Interesting Ales

Vale Brewery “Donne”, 3.8% ABV; ‘John Donne’s famous poem from 1624,“No Man Is An Island,” has inspired our head brewer to create this ruby red bitter. Combining European hops and strong roast malt flavours.’

More of a conventional beery brown than a ruby, I’d say, but malty without being cloying or sweet. A good session beer.


No man may be an island, Hedgers, but many are sometimes half-seas over.


It seems a helluva leap from Meditation 17 to a beer, to me. I wonder how the train of thought went, and how sober the head brewer was at the time.

There is some ruby ale from Hatherwood brewery sitting by my desk as I type, but what colour it actually is I have no idea, since it is in a brown glass bottle.

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Where did he think Douglas was then?

I’ll get me coat…


Mike Harding, a friend of my dads, said, with tremendous wisdom, that “no man is an island … except, perhaps, Fred Madagascar”.

He also praised his Grandfather’s bravery remarking that, during WWII, he never resorted to going into air raid shelters, expressing the view that “if your name’s on it, your name’s on it”. What he failed to take into account was that his next door neighbours were a Mr. & Mrs. Doodlebug.


Back in 1982 I was (briefly) a student in Manchester. Used to sit in on the trad sessions in the Ducie. Mike Harding turned up one night - I was playing banjo, he mandolin. At one point, I remember playing the Kesh Jig, in the second part of which I used to play a series of double stops. Mike seemed impressed, to my intense gratification!

A few months later, he was doing one of his BBC series and played Kesh, complete with my little variation. Quite a few players copied it - and of course assumed I’d done the same! Such are the delights and frustrations of a living, oral tradition…

Bitter? Ooh please - mine’s a pint of Adnams…

Sorry, my mistake…

Bitter, moi? Of course not (says he, recalling every detail thirty-five years later :wink:) I do wonder though, whether it subconsciously propelled me into specialising in new music? People can accuse me of nicking something they heard on telly, but they can’t argue with my name being at the top of a score… < SNIFF! >

Of course, this has bugger all to do with beer.


I shan’t give names, but I’ve a friend who writes funny, satirical, tickle your sense of humour songs with titles like “Sellafield Seaweed Soup” or “Sugar makes your teeth fall out”. He wrote a number of such songs which are on records and cds sung and played by another local musician.

And whose name do you think is at the top when the other bloke plays them? That well known person “Anon”. Some of them are called “Trad”.


Hogswallop, from Hogs Back Brewery: 4.2%; dark, full-bodied and lurk-some on the back of Cascade hops.


Not for me, I think, but that is a very splendid pig.


I had one in Rome, called Bio-Beer. It claimed every wonder of the green World. Attempting to be so right on that it would cock a snoot at Shoreditch. It practically had a beard. … used spelt as it’s source and was, frankly, undrinkable.

Oh, & while I was pulling my face I got crapped on by a pigeon in the tree above.

Bloody hippies.


Italian birds have no decent honest respect.

One year, in Venice, in prehistoric times when newspapers from England took about two days to get to Italy, my father searched the islands until he found a two-day-old copy of The Times, found a café, settled down with his coffee, folded the paper to the crossword – and a pigeon shat smack in the middle of it.


Surrey birds can be just as bad, I was with my mother some years ago, on one of the first fine Spring mornings of the year thinking what a good idea it would be to enjoy our breakfast in the garden when a bird did a Dam Busters impression smack in the middle of her bowl of cornflakes :sweat_smile:


There’s something about spelt. It has not once been a component in anything I was willing to eat/drink.


Never had Spelt Beer. Spilt, often. Spelt bread, on the other hand, can be very good indeed. imo.

The crossword and cornflakes tales were not the best thing to read while tackling early tea; early (screen) bath ensued. It’s the simple things in life…


Today’s beer was Hooky Gold from Hook Norton. Very light and hoppy, and probably better in sunnier weather, but with a pleasing bite to it.

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Ah, the uber fashionable Willamette hops from Oregon; not that I’m a beer :beer: drinker but coincidentally I’ve a good friend in the Willamette Valley and a sommelier daughter. Oregon is becoming pretty big on wine :wine_glass: and hops.

On a hot and sunny day, perhaps :slight_smile:


Today’s ale: Nice Try, from Hook Norton Brewery again. Good basic session beer, nothing I’d go out of my way to find but I’d be happy drinking it all afternoon.


Betty Stogs, Skinner’s Brewery. Described as “fruity” but it really isn’t; lots of lovely hop astringency and a full body to go with it.


Wonderful stuff



Wonderful name, certainly.