Tag Archives: Beers made with Fruit Spices Herbs and Seeds

137. Daleside Morocco Ale

It’s a bank holiday here in the UK, which means a rare scheduled day off work for Threehundredbeers. It’s on occasions such as this that thoughts inevitably turn to beer, in particular the growing queue of bottles in the spare room.

This was a present from The Official Threehundredbeers Sister, who you may remember from such day trips as Burton-on-Trent. For a non-beer drinker, she’s remarkably good at finding these things, and it helps that she’s strategically located near to Beer Central, a great little beer shop on the new Moor Market in Sheffield.

Daleside Morocco Ale hails from Harrogate in Yorkshire and it’s a beer that I’ve never seen down here in London, so I was very pleased to get my hands on it.

Daleside Morocco Ale

It’s described as a “strong dark spiced and mysterious ale brewed to the secret ancient recipe held at Levens Hall for over 300 years”. It is apparently ideal as a dinner beer, but that won’t stop Threehundredbeers cracking it open in the middle of the afternoon.

Daleside Morocco Ale pours a very deep dark ruby red colour and there’s a nice layer of tan foam sat on the top. There’s a rich malty aroma packed with dates, raisins and fruitcake notes.

The beer has a big, malty and slightly sticky body full of rich bonfire toffee and black treacle flavours. I can imagine this one being particularly well suited to the winter months, but the fact that the sun is actually out doesn’t hurt at all.

It’s claimed that the recipe dates from the time of Elizabeth I, and while my tastebuds aren’t sufficiently well-tuned to detect exactly which spices or other ingredients are in there, ginger and nutmeg spring to mind. The Book mentions that meat was once part of the recipe, in order to sustain the yeast while the beer was matured for 21 years.

The Morocco Ale is now meat-free, in case that puts you off, and aged for a great deal less time. Still, I like this one. The richness means I probably couldn’t manage more than one but I’m very pleased to have tried what is a unique and very interesting beer.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Daleside, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
Style: Beers made with Fruit, Spices, Herbs and Seeds
Strength: 5.5% ABV
Found at: Beer Central, The Moor Market, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Serving: 500ml bottle

136. Beavertown Bloody ‘Ell

The keen-eyed reader will be a little surprised to see this beer pop up, since it isn’t actually in The Book. In fact this is our first substitution for a discontinued beer.

This one replaces Nethergate Augustinian Ale. Now, Nethergate do still brew a beer by that name, but it isn’t the beer featured in The Book, a 5.2% bottled beer spiced with coriander, which was typically only available in the US.

That leaves us needing to fill a gap in the slightly catch-all Beers made with Fruit, Spices, Herbs and Seeds category. I think this will fit the bill nicely.

Beavertown Bloody 'Ell at Stormbird, Camberwell

Right off the bat, I’ll admit to being a huge fan of London’s Beavertown, so there was no hesitation in picking this one, especially when it appeared in the fridges at the ever-magnificent Stormbird. You may remember Stormbird from several previous posts.

Beavertown are one of the success stories of the flourishing modern London beer scene, and brew some terrifyingly good beers. Bloody ‘Ell is an occasional, special edition type beer brewed with the addition of a metric truckload of blood oranges.

A thumping great 7.2% American-style IPA, Bloody ‘Ell comes as fresh as can be in its tactile, garish little can, decorated with Beavertown’s distinctive signature Nick Dwyer artwork.

As a natural, dare I say “real” beer, Bloody ‘Ell is not artificially clarified, and so pours the now almost traditional “London Murky” golden colour so typical of IPAs from the new wave of London breweries. There’s a great big waft of citrus, as much from the giant American hops—Amarillo and Citra—as the blood orange.

The citrus obviously carries through to the flavour, though interestingly enough, I’m not convinced I would have identified the orange specifically without prompting.

That’s kind of a compliment: the huge juicy hops and the blood orange combine so effortlessly that nothing seems out of place, and the orange becomes more of a subtle addition rather than giving the impression you’re drinking a fruit beer.

Either way, it all works beautifully. Mouthwatering and hopelessly moreish, Bloody ‘Ell is an instant classic. It’s just a shame that the quantities produced are naturally constrained by a limited supply of the oranges themselves.

Good stuff. I’ll take two more cans home with me, thanks Stormbird.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Beavertown, Tottenham Hale, London N17
Style: Beers made with Fruit, Spices, Herbs and Seeds
Strength: 7.2% ABV
Found at: Stormbird, Camberwell Church Street, London SE5
Serving: 330ml can

97. Meantime Raspberry Wheat Beer

Now, cards on the table, I’m not sure I’m going to like this one. Not that Meantime would ever make a bad beer, but if there are two styles I don’t tend to care much for, it’s wheat beers, and beers with any kind of fruit in them.

