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Every now and again I have been tempted to imbibe a real ale or two. In fact, it is not entirely unusual to see me frequenting Real Ale Festivals, including the Great British Beer Festival. Sadly, on those occasions I found myself totally underbearded and occasionally baffled by the conversation.
That being said, I had not actually had a pint of Bombardier for some time and it was to take a fortuitous happenstance for this to occur. As a Napoleonic re-enactor, I have enjoyed recreating battles In Britain, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Germany. As well as this I have been to any number of events to provide a little local colour, my own school Summer Fair included. So, when I tell you that we were offered some filming work for a new advertising campaign, I don't think I have to exaggerate how excited we were. Filming with Rik Mayall, enjoying our hobby and drinking beer. What better way to spend a few days?
To our amazement, it took 3 days to film a commercial that would initially be shown as a 30 second slot. Even worse, due to the strict controls we were not actually allowed to drink the beer that we so carefully held in different takes. After we wrapped on the third day we were allowed to take away a number of free samples as a thank you.
Finally, we could have a taste of the beer we were advertising. Would it turn out to be a bland, flavourless brew or, just as bad, be one of those real ales that is so heavy it is almost chewy?
What we got was a beer I would describe as fairly middling in colour, a medium brown rather than the pale Summer Ales or darker heavy beers. It has a slightly reddish tint when held up to the light and looks good after being poured from can or bottle (we had both.) To taste it was again a pleasant drop. Whilst there were undoubted malty undertones, it had not got a very bitter taste and was very palatable indeed. This was a beer that I would describe as a session beer, as it is one you could drink for the evening without feeling the need to stop or switch. It isn't the fullest flavour beer I have tasted, or even the best on a single drink for drink basis. However, it does offer a consistency and I have enjoyed it from cask, bottle and can.
Since doing the filming for both years so far, I have felt a loyalty to the drink but I don't feel it is a misplaced one. If it were not a drink I enjoyed I would have had the free samples and then moved on. Instead, this is a beer that I choose to drink whenever I see it in available. What is pleasing is that the success of the campaign has finally meant that the beer has made it to the south of London and is becoming more available in pubs as well as retail outlets.
Is this a drink that all "purist" real ale drinkers will enjoy? Perhaps not. It's taste is not significantly special enough to win any CAMRA medals. What it does offer is a drink that more people can enjoy. It is trying to drive a foot into the door of the lager drinking party and, whilst it may not be the first guest on the list, it has achieved a certain popularity due to its medium flavour and advertising that calls to a national identity and appeals to an audience that want something different.
If you enjoy this, try the Burning Gold version, a highly quaffable Summer Ale version. Alternatively, try the new, "Colonel's Choice" premium version. The former has a crisp, only slightly bitterer than lager flavour, while the latter has a deliciously strong hoppy flavour, though is not for the faint-hearted at 6%!
I heartily approve of any efforts to make real ales more palatable and acceptable to the masses, so long may efforts like this continue.
'World cup fever' has well and truly hit my home! I wouldn't mind, as I'm as patriotic as the next Englishwoman, except for the awful noise of the vuvuzelas. Still, I understand I'm not alone on that one. So, I've asked my husband and sons to turn the volume down for most matches but when it comes to the England matches, a low volume isn't on the agenda and, I'll just have to grin and bear it. So, I've put the flags up, bought the England shirt and told hubby to buy extra Wells Bombardier beer! Better than becoming a, 'football widow' eh? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!
I'm not a great beer drinker, usually preferring a glass of wine, although I sometimes drink a half of lager and lime or a bitter shandy. But a while back when I saw my other half lovingly pouring a can of Bombardier into his favourite glass and looking at it admiringly, I asked if I could have a taste. I had a sip, nodded, whilst wiping the froth from around my mouth, and he generously opened another can and poured me a glass. I was impressed enough to review this beer.
Now we can't be in South Africa but we're certainly going to get in the spirit of things. Our dog is a West Highland Terrier but we've told him he must support England, or his treats will be reduced! He agreed, a little grudgingly, I thought. The men in the family don't need much to get them in the mood for a football match and, in fact my husband gets too vocal, starts the dog of barking and between them, they successfully drown out the horns, which takes some doing. But he does seem to get a bit overly excited at times, so I've told him we'll get put extra beer in the fridge and this just might help to cool him down. Hopefully, things will go our way and he won't feel like drowning his sorrows. (Really he is a responsible drinker)
The beer of course will be Wells Bombardier, his favourite and mine. Not only do we appreciate the taste but we couldn't find a more patriotic premium beer. Even the packaging is patriotic ans sets the scene for an England match, with the two lions holding the Saint George flag between them. Come on England!
A little history on the product, found on, www.bombardier.co.uk and www.youngs.co.uk
In 1875, Charles Wells, returned home to Bedford, after twenty years service in the merchant navy. He was engages to be married but his future father in law insisted if he were to marry his daughter, he must settle down and stop the sea journeys. As a result, Wells bought a brewery and thirty two pubs at an auction. This was his start. he married and had a large family which in turn also reproduced and the family was well able throughout the years to expand the business.
