Burton Ale

Evening of July 3, 2013

I’m a third of the way through Hops and Glory by Pete Brown. It’s a page-turner. It’s excellent. And most importantly it’s got me interested in British IPAs.

Tonight I went to Tesco to pick up a couple of Sierra Nevada Pale Ales, not thinking at all about Hops and Glory and all the good info it had been feeding me for the past couple of weeks (except that I did try and find a good bottle of Madeira – alas, no). But there on the shelves were a couple of Burton’s finest: Worthington’s White Shield. I forgot about Californian pale ales and scooped them up peeling my eyes for more Burton Ale. Indeed, I found that a favourite of mine Old Empire was brewed in Burton so I scooped that too, and a bottle of Marston’s for good measure. I now have three Burton Ales ready for tasting, two of which are 5%ABV+ IPAs.

Worthington's White Shield

White Shield is the one I can’t wait for so I’m trying it first. Pete Brown eulogises about this one and I can see why. It’s big, and hoppy, caramelly and a little toasted but pretty smooth. Very quaffable. The aroma is fruity. Raisins, and dried fruit – particularly orange peel. Some yeast.

The fullness of this English IPA is so different from the fullness of a piney, citrusy American IPA. The styles are miles apart despite sharing the same hoppy character. This beer may have been brewed to survive a trip to a hot climate but it’s at home in the cold too and despite July’s lazy heat hanging around the house, I can feel myself in the back bar of a pub in Autumn reaching for a White Shield.

White Shield doesn’t strike me as a complex beer, but it’s very good indeed – a workhorse, full of balance and experience. Full of alcohol and zest, rich and luminous toffee. Plus it has one of my favourite labels.

3.75 / 5

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Burton Ales IPA