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While Shepherds watched

Shepherd NeameThere’s been something of a Shepherd Neame theme to the past few days.  We’ve been visiting Sarah’s parents in Bexhil, which is in East Sussex, but not far from the Kent border.  One of the local pubs that we frequent, and that we visited for lunch on Monday, is The Bull Inn at St. Leonards-on-Sea, and that is a Shepherd Neame house.   Normally, if I’m driving, I’ll have a pint of Kent’s Best (4.1%) or Master Brew (3.7%) – but this time Sarah was driving, so I was treated to a couple of pints of Spitfire (4.2%) to wash down a rather good steak and kidney pudding.  Spitfire is one of my favourite bottled beers (the bottled version is 4.5%) but I don’t get much opportunity to drink the cask version (maybe occasionally in a Wetherspoons), so I was happy to take advantage of the situation.  It’s a nice malty, fruity beer that goes down very well, especially with good food.  A bit of history – it was first brewed in 1990 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and it has been one of Shepherd Neame’s most popular beers ever since.

I’ve also had a couple of bottles of their Christmas Ale 2009 (7.0%) which we picked up in Lidl.  I’m usually a bit wary of these Christmas ales – they are almost always very strong, and are often very sweet or flavoured with a variety of spices that are somehow associated with Christmas.  This one is not like that – it is certainly strong at 7%, but it doesn’t taste that strong (very dangerous, as it is very drinkable) – and although there is some spiciness from the hops, it is not overpowering.  It’s a very good, tasty easy-drinking beer, but treat it with respect!  I think I’ll go and see if Lidl have got any left to help to ease in the new year.

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