This beer is an English product. As you enjoy it be proud that you are drinking the official beer of the English Heritage. It can be bought in cans, bottles and on draught at Young's pubs. Apparently, it was went down well on St George's Day! It is drunk in many countries other than England but I'm not sure if the Scots like it. I'll have to ask some friends about that.
I'm not an expert on beer, but I have developed a preference to bitter over lager. I like the smell of this one especially. To me it has a rich, inviting aroma.
I also find the goldish brown colour inviting. I would always drink from a nice glass rather than the can. You see I can be ladylike even when drinking bitter.
And the taste? I would say it's smooth and goes down quite easily. It's refreshing and has a somewhat spicy taste.
I asked my husband why this is his favourite beer and he said:
I think the can measures up really well to the draught beer. It tastes pretty much like it is on draught. It's got a smooth, lovely, good old fashioned taste and you can really taste the hops. Also, it has a nice head to it that is lasting...d'you know, you've made me really want one now and I can't because I've got to drive!
So what does give Bombardier this great taste? According to Wells & Youngs Brewing Company:
The hops used are the ripest English 'Challenger and Golding' variety. There is more malt contained in this than in any other premium beer. Only pure natural mineral water is used in the brewing. Bombardier has a spicy aroma and a sultana fruit taste. It has a soft, spicy finish.
The cans can be bought in Sainsbury's (packs of 4 x 500 ml). The price varies but will be around the £4.85 region, or you may be lucky enough to find an offer where you can buy two packs for an even better price.
The alcohol content of a 500ml can is 4.3% vol.
A similar review can be found on www.ciao.co.uk under the username AnneLorraine1
Wells Bombardier English Premium Beer Alc' 4.3% Vol
Bought these on offer in Tesco 2 packs of 4x 500ml cans for £7
Being a real ale lover this product is brilliantly priced 8 pints for £7, lovely! Excellent beer!
Known as the drink of England, Bombardier is the official ale of English Heritage.
With a peppery aroma this adds a perfect balance of malty richness, tangy hops and sultana fruitiness's altogether with a spicy finish.
Only the best English hops and barley are used to brew this beer in the U.K. with a natural mineral water that's considered so good it could be marketed in its own right as bottled water.
This is a fine traditional bitter especially once put in the fridge and chilled for several hours. The ale is not compromised by being poured from the can it would be difficult to determine the difference if both bottle and can were poured and presented in separate glasses.
I normally buy Bombardier in bottles at the supermarket especially on any 4 selected ales for £5 deal.
Whenever it's on sale in the pubs and clubs on draught I can't resist having a few.
No, this review has nothing to do with Saddam's 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' - this review is based purely on solid facts.....
One of the regular guest beers in my local pub, is BOMBARDIER...does that make sense? A regular guest? Or even spelling bombadier with an R?
Anyway, as I said, quite often my local pub has Bombardier on tap and when it does, I always order a pint...unless I order something else, of course.
So, considering I've drank this beer so often, it's about time I wrote a review about it......
The Charles Wells brewery was founded in 1876 and is now the largest independently owned, family run brewery in the country, and the UK's fifth largest brewery. Over five generations the Wells family have been involved with the brewery, and present members are still involved in the day-to-day running of the company.
All Charles Wells beer is still made with water drawn from the well sunk some 90 years ago, these include some nice ales in the form of Bombardier, Eagle, Banana Bread Beer and the cleverly named Fargo, as well as seasonal offerings.
On the downside, they are also one of the biggest brewers of 'imported' beers which are brewed under license. This makes them guilty...erm...responsible, for such homages to the adjunct world as: Kirin, Red Stripe and Corona Extra.
Bitter usually has a medium to low alcohol content. The beer is most often amber in colour, with a reddish tinge. The dominating flavour of this beer is hop bitterness and the hop aroma is usually medium to high, and it should be dry. It's quite similar in style to pale ale - traditionally, pale ales were bottled, while bitters were in casks or kegs. Bitters are generally available in three strengths: ordinary, special and extra special bitter (ESB).
A horse and a chicken are playing in a meadow. The horse falls into a mud hole and is sinking. He calls to the chicken to go and get the farmer to help pull him out to safety. The farmer drives his Mercedes back to the mud hole and ties some rope around the bumper. He then throws the other end of the rope to the horse, and drives the car forward and pulls the horse free.
A few days later, the chicken and horse were playing in the meadow again and the chicken fell into the mud hole. The chicken yelled to the horse to go and get some help from the farmer. The horse said, "I think I can get you out." So he stretched over the width of the hole and said, "Grab for my 'thingy' and pull yourself up."
The chicken did and pulled himself to safety.
The moral of the story:
If you are hung like a horse, you don't need a Mercedes to pick up chicks.
Back to the beer.....
"Robust in flavour and distinctive copper colour derived from using the finest barley, malt and famous Challenger and Golding Hops. A well balanced beer, the aroma is hoppy and faintly fruity; good, dry finish."
This beer pours clear, to a deep copper, mahogany colour topped by a decent-sized, foamy head which soon shrinks to leave a thin, but lingering, beige tracery. There is a good malty aroma, with suggestions of toffee, and a pleasant earthiness with a hint of fruit. The sweet caramel aroma is very reminiscent of a Scottish heavy.