And here we are then, a Raspberry Wheat Beer. Still, it’s a good excuse for another trip back to The Old Brewery in Greenwich, where we sampled the Coffee Porter a week or so ago.

Meantime Raspberry Wheat Beer

Much like the Coffee Porter, the Raspberry Wheat Beer is an ever-so-slight substitution for the original beer in The Book. The “Red Beer” covered in there no longer exists, but a touch of research suggests this one to be almost identical in all but name and ABV, being a fraction stronger at 5%. If anyone can confirm or deny this, do let me know in the comments.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Raspberry Wheat Beer pours a pleasingly cloudy, frothy orangey-pink colour, and there’s an immediate waft of raspberry filling the air. Upon seeing a grown man drink a pink beer, one nearby American tourist did look a bit puzzled, but I can live with that.

To taste, it’s certainly fruity, but thankfully not over-sweet, which really wouldn’t be to my taste. Instead, the fruit is tart, perhaps slightly bitter, and perfectly balanced, with the tiniest hint of sourness. In fact the effect is more reminiscent of a Kriek, such as the Cantillon one, than any raspberry beer I can remember.

I think I detect Belgian yeast in there too, and all in all it quickly becomes apparent that these Meantime chaps really do know what they’re doing. It’s an extremely high-quality beer, and almost despite myself, I find myself enjoying it greatly.

Served chilled, the Raspberry Wheat Beer is hugely refreshing, and this would be a great summer afternoon beer. That said, even on a rainy evening in South East London, it’s no hardship to drink it. It was a very pleasant change from the usual, even though next time I’m in Greenwich I’d probably still opt for the IPA or the very tasty new Black Pale.

In conclusion, I’d say that this beer is a great example of why I persist with this ridiculous blog project. I simply wouldn’t have tried this beer otherwise, and I really would have been missing out.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Meantime Brewing Company, Blackwall Lane, London SE10
Style: Beers made with Fruit, Spices, Herbs and Seeds
Strength: 5.0% ABV
Found at: The Old Brewery, Greenwich, London SE10
Serving: 330ml bottle

93. Meantime Coffee Porter

There are no less than four Meantime beers in The Book, an honour shared only by Tadcaster’s Samuel Smith’s, and also the venerable Cantillon brewery, which you’ll remember I visited in Brussels.

Given that Meantime are based right here in South East London, it’s perhaps a little remiss that I’ve not managed to cover any of them yet. So to put things right, I headed over to Meantime’s neck of the woods, Greenwich, and to one of the two pubs that they own there, The Old Brewery.

The Old Brewery is a bar, restaurant and working microbrewery in the heart of Maritime Greenwich. Sited within the Old Naval College, right next to the Cutty Sark and the Thames, and with a spacious and attractive beer garden, I suspect I wouldn’t want to visit in the height of tourist season.

However, on a quiet Tuesday evening, it was a very pleasant place to sample a couple of different Meantime beers, including the Coffee Porter.

Meantime Coffee Porter

Strictly speaking, the Coffee Porter isn’t in The Book. However the “Coffee Beer”—which seems to have been based on a 4.0% ABV stout—no longer exists, and has been directly replaced within Meantime’s range by this somewhat stronger offering. I think this is as close as we’re likely to get.

This beer tends only to be available in bottles, and this being Meantime’s own pub, it’s presented here with a rather handsome branded glass.

For a porter, it appears surprisingly thin when poured, and it’s certainly quite rare to be able to see your own hand through a glass of porter. There’s a frothy tan head that dissipates fairly quickly.

And of course there’s a big, smoky aroma of coffee. Well, not actually of coffee, but of the sort of coffee flavouring you find in cakes, liqueurs and the like.

Thankfully, that thin appearance doesn’t translate into an unusually light body, and the coffee flavour tastes a lot more natural than it smells.

The Old Brewery, Greenwich

I don’t usually care for flavoured beers of any sort, but in this case the coffee flavour is subtle enough to work well, and does complement the underlying porter well. Having said that, there’s not a lot going on beyond the coffee.

This one was served chilled, which may not have helped, but as it warmed, more flavours did emerge, in particular quite a big, bitter finish that did make matters a little more satisfying.

If I’m struggling to sound enthusiastic, that’s probably more down to my tastes than anything specific about the quality of this beer, which it’s hard to fault. The Coffee Porter was pleasant enough as something a little bit different, but I’ll probably try something else next time I’m in Greenwich.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Meantime Brewing Company, Blackwall Lane, London SE10
Style: Beers made with Fruit, Spices, Herbs and Seeds
Strength: 6.0% ABV
Found at: The Old Brewery, Greenwich, London SE10
Serving: 330ml bottle

54. Kelpie Seaweed Ale

Jonathan Swift famously and quite rightly observed that “It was a bold man that first ate an oyster”. One might say the same about the person who, on happening upon the bladderwrack seaweed, no doubt during a leisurely stroll along a near-tropical Scottish beach, thought to themself “you know, I reckon this would taste pretty good if I put it in my beer”.

