Welcome to the Drink in the Sights The Purple Panther Porter No5 from Hatherwood Craft Beer Company Beer review. Just when I thought I'd finished all the LIDL beers I came across The Purple Panther Porter no5 lurking in the back of my cupboard, I must have left it there a few months ago and then piled other beers in front of it. Whoops. The Purple Panther is brewed by Hatherwood Craft Beer Company, which is just the budget arm of the much better known Wychwood Brewery that brews exclusively for LIDL. The beer is a nice cheap budget offering, from a nice cheap budget brewery, supplying a nice cheap supermarket. Sadly so far most the LIDL beers have been quite bland, but porters are very much my drink of choice, so I'm hoping this will be a step up.
The Purple Panther comes in a 500ml bottle, with appropriately enough purple writing on the label. Hatherwood describe the beer as 'dark, silky and deeply delicious' with 'coffee roast bitterness at it's core. Speciality sugar adds a distinctive toffee flavour to this sleek and smoky malted porter.' For the most part that sounds pretty tasty, especially the smoky bit, I love smoky beers. Purple Panther has a 5% alcohol content which is a decent percentage for a porter, especially for a budget one.
The beer pours spectacularly. If it wasn't for the slight purple twinge it'd be jet black, while the head, which fades faster than I'd usually like is snow white. You could almost mistake this beer for a Guinness from a short distance away. The aroma is slightly odd, in that it smells more like a stout than a porter. There's a good level of roasted, smoky malts in the smell along with coffee beans and possibly a little chocolate. Maybe it's just that I've been drinking a lot of lighter citrus beers lately, but this one smells really good.
The Purple Panther isn't as full bodied as I expected, it's actually slightly watery, which is disappointing. The taste however more than makes up for that. There's enough of a smoky taste to make it interesting, but not enough to overpower the coffee taste mixed with hints of toffee, which is an interesting mix. Hatherwood pull it off though. There's a good level of bitterness, but to me it still feels more like a stout than a porter, that's not a problem, it's just a little confusing. I'm going to give The Purple Panther Porter no 5 from Hatherwood Craft Beer Company 7.5 out of 10. This really is a very good cheap dark beer, it ticks all the boxes, but just doesn't stand out enough to rate more than 7.5 plus I still think it's a stout really.
Welcome to the Drink in the Sights Just the Ticket from Wickwar Wessex Brewing Co Beer Review. And so my lockdown beer drinking continues with Just The Ticket from Wickwar Wessex Brewing Co. I'm sure it wont come as a surprise to anyone that Wickwar are indeed a Wessex based brewery who also own quite a few nice looking pubs. They've been brewing for over a century and a half, but despite this I've not sampled many of their offerings. This bottle turned up while I browsed the shelves of B&M and has all the hallmarks of a beer I'll probably quite like, by which I mean it's from a proper old brewery and it describes itself as an ale, rather than a craft beer, and I'm just old fashioned enough to think that's not a bad thing.
Just The Ticket comes in a nice dark 500ml bottle as all proper ales should. In terms of information it's one of the sparsest labels you'll ever find. It comes with the tagline 'Artisanal Russet Ale,' but frankly I have no idea what that's meant to mean. I quite like that there's no overly lavish description or ridiculously over the top claims on the bottle if I'm honest. After a quick Google I found that russet is a pale reddish brown colour so I guess if nothing else I now know what colour I'm expecting the beer to pour.
Just The Ticket boasts a pretty impressive 5.8% alcohol content, so that could be fun, and it does indeed pour a reddish brown, although I'd say it's more red. Despite the head consisting of little more than a thin white lacing this still looks like a decent ale. The aroma is also lovely. There's hints of plum in there, and also a slight smoky scent. It really smells like a pleasant fruity bitter. I'm really looking forward to trying this now. If you've read my reviews of Titanic Plum Porter or Badger Breweries Cranborne Poacher you'll know I like a dark fruity beer.
The texture is nice and filling as a good darkish ale should be and the taste very much matches the smell. There's a very sweet, fruity plum taste with some caramel, and a tiny bit of smoke thrown in for good measure. The slightly more bitter aftertaste just helps to balance everything out really well. Maybe this beer really is Just The Ticket. While it lacks the truly special flavours of some similar beers I've tasted it's still a genuinely good, perfectly balanced, fruity ale. I'm going to give Wickwar Wessex Brewing Co's Just The Ticket a pretty impressive 8.5 out of 10. If you can really enjoy a beer on a cold lockdown evening you know it's a good beer.
Welcome to the Drink in the Sights Devon Amber from Salcombe Brewery Beer Review. I'm pretty sure Devon Amber is my first Salcombe Brewery beer so I'm hoping it makes a good impression. The beer came as part of a Beer Advocate delivery and I'm drinking it on another cold night in lockdown. Salcombe Brewing co are based in Devon, the home of the Last Leg's Josh Widdecombe and no doubt some other people. It's a pretty new brewery having only started up in 2016 which probably explains why this will be my first taste of their beers. Having had a quick look on their website I can tell you that the seahorse logo for the brewery relates to Salcombe estuary which is one of very few places in the UK you can find seahorses. Fascinating.
Devon Amber comes in a nice and pretty eye catching 500ml bottle with a bold green and white label with the aforementioned seahorse featuring prominently. I like it, it's not too flash, or complicated, it's just bright and bold. The label gives very little away other than saying Devon amber is a 'crisp great tasting bitter.' I think that's probably the type of claim we've all heard before, but I quite like that it doesn't massively go in to detail or make excessive claims. Perhaps the lack of sparkle reflects that this is only a 3.8% beer, so we're very much looking at the session market.
Devon Amber from Salcombe Brewery pours a nice, slightly darker than expected amber red with almost no head at all. The lack of a good head is more than made up for by the lovely aroma though. There's plenty of malts in there, but also caramel, chocolate and blackcurrant smells coming through, this really could be quite tasty if they've got the blend right. The texture is really light and refreshing, which I guess reflects the relatively low alcohol content. I really think Salcombe Brewing Co might be on to a winner here.
The taste is honestly exceptional. The toasty bitter malts are just perfect creating a really nice well balanced flavour. Sure the chocolate and caramel notes have to take a bit of a back seat to the malts and the fruity tastes which come from nowhere, but when the beer tastes this good I can live without the dessert flavours. I really am going to have to look in to finding some more Salcombe beers if they're all this good. I'm going to give Devon Amber from Salcombe Brewery co 9.5 out of 10. I think it's my new favourite amber bitter.