Last of the Summer Wine

No need to worry, this is a post about beer, not an ancient TV programme!
Summer Wine was a brewery that had been on my radar for a while, but not being able to ship to Northern Ireland stymied my prospects of getting to try it somewhat. That was until Diabolo and Barrista were available at Belfast Beer Fest (I wonder who sugegsted them from the Flying Firkin list...) I loved both so knew it was time to shell out on a mixed case for Christmas, a bottle of each going to my dad for his present (he loves hoppy beers too; so will hopefully enjoy) and half a present to myself.

I love the simple but recognisable label designs with a bold name
and a simple short description of what to expect from the beer

I decided to kick things off with Hermes, the pale ale. A lovely clear golden number with fluffy white head. Lemon and biscuit on the nose Smooth drinking with subtle lemon that grows down the glass with a very bitter finish. A refreshing beer, yes but not quite to my tastes.

Barista is a beer I've enjoyed before, specifically on draught at Belfast Beer Festival as a breakfast beer. I love coffee in beers and am looking forward to the KopiKat imperial stout released later this year. Pours a reddish black with thin tan head. Its an alcoholic iced coffee with a good bitter finish and one I could drink plenty of.

I love porters and this is one I'd been looking forward to trying for a while. It made an ideal pairing for Boxing Day lunch of cheese and piotato pie and quiche. I enjoyed it so much I forgot to make any notes! Dark brown beer with subtle chocolate nose but its all going on in the body. Chocolate, roast barley, coffee, very full mouthfeel and very moreish.

Covenant was a wedding beer brewed by/for Nick Beer Prole and his lovely lady wife at the back end of summer. I've had it on keg at Twissup and its just as enjoyable in bottle. My fellow traveller also enjoyed this beer on our train ride to York. Hazy amber with plenty of tropical fruits on the nose, mango, lychee and lemon. In the mouth similarly fruity with balanced bitterness and mal. Its very easy going and subsequently the glass is empty pretty sharpish! Going for a "beer and book pairing" I chose my new copy of Martyn Cornell's Amber, Black and Gold, which I have learned a lot from and I'm but two chapters in so far!

Diablo is another deceptively easy drinker and one of my favourite UK IPAs. Hazy amber with a big fresh grapefruit nose, citrus zing and sprightly carbonation.I wish I'd ordered more of it.

I finished the bunch with the cohort. Its a black IPA with rye, a grain I've not tasted much of in beers but it seems to have been the "in thing" with British brewers this year. Pours a dark brown with fizzy tan head that collapses to a thin lacing. The rye imparts a spicy nose, big bitter and full mouthfeel. One I'd like to revisit soon.

All in all a tasty bunch of beers, which has confirmed my suspicions that summer wine are one of the breweries at the forefront of the UK brewing scene at the moment and I hope to try more of their beers in 2012.

Summer Wine have a good website and blog. You can find the brewer James and MD Andy on Twitter, where they're great at replying to any questions you may ask of them.


  1. Having tried each of their bottles I'd have to say that my favourite is Teleporter, as you say full bodied and packed with flavour. Reall enjoyed the Covenant and Cohort to. Not had a bad bottle from SW but sometimes lacking on tap. With breweries like SW, I'm proud to be from Yorkshire!

  2. This is definitely a range I want to try. Nice write-up. I'm hoping to find them somewhere other then having to buy a load direct though - any suggestions?

  3. I wish I lived in Yorkshire too David, after my few days in York and previous visits to Leeds and Sheffield!

    Gareth, I'm not sure, mine was very reasonably priced 2 of each of 6 beer by mail order. Best to hit them up on twitter and see who their current stockists are.

  4. I love SWB the beers are top notch and the guys are sound too. For me you cannot beat Cohort but there are so many others out there.

    It's no surprise that EBBC12 is in Leeds with the quality breweries you have in that part of the world, great beer scene and bloggers too.

    Nice round up Steve