Guest Beer – Moonlight

IMG_0897Seems like there ought to be an interesting story behind Arkell’s Moonlight, which depicts a Westland Lysander on night ops, on the pump handle.

Arkell’s Beers gives a clue, which – as well as describing this 5.0% ABV beer as “Brewed using a blend of malts, English Fuggles and Susan hops to give a golden colour, lingering taste and toasty aroma” – also tells us that Peter Arkell, OBE flew moonlit sorties in a Lysander, over France, in 1943.

Cheers, sir!

Guest Beer – Castle Rock – Elsie Mo

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A golden ale from Nottingham’s Castle Rock Brewery, Elsie Mo is a 4.7% ABV brew.

They say: “(the) name is derived from the Low Colour Maris Otter malt from which she’s exclusively brewed, and which gives her that tantalising golden hue. A blend of hops – Challenger predominating – tempts you with its aroma and leaves a pleasantly crisp aftertaste.”

Quite a few reviews over at http://www.ratebeer.com/

Guest beer – Adnams Fat Sprat

IMG_0807An amber summer ale from Adnams, Fat Sprat weighs in at 3.8% ABV.

They say: “It has a lovely citrus, grapefruit aroma with some spicy notes. On the palate, the citrus character of the hops shines through, balanced with a light biscuit flavour and a crisp, dry finish” – although “citrusy” and “biscuit notes” and “a crisp, dry finish” might arguably be considered somewhat over-worked themes right now, this is a very drinkable pint, plus each pint you drink is helping to fund the Marine Conservation Society so they can continue their good work.

CAMRGB have a fuller description of this seasonal beer.

Guest beer – Fuller’s HSB

IMG_0806Not so much a guest beer this one, so much as taking over one of the permanent pump slots for a while. Off, then, with the ESB and on with Fullers own HSB.

HSB – Horndean Special Bitter – used to be one of the Gales Brewery flagship beers. Now brewed by Fullers, at Chiswick, this is a lovely, full bodied 4.8% ABV mouthful of a pint.

Dundee cake, anyone?

Good reviews on beeradvocate.com and ratebeer.com = nogrumbling, ether, from the ESB enthusiasts, because the HSB more than satisfies.

Guest beer – Portobello Star

IMG_0803Well, the arrival of this beer on the pump led to a bit of a barney about the term “craft ale” … “not strictly real ale”, muttered someone. Gasp! We don’t know about that, but we know a good beer, here in The White Swan, when we have one in our pint glass – and this is a good ‘un – and, at 4.3% ABV, eminently drink-able.

From the Portobello Brewing Company, from their core range, and the first beer they brewed, Star is described as an ‘amber craft ale’: “a smooth, balanced bitter, which is deliciously floral with lovely coffee notes at the very end. We love it & we’re never going to stop brewing it”. Sound like a plan to us.

Guest beer – Fullers Quintessential Pale Ale

IMG_0800 A smashing ‘seasonal’ ale from Fullers, the Quintessential British Pale Ale fairly flew off the pumps, and was quickly gone – all too quickly, so more, please landlord!

Fullers say that this 3.8% ABV is “light in colour with a floral and slightly fruity aroma. Biscuit notes on the palate give way to a hoppy, bitter finish” – definitely a session beer, as the rapidly emptying cask proved.

A new beer this year, we think, for Fullers – so ratemybeer.com hasn’t got much to say on it yet (nor has anyone else, for that matter), but we have only one thing to say about it: More please, sir!!!

quintessentialWent down very nicely with a chunk of Cornish Coastal Cheddar, apparently. [Don’t be put off by the ESB-branded goblet… it’s the guest-ale taster’s preferred glassware. (o:

{edit: bit of a write up, here in beertoday.co.uk. That Jester hop again, eh? We’re seeing that in a few of our recent guests!}

Guest beer – Lacons Affinity

IMG_0786From Lacons Great Yarmouth-based brewery, Affinity is a 4.8% ABV that is “robustly full bodied with a glistening chestnut tint, the ale’s complex passion fruit and lychee tartness leaps forward, closely followed by a perfectly charming balance of fruit and malt on the finish”.

At 4.8% ABV, Affinity has even tempted a few of the regulars away from their favoured ESB! A Gold Award winner – and a thumbs-up from us. Quite a complex mouthful – one of those beers where you maybe shouldn’t form too quick an opinion based on the first mouthful.

Bit of an interesting story behind the Lacons beers – they shut down a good few years ago, but had the foresight to put their yeast cultures on ice at the National Collection of Yeast Cultures. A bit of a defrost later, and here they are, being enjoyed anew! More on that here.

Guest beer – Dan Cooper’s Jester

IMG_0784There’s a bit of a local twist to this particular guest beer. We’re hoping that someone might wander in and tell us the full story, but a good few years back, Wendover had its own brewery, just over the road from The White Swan. Now the son of one of The Swan’s regulars, grandson of one of those last Wendover brewers , decided it was time he tried his hand at the family trade (the surname gives the family trade away!) – and set about brewing Dan Cooper’s Jester.

We don’t have too much info on this beer, which had a “two-barrel” innings on our guest pump, but the beer pump badge points us in the direction of Hook Norton’s ‘Crafty Ales’.

Hopefully Dan, or his dad, will take a moment away from supping the other guests and tell us the full story!