Yes, this is an ale brewed with seaweed, “Kelpie” being the Gaelic word for that most improbable of beer ingredients. Kelpie Ale is brewed by Williams Brothers Brewery, the same chaps who recently brought us Fraoch Heather Ale, an altogether less ill-advised concept.

It has taken me a little while to pluck up the courage to crack this one open, but the 300 Beers project is a relentless mistress, and so the time has come.


Kelpie Ale pours an especially dark ruby colour, and in fact is almost black in bad light. It has a very distinctive nose reminiscent of a strong stout, with quite pronounced Scotch whisky notes. In that regard I’m reminded of Harviestoun’s Ola Dubh, a strong porter aged in whisky barrels.

To taste, Kelpie is again distinctive. It’s very fruity and tangy, with a vinous edge and perhaps the faintest touch of saltiness. It’s also slightly smoky, so there really are a lot of different flavours vying for attention

That smokiness further reminds me of a stout, as does the beer’s remarkably full body. Whilst I can’t detect any flavours that I can definitively identify as seaweed, there is a slightly gelatinous texture to the beer, which could simply be my imagination playing tricks on me, but it does call to mind the rubberiness of freshly beached bladderwrack seaweed.

All in all, this is an interesting beer. As with the brewery’s heather ale, whilst I can’t see it becoming a regular tipple, I’m glad I’ve tried it.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Williams Brothers Brewing Co, Alloa, Scotland
Style: Beers made with Fruit, Spices, Herbs and Seeds
Strength: 4.4% ABV
Found at: Utobeer, Borough Market, London SE1
Serving: 500ml Bottle

43. Fraoch Heather Ale

Now, here’s a beer I have been looking forward to. I haven’t had a Fraoch for at least 15 years, at which time I was a student up in Edinburgh. This Scottish heather ale was always a special treat in those days, being a little more expensive and harder to get hold of than the McEwan’s 80/- ale that was my main tipple.

Still, I had a bottle from time to time, and even remember enjoying it as a guest cask in the Blind Poet. Almost as much as the native barman enjoyed my attempts to pronounce the name correctly.

Since I spotted this one in The Book, I’d been wondering how I’d get hold of a Fraoch here in London. I needn’t have worried: as is so often the case, Utobeer have it covered.


Fraoch Heather Ale pours a lovely deep golden colour with a small white head, and there’s a very subtle floral aroma.

Fraoch is lighter bodied than I remember, but no less smooth. Scottish ales tend to employ very little in the way of hops, so are unlikely to be particularly bitter, and this one is no exception. Instead there are floral flavours, courtesy of the heather and bog myrtle with which the beer is brewed, and a slight peppermint note too. The finish is vinous and slightly sweet.

The beer doesn’t have a huge amount of depth to it, which isn’t quite how I remember it, but it’s nice enough. The botanicals are sufficiently subdued that I probably wouldn’t detect heather specifically if I didn’t know it was in there. I don’t consider that a particularly bad thing: I still want my beer to taste of beer.

All in all, Fraoch is an enjoyable beer, a little bit different, and I can certainly see how it made a nice change from the ubiquitous 80/- all those years ago. A pleasant and welcome blast from the past.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Williams Brothers Brewing Co, Alloa, Scotland
Style: Beers made with Fruit, Spices, Herbs and Seeds
Strength: 5.0% ABV
Found at: Utobeer, Borough Market, London SE1
Dispense: 500ml Bottle

5. Wells Banana Bread Beer

I haven’t been looking forward to this one. In fact, the only reason it has cropped up quite so early on is that I wanted to get it out of the way. That, plus it is available in my corner shop. It’s to their credit that they stock such a wide range of real ales, and it’s not their fault that this one is banana flavoured.

You read that right, this is a banana flavoured beer. But it’s in The Book, so let’s hold our noses and get this over and done with.


There really isn’t much to say about this, other than it’s an unexceptional bitter which has been artificially flavoured with banana. That’s what it smells like, and that’s what it tastes like.

The underlying beer is pretty bland and watery, since no brewer in their right mind would waste a batch of good ale this way. The banana flavour tastes nothing like actual bananas, and everything like those yellow foam sweets you used to get as a kid. The only saving grace is that it is less sweet than I expected.

This isn’t my thing, and more objectively, I really don’t see who this beer is aimed at or what the point is. Judging by the dust collecting on the bottles in the shop, not many people do.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Charles Wells, Bedford, England
Style: Beers made with Fruit, Spices, Herbs and Seeds
Strength: 5.2% ABV
Found at: Jolly Good News, Rosendale Road, London SE24
Serving: 500ml bottle