Coniston Brewery is a complete new one for me. I had never even heard of them which is a pity because Bluebird Bitter is pretty damn tasty. At only 3.6% it's a proper session beer, let down by being a little too fizzy but not enough to lessen the enjoyment. It's crisp like a lager but with plenty of biscuit and caramel with a nice bitter finish. I could have had a few more if I had any. I like that it does not pretend to be anything other than it is, which is a refreshing quaffing ale that a pale lager drinker would happily knock back.
I mentioned never mind the anabolics in the Glasgow article. This time, as promised, I picked up some bottles and while there is nothing wrong with it, I don't think the bottled version is worth the premium I paid. A lot of the character of the kegged version is missing here and the result as a not too unpleasant beer but completely lacking anything to make it stand out. It was nice on tap, in bottle it's meh and it's very expensive meh at that! I got two bottles of it? I must have been tripping.....
I missed Fireside in the Arran brewery post for some reason. Possibly because I wanted to put it out of my mind. Look I did not make any notes, I'm sorry but I had to force myself just to drink it. I think some ginger and orange and a little caramel perhaps form memory but it was just a bad beer. Do yourself a favour and avoid. Or better yet, hit it with a poker!
Steve gave me a bottle of Stinger which is an organic ale from River Cottage/Hall and Woodhouse. There is a shy badger on the front which makes sense because this is the same brewery that produces badger ales. As you might imagine from the name, the beer is infused with nettles (organic of course). This does not do a huge amount to the flavour but it does produce a tingly spicy finish with vegetal notes. It's surprisingly refreshing and spritzy and is a wonderful summer beer, though I would drink it any time of the year. It's not great but I did enjoy it and that's the main thing for a beer.
Another Arran beer just for a quick mention. In the Arran Brewery post, I already mentioned Milestone. Or rather I showed a picture and said I did not make any notes. This was the 750ml bottle and I don't think it's any different to the 500ml version even though it's supposed to be. Well again, I did not make any notes but this is supposed to be a special reserve. It wasn't worth it. Again I forced myself to drink it as I hate throwing beer away but it was almost a tipper. Everything about it was wrong, it somehow even seemed skunked even though it was in a brown bottle, well I say brown but to be honest I think it was actually green and the beer made it look brown. The beer is a mess, plain and simple with phenols coming at me from all angles. I will give it this, it's a unique beer but to my mind, bloody awful.
To be fair to Arran, their Arran Dark won an award for best brown ale in Europe. I liked it well enough but I did not think it a world class beer by any stretch.