Not a Mess

Today's subject brewery has been on my radar for a long time, not least because of their fantastic Black IPA Conqueror and stronger sibling 1075 Conqueror. As the only member of the London Brewer's Alliance outside of the M25, Windsor and Eton have to demonstrate their worthiness to stand alongside such greats as Kernel and Brodies. This they have done amply and the beers below testify to that.

I got in touch with the brewery as I was after a bottle of Republika, their Czech Pilsen beer. This is very true to style, pouring a lovely gold, with plenty of carbonation and a pillowy white head. The nose with some honey and pepper. Medium carbonation, fills the mouth, rich honey malt and fresh saaz hop bite. A great pilsener, one which I'd happily drink again and again. Great to finally find one in the UK that can rival the Czech greats. 

The next few are a series of special releases. The first Windsor Knot was first brewed to commemorate the wedding of Prince William and Kate but proved popular enough to become part of the core range. Pouring into the glass a dark copper-red, the crystal malt influence is immediately detected as toffee and caramel but first the nostrils are caressed by fruity Nelson Sauvin. Medium bodied, lots of grapes and melon fruit, touch of marscapone, grapes, lycheee, little by way of bitterness, tongue tingling at finish. This must be fantastic on cask.

Kohinoor is an IPA (5%) with a difference. Brewed with jasmine and jaggery sugar to suggest an Indian influence and named for a 106carat diamond in the crown jewels. This is of course a Jubilee beer and is a good riff on a traditional English IPA. The nose is a touch musty, with marmalade that's been left lurking in the back of the cupboard unused for a few months. Soft carbonation and mouth-feel, there's a slight refreshing tartness, digestive biscuit malt and dry bitterness in finish. There's something lacking but I can't quite put my finger on it.

The other Jubilee beer is influenced by export stout but at a more conventional ABV (4.8%). It has a whole host of ingredients, including yams, millet, coffee and vanilla. Unfortunately most of these are lost with coffee being prevalent in both aroma and flavour and a whole lot of sweetness in the finish which is possibly from the yams. The body is a touch thin and lacking carbonation which makes this the biggest disappointment of the bunch for me. Still a tasty drop but it could have been so much more with a few extra ABV points.

I'm no stranger to Guardsman, W&E's Oak Aged beer, a good traditional bitter with some fruity wood notes. It pours amber in colour with a temporary foamy head and plenty of carbonation continuing to rise. Initial red fruit followed by shortbread and maltose with a subtle bitter finish.  Long leathery-pepper finish is unusual but moreish.

My stand-out of their range is the aforementioned 1075 Conqueror, a Black IPA (BIPA). I'm a fan of the style, but far too many breweries just make a hoppy stout/porter and call that a BIPA. Nothing wrong with the beer, some are fantastic but to me a BIPAs shouldn't have any roasted or astringent character from barley and perhaps just a touch of chocolate. This beer achieves that well and is one of my favourites. Dark Chocolate with tan head that collapses to a lacing. Pithy tangerine and chocolate nose. Rich orangey hop juice with a touch of milk chocolate in the finish. Perfect balance of hop bitterness and malt sweetness. Gentle carbonation helps it to slip down far too easily for 7.4%..
Overall a great selection from an up-and-coming UK brewery. Certainly one to watch out for and I hope their third Jubilee beer (due out in Autumn) is something special.

The brewery can be found on Twitter @WindsorEtonBrew.

I was kindly sent the beers in this post (except the 1075) after I enquired about Republika. The fact that the beers were free did not colour my judgement of them, but feel free to bear that in mind.

A Ratebeer friend kindly brought me over a bottle of Knight of the Garter, W&E's session golden ale. This only served to reaffirm that  the brewery knows their stuff. Its a honey-blonde with temporary fluffy cream head that soon collapses to a lacing. Peppery citrus nose. Sweet biscuit malt up front with lemon and passion-fruit following in behind. Medium carbonation. Touch of yeast esters and English hop bitterness.


  1. Was lucky enough to finally track down Windsor Knot on cask a few weeks ago and yes, it's even better :)

  2. Great use of the Spiegelau glasses there Steve ;)

    1. why not? they help accentuate the flavour and are unbranded, most of my previous posts have been done with chunky pints or brewdog stemmed glassware!

  3. Replies
    1. I agree, those brewers who simply call a hoppy porter a BIPA ruin a valid style for those who make it properly...

      though of course some would say style guidelines are only designed for competitions...

  4. Nice work mate, love this brewery although not tried all the beers. Hear what you are saying above about the glassware too, makes a massive difference in my opinion too

  5. Just back from Windsor with a haul of their beers which I'm itching to open. I've only had 1075 so I'm very curious to see what the original Conqueror is like when I get round to opening it, can't wait! :)

    1. well worth it, look forward to reading about them

  6. Try to get year old bottles of Conqueror 1075 - the beer just got so much better with time. They still have some in brewery.