with crusty white bread maltiness and lightly bitter grassy hops.

Magic Spells India Pale Ale
Bready with pronounced grassy and citrus hop bitterness and light spice.

Santorini Brewing Company Yellow Donkey
A pleasant easy-drinking Greek golden ale with a distinct notes of banana chews.

Wimbledon Brewery Copper North American Red Ale
Refreshing and satisfying - bready, fruity and spicy. An ale suited to being served well-chilled on a summer's afternoon.

Wimbledon Brewery Bravo American Pale Ale
Powerful bitter grapefruit and grassy hops with lightly sweet brown bread malt.

Wimbledon Brewery Quartermaine I.P.A.
Brawny hop bitterness with light spicy notes characterise this English hopped IPA which has an attractive bready malt but perhaps is a tad overly hopped.

Wimbledon Brewery Gold Lager
This Helles-style English lager is light-bodied, clean and refreshing, with light white bread, faint vanilla and light white pepper.

Wimbledon Tower Pale Ale
Hop bitterness is perhaps a little too muscular in this brown bready pale ale.

Reviewed May 2017

Wimbledon Brewery Gold Lager
This Helles-style English lager is light-bodied, clean and refreshing, with light white bread, faint vanilla and light white pepper.

Sharp's Camel Valley Pilsner
A light pilsner with a heavy champagne wine yeast influence. Interesting, refreshing and most pleasant.

Brooklyn Scorcher India Pale Ale
This IPA may have a session strength of a mere 4.5% alc./vol. but has generous bitter piney hops - a tad too generous perhaps.

Peroni Ambra
Reminiscent of a larger shandy with a crisp citrus bite and a long lightly bitter finish. When served over ice and garnished with an orange zest twist, as intended, this is a light, refreshing, dry drink which is indeed ideally suited to the aperitivo moment - as suggested by Peroni.

High Wire West Coast Pale Ale
American West Coast in style rather than origin, this fruity and hop forward pale ale is brewed in a place that's landlocked smack in the centre of England - Huddersfield.

Fallen Brewing Dragonfly American Amber Ale
An amber ale with the zesty citrus and pine hop character of a West Coast IPA. Hoppy but not overly hopped or bitter with tropical fruitiness.

Santorini Red Donkey
Bready, yeasty, grassy, citrusy and white flower blossom with candied strawberry candy, banana chew sweetness and white pepper.

Bronx Brewery Rye Ale
Zesty orange notes feature throughout this rye ale with earthy herbal bitter pine hops and brown bready malt.

Thornbridge Chiron American Pale Ale
Assertive bitter citrusy and piney hops with good underlying maltiness.

Moor PMA (Pale Modern Ale)
Superb zesty and tropical fruitiness with well-judged hop bitterness and underlying bready malt.

Fallen Blackhouse Smoked Porter
This smoked porter has notes of chocolate, smoked gammon, pine and faint spearmint.

Reviewed April 2017

Magic Spells Hackney Hare Pale Ale
A session strength pale ale with enough grassy and zesty hoppyness to make interesting without being challenging.

Bintang Pilsner
A pale lightly flavoured pilsner with no metallic or other off-flavours. Connoisseurs who may regard Bintang "bland" would be thankful of a cold glass served in the Indonesian heat. But yes, this beer has a light style.

Fallen Brewing Grapevine New World Pale
This "New World Pale" has the muscular citrus and floral hops of a West Coast IPA, hence the "New World" reference in the name of this Scottish brewed ale.

Septem 8th Day India Pale Ale
This is a big beer and a proper IPA, yet it's is balanced and quaffable. Yes, the hops are assertive but not overly bitter with underlying caramel and yeasty bread.

The London Beer Factory Beyond The Pale
Well-balanced and easy drinking, this south London brewed pale ale has attractive tropical and citrus fruitiness with moderate pine and cut grass bitterness.

Marea Double Malt Ale
As the name suggests, Marea Double Malt Ale is indeed malty with pronounced brown bready notes throughout, along with attractive zesty orange and floral notes.

