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This particular post is all about Marston’s. Now you will undoubtedly be familiar with their brand. Marston’s PLC runs over 200 pubs and bars across Great Britain. From cask ale pubs to family restaurants like The Mermaid, Marston’s PLC has their fingers in a lot of pies.
Now this is where it gets a bit confusing. Marston’s Beer Company is the Brewing division of Marston’s PLC. They have taken over several breweries in recent years including household names such as Wychwood, Banks’s and Brakspear breweries. It is difficult to work out how involved Marston’s PLC is in the running of their different breweries. It will be interesting to find out if the breweries have changed anything since being taken over. To read into more detail about the company their website has a very detailed timeline of their history which you can read here.
So one of these breweries is Marston’s and it is their beers I will be reviewing. But first here is a little history for you.
John Marston founded J. Marston and Son at the Horninglow Brewery in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, in 1834. In 1898, the company moved to the Albion Brewery, where the company remains today. At the end of the nineteenth century, Burton-on-Trent was the brewing capital of the world. Burton’s beers were among the best, often imitated, but never bettered. In a town that was built by brewers, only Marston’s™ now remains to preserve the heritage and tradition of Burton brewing.
I will begin with the beer you will be most familiar with which is Marston’s Pedigree. It is very popular and pubs sell over 41 million pints of Pedigree each year.
Pedigree 4.5% – it has more body than their other pale ales. There is an instant hit of malty flavour and wintery fruity hops. The ultimate session beer!
Renowned beer writer Roger Protz described it as follows on their website:
‘You get lovely spicy hops, juicy malt and a very light hint of apple fruit, It’s an incredible beer.’
In total I tried 6 Marston’s ales. You can find a list of all the ales on their website here. My tasting notes are as follows;
EPA English Pale Ale 3.6% – A pungent smell with a hint of sulphur. It is quite gassy and is a bit standard, quite floral and way too fizzy which overpowers the flavours.
Strong Pale Ale 6.2% – Strong aromas of sulphur. Very pungent! Still fizzy but a lot better than the other pale as the extra strength brings more flavour. Ok, but overall not great.
Double Drop 4.0% – Lighter than I expected with a smoother consistency but lacking any distinct flavours. Still a bit gassy.
Oyster Stout 4.5% – Dark Stout with hints of coffee and chocolate. Very smooth and full bodied, unlike any other Marston’s ale.
Old Empire 5.7% – Amber colour and quite hoppy with a bitter aftertaste. Still quite fizzy and a bit too tangy for me.
Overall the beers are ok but nothing to get very excited about. Pedigree is decent and the Oyster Stout goes down well but the rest are well, not for me.
Keep checking our blog for more tasting notes coming very soon.