Devon brewery Utopian specialises in brewing classic lagers using British ingredients and does a very good job of it. This particular beer is a revival of a largely forgotten Bavarian lager style known for its unusual technique of boiling the entire mash, which is said to release more proteins and polyphenols for a fuller mouthfeel and livelier foam.

To add the British point of difference, the hops involved here are Fuggles. The result is a big, nourishing beer, loaded with cake-like maltiness and characterised by a perfumed ester note reminiscent of almonds and overripe bananas. The hops do their bit but the herbal notes they bring are mostly overshadowed as the bitterness turns more towards clove, which lingers long in the dry finish with a little kick of warmth to remind you of the substantial strength. An unusual, slightly hazy beer that drinks like a less-chewy weizenbock.


Completing the new range of Hall & Woodhouse/Badger Outland canned “craft” beers that was introduced last year is this pleasant take on what is now a classic US beer style. If you’re looking for something innovative, this won’t deliver, but if you want something that successfully emulates the beer that’s been driving the American beer market for the past 30 years, you’ll be in luck.

This dark golden, crystal-clear ale features Amarillo, Cascade and Mosaic hops to present an aroma that is peachy, floral and laced with orange-like citrus fruit, with just a suggestion of tea. The taste is robust and hoppy from the start, as you would hope, but with a good barley sugar-like maltiness in support. Tangy pine, orange and floral notes layer the palate, working harmoniously together, and then linger long into the dry and bitter finish.


The Gentleman is a new company that produces six bottled beers in various styles, all named after professions – The Explorer, The Stockbroker, The Squire, etc. This rather odd concept has been criticised on social media for its marketing clichés and cod-craft positioning, but what about the beers themselves?

They are all brewed for the business by Staffordshire Brewing, the selection including a helles lager, a stout, a blonde ale, a “modern bitter”, a low-alcohol botanical beer and this solid, English-style IPA. Unlike in the Hall & Woodhouse IPA, the fruitiness is rather mellow, with delicate orange notes adding contrast to the smooth maltiness that leads. It’s lightly floral, a little spicy and has a hint of warmth. The same enjoyable flavours continue into the finish, which becomes increasingly dry and bitter.


This collaboration between Adnams and Yorkshire’s Vocation Brewery is a much more complex beer than you’d expect. Although it’s described as a “spring IPL” (a session India Pale Lager), it’s actually a hybrid beer, a cross between a lager and a white IPA – itself a cross between a punchy US IPA and a fragrant Belgian witbier – so first impressions can be a little confusing. From the name, I anticipated malt sweetness and a good smack of tangy hops, but instead this is a rather dry beer with a little tartness and a herbal, almost clove-like bitterness.

There are also some floral notes wafting around and a suggestion of tangerine from the New Zealand hops before the witbier wheat shines through in the very dry, almost cracker-like finish, where there’s an orange note and yet more nods towards clove in the bitterness. Overall, it’s a dry, quenching beer that offers plenty to keep you interested to the last drop.