Septem Thursday's Premium Red Ale Beer
This Greek red ale would possibly be better described as being a sour beer. So fruity that it's hard to believe tinned raspberries weren't part of the brew.

Siris Voreia Wit Beer
With its spice, estery fruitiness and high alcohol-by-volume, Voreia Wit is a feisty wheat beer. You need to be a wheat beer fan to properly appreciate this orange influenced Greek take on the category.

Siris Voreia India Pale Ale
This Greek IPA has the high alcohol content you'd expect of such a beer with accompanying assertive hoppiness, while far from being a hop bomb.

Nissos Organic All Day Lager
This flavoursome Greek lager has distinctive herbal notes with a cleansing subtle black peppery spice

Septem Saturday's Porter
Brewed with five different types of malt, this Greek porter has a distinctive burnt toast character with attractive cocoa, vanilla and heavily roasted coffee notes.

Septem Sunday's Honey Golden Ale
This Greek brewed citrusy and subtly herbal honey influenced golden ale packs a 6.5% alc./vol. punch - perhaps a little too much of a punch that's not quite balanced by honey richness.

Delphi Beer
More akin to a Belgium blond ale than a "a Mediterranean pilsner", Delphi is much more flavoursome and yeasty than your average pilsner.

Septem Monday's Pilsner Beer
Septem provides a not half bad way to start your week with this citrussy Greek pilsner.

Septem Friday's Pale Ale Beer
A refreshing and citrusy Greek brewed pale ale.

Septem WDay Wheat India Pale Ale
Attractive topical fruitiness hides behind assertive bitter pine and zesty orange hops with underlying wheat bread maltiness. Well-balanced (not overly bitter) and refreshing.

Fallen Chew Chew Salted Caramel Milk Stout
This milk stout is certainly milky with caramel fudge and chocolate brownies. However, we struggled to find much of the "salted" element.

Solvay Society Structure of Matter Belgian Pale Ale
Brewed in England to a Belgium style, this pale ale has attractive topical fruitiness and brown ready maltiness.

Siren Undercurrent Oatmeal Pale Ale
This "Oatmeal Pale Ale" may have something of an identity crisis, but it has the assertive hop character of a West Coast IPA.

Meantime The Pilot Series Double Helix
As 10% beers, and indeed PR stunts, go, Double Helix is surprisingly quaffable. Given the alc./vol. and double-IPA style of this beer we're surprised and disappointed by the relatively short best before date, otherwise it could be a beer to lay down as a winter warmer.

The Kernel Centennial Amarillo Pale Ale
This pale ale has a tropical and citrusy fruit hop bitterness approaching that of a West Coast IPA.

Colorado ICI 02 French India Pale Ale
Despite its high 7% alc./vol. strength, this IPA is easy drinking with sweet malty notes balancing relatively mild grassy and piney hop freshness.

Hofmeister Helles Bavarian Lager
It's great to see Hofmeister back - just the name brings memories of the brand's ads of old. Sadly, George, his yellow jacket and pork pie hat, remain in hibernation, but although the amusing TV ads are missing this revived Hofmeister boasts 5% alc./vol. - 1.8% more tham the original.

Lagunitas India Pale Ale
A good example of an IPA with enough grapefruit and pine hop bitterness, not to mention alcohol to justify the IPA moniker, but not overly so.

Box Steam Wet Your Whistle
A good example of an IPA with enough grapefruit and pine hop bitterness, not to mention alcohol to justify the IPA moniker, but not overly so.

Savour British Saison
A British brewed saison with a Belgium yeasty peppery spice and citrus freshness.

Reviewed March 2017

Bohemia Cerveja Pilsen
A Brazilian brewed pilsner with crisp apple, caramel maltiness with lightly grassy hops. It might be brewed with malt and Saaz hops imported from the Czech Republic but sadly this is no Czech Pilsner.

