“ Brand: Shepherd Neame / Type: Ale „
I have never really been a fan of the mass produced tasteless lagers that are ten a penny in the supermarkets these days, preferring instead a proper pint of ale. With this in mind, my favourite brewery has to be Shepherd Neame, producers of some well known brands such as Bishops Finger and Master Brew, however one of their lesser known brands in the Late Red.
Firstly let me give you some background on the brewery itself. Shepherd Neame is based in Faversham in Kent, and was founded in 1698. It proudly boasts being Britain's older brewer. Ideally located, as Kent is renowned for being one of the biggest and best hops growing counties in the UK. Even after all these years, they have resisted the temptation to sell up to one of the big players, and they are still run as a family business using traditional methods to produce their beers. The brands that they sell are now sold around the world, as well as in many local pubs and all good off licenses and supermarkets.
Now onto Late Red itself, well I paid £1.79 for a 500ml bottle from my local supermarket. I am sure that prices vary from place to place, but anywhere in the region of £1.50 to £2 seems reasonable to me. The bottle itself is relatively short and stubby, made with clear glass, with a red and brown label on the front to signify the autumnal colours that characterise this beer. Described as autumn hop ale, and originally only available between September and November, now due to the recent increase in popularity of independent brewers, is now available all year round.
The beer itself is a blend of local Kentish goldings and cascade hops, along with traditional crystal malts and barley, which are expertly combined to produce good quality pale ale. The all-important percentages now - Late Red comes in at 4.5% alcohol by volume, which puts it in line with most of the other ales in its category. This equates as 2.2 UK units of alcohol for a 500ml bottle, which is around half of the recommended maximum daily intake for a man, and 2/3rds for a woman.
The colour of the beer is an almost coppery auburn colour, which is very evocative of autumn and as such is a good brand identifier. On pouring it will only form a very small head on the top of the glass, which will not last very long. The first thing you will notice after pouring is the aroma. In my opinion this is crucial to an ale, as a welcoming aroma heightens the taste that will follow. The scent of the hops is the first thing to hit your nose, but this isn't overpowering as in some beers and is quickly followed by an autumnal fruity scent, which is very appealing.
Finally onto the all-important taste. This beer is full of hop flavours but they have been superbly balanced by the malts. The hop flavours come through with every mouthful almost immediately as a nutty undertone, which is complimented by lots of fruity sweetness too. As with most beers from Shepherd Neame there is an element of spiciness to the finish, which remains on the palette with the hops even though there is no strong aftertaste to this particular beer.
I believe that this ale is a perfect accompaniment to a good quality Sunday roast dinner, and this is also noted on the companies website. However it is just as good as a drink to sit down with after a hard days work to relax in front of the television. It is especially good in the autumn or wintertime as the warming spicy flavour is a perfect antidote to the cold and frost outside. I wouldn't describe it as a session beer, as I believe with good quality ales that the flavours should be savoured rather than drank in high quantities. With regard to pubs, I have not seen this particular brand on sale in any local establishments, however it is highly possible that it is available widely in other parts of the country. I would recommend visiting a good quality pub if you do find it, as with all ales, the storage and serving can and does affect the flavours.
All in all this is a very good quality ale from a high quality independent brewer, which beer drinkers should be supporting. It is up there with their other better known ales, and in my opinion is the best one they have produced to date, so I highly recommend getting out there and trying a bottle of this.
Thanks for reading and this review may appear on Dooyoo at a later date under my same username.
Late Red is Shepherd Neame's autumn ale, available in their Kent pubs in the run-up to Christmas. It is a beer full of flavour, a complex mixture which has a suitably warming effect on those chilly autumn nights. Like most of the Neame beers this one is unlikely to be found much outside the county of Kent. This problem is particularly true of the seasonal beers which are normally only available for 3 months at a time. The beer has a distinctly red or ruby colour which is very unusual in beers nowadays and is a characteristic shared with only a few other beers from independent breweries. Its a slightly unusual beer, if you get the chance give it a try.
Late Red is a complex and richly flavored Autumn Hop Ale. Slightly Red in color, this ale is a balance between rich, dark malt flavors and a strong and robust hoppiness. Available from September to November inclusive. Brewer: Shepherd Neame Limited Style: Ale Alcohol Content: 4.5% Seasonal: Yes