Nøgne Ø Saison
Bready and yeast with lemon zest, clove, coriander and white pepper spice.

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Adnams Both Barrels Oak Aged Broadside
This huge aged ale won't appeal to all palates - it is a curio for those of us into such frifthery - if you are, then be sure to acquire a bottle and share with other likeminded folk.

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Fallen Brewing Odyssey Blonde Ale
Clean, light and refreshing. A lager-like ale with please white bready notes and delicate citrus.

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Dupont Saison
A classic saison in every respect - and perhaps the world's most respected saison. Bready yeasty sweetness, bitter hops and tart fruitiness with light clove and peppery spice.

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Brewdog Vagabond Gluten Free American Pale Ale
A flavoursome hop-forward gluten free pale ale for those unfortunate souls forced to avoid gluten.

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Põhjala Uus Maailm San Diego Session IPA
Aptly described by its brewers as being "a hop-forward California-inspired session beer," Uus Maailm is refreshingly dry and bitter throughout.

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Edinburgh Beer Factory Paolozzi Lager Re-born
The "lager re-born" statement on the label is perhaps a tad overstated, but Paolozzi is clean and easy drinking with attractive nutty bready maltiness, creamy mouthfeel and very light hops. This beer's label is also rather slick and helps it standout.

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Brewdog Self Assembly Pope Porter
Creamy milk chocolate smooths muscular bitter pine and grassy hops.

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Beavertown Neck Oil Session IPA
A session strength IPA with citrusy hops more than making up for the subdued alcohol and pleasing floral notes and a white crusty bread/biscuity base.

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Mochachocolata Ya Ya! Coffee Caramel Milk Stout
This milk stout is fabulously indulgent with chocolate, caramel and rich Ovaltine maltiness.

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Goose Island Sofie Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale
This American brewed beer is a great example of a Belgian style farmhouse ale. Bready and citrusy with slight earthiness and a rounding creamy mouthfeel.

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Panda Frog Project Pandadora Belgium Stout
Dry, bitter, lightly smoky charcoal and burnt toast - fortunately this beer is more appealing than it might sound.

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Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Wonderfully bready with earthy, dried fruit, grassy and nuttiness.

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8 Wired Saison Sauvin Ale
Dry and slightly tart and also wonderfully refreshing. Flavours of bread and hay with yeasty white wine, pear and zesty grapefruit.

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Old Hands New Brews Denali American Pale Ale
Ripe tropical fruit - particularly pineapple balances resinous pine and zesty citrus hops over nutty bready malts.

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London's Outback Golden Pale Ale
Dry with assertive citrusy and floral hops.

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Fuller's Vintage Ale 2016
Rich, huge and fruity but beautifully balanced. Great drinking as a new beer but also a beer that should be cellared and appreciated in years to come.

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Brew by Numbers 01|24 Saison Rye
Medium-bodied, rich, fruity and spicy with a high alc./vol..

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Old Hands New Brews Coconut Porter
Slightly sweet coconut balanced by lightly bitter chocolate with liquorice, mocha coffee and Horlicks-like maltiness. Delicious.

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Old Hands New Brews DIPA
A big beer, with malt, hops and rich tropical fruit all dialled up and presented well-balanced. Hoppy but not a hop bomb of an double IPA.

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Anchor Saison Spring Ale
This Spring Ale is best summed up as being yeasty brown bread enlivened with white pepper and clove spice.

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Old Hands New Brews Rauchbier
This beer is smoky, but delicately so with lightly bitter hops and malty notes in balance rather than overshadowed.

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Northern Monk Wasted Pear Farmhouse Ale
Pleasing pear and apple fruit, bready malt and light white pepper spice. A tasty beer produced from food destined for waist.

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Old Hands New Brews Session IPA
As "session" IPAs go this example is on the more assertive side - both in its alc./vol. and bitter hops.

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Backyard Brew The Lawn Mower Amber Lager
Light toasty malt and caramel with off putting grassy and vegetal notes.