The mouthfeel is smooth, with a bit more carbonation than I would normally expect from a bitter, although it's certainly not over-gassy. It has a good malt flavour - but not too sweet - with hints of caramel and toffee. There's a nutty quality to it with a healthy dose of vine fruit and a good balance of hop bitterness. The finish has a sharp, acidic bite with some spicy hops and very dry aftertaste.
At 4.3% ABV, this is a good cask ale which never disappoints. It's mellow yet complex, very smooth and ridiculously easy to drink. I know it sounds like a contradiction, but it's quite bitter for a 'bitter', although beautifully balanced never-the-less.
It's low alcohol content makes this an excellent session ale and it's a great beer to accompany traditional pub food as well.
It's also available in a nice-looking, embossed bottle, which is slightly stronger at 5.5%, and is easy to find at most supermarkets for £1.60-ish.
Would I drink it again? - Oh yes. Well, it does go down a bomb.
I couldnt believe it when I noticed that I hadnt posted a review on Bombardier Bitter. It is a regular feature in one of my local pubs and one I have drunk on MANY occasions. I think by now I am pretty qualified to offer my musings on this traditional, and rather famous, premium ale.
Bombardier Premium English Bitter is brewed by the Charles Wells Brewery. This is a family business that was founded in 1876 in Bedford and moved to the present location in 1976. The brewery, known as the Eagle Brewery, is apparently the fifth largest brewery in the UK and has been owned and run by the Wells family for five generations. They now supply getting on for 300 of their own pubs and 600 plus other outlets nationwide. They began bottling beer in 1996 and also supply beers for export abroad. You can even buy Bombardier in mini casks to drink proper beer in your own home!
Some of the beers brewed at the Eagle Brewery are Banana Bread Beer (a beer that really does taste of bananas at 5% ABV), Eagle IPA (a low gravity pale ale at 3.6% ABV) and Naked Gold (a seasonal oaty beer at 4.5% ABV).
***A Bit of Background***
Bombardier is the flagship beer for a campaign to make St Georges Day a public holiday ~ you can follow a link on the Charles Wells website to sign a petition and get involved. There is also lots of information about the different ways you can buy and drink it ~ Bombardier is a versatile drink that comes in cans, bottles and cask (they even do a smooth version .but thats not really worthy of a mention!).
Bombardier weighs in at 4.3% ABV and is brewed using Crystal and Pale malts, combined with a mix of Styrian Goldings and Challenger hops. The strength puts it in the category of a premium or best bitter.
***Look, Aroma & Texture***
Bombardier is an amber to copper colour, with chestnut tinges when held up to the light. It has a decent sized milky coffee coloured head that is pretty foamy and long lasting. The aroma is hoppy (not the citrus hops I normally mention, but a kind of spicy/peppery scent) and fruity (like grapes or raisins), with a balancing maltiness. Texture is quite rich, yet remains quite light on the palate. There is also a faint spicy tingle.
The first flavour I got from my first sip was malt ~ a rich malt with underlying hints of caramel and toffee. This soon blends with flavours of raisins, blackberries and other dark, rich fruits. Add to this a hoppiness that develops and becomes increasingly bitter towards the finish. This leads to an aftertaste that retains that bitterness but also brings in a hint of spices and more vine fruits. The aftertaste is quite long and combines the flavours that are present throughout ~ the final mouth feel is pretty dry and still has a burnt malt character.
~~~WHAT TANGE THINKS.
It is a shame that Bombardier seems to be reaching saturation point in my local pubs. There was a time when it was quite difficult to find, but it is now everywhere. Some pubs serve it in a less than ideal state so many peoples experiences of cask Bombardier will not be a particularly memorable one (and maybe in some cases an unpleasant one).
Thankfully The Industry (a pub round the corner from my house) in Newbold, near Chesterfield, has it on as one of their long term Guest Ales at the moment. We pay £2.30 a pint for it and have found it to be well kept and rather tasty indeed.
When in good condition, and well cared for, Bombardier is an excellent example of an English Bitter. It is well balanced, full of flavour and with a good amount of body. The fruit flavours mix well with the malt and the bitter hoppiness makes it quite refreshing and dry all at the same time. I find it to be quite complex, but it definitely works well and is a drinkable beer. The alcohol content is still low enough to make it a creditable session ale too!
If your current experiences of Bombardier have been less than favourable I recommend that you persevere and seek out a good pub with a well kept cellar! I think that Bombardier is an under-rated beer that is better than most people think ~ I have enjoyed it on many occasions and would drink it again. It is quite a rich beer, so may not appeal to the lager style beer drinkers, but it has enough flavour and character for a Real Ale drinker like me.
Charles Wells Ltd
The Eagle Brewery
Tel 01234 272766
Tel 01234 272766
Wells Bombardier English Premium Bitter has enjoyed a spectacular rise from well loved regional ale to a Top 10 national cask ale brand. Wells Bombardier's close affinity with all the positive and inclusive aspects of 'Englishness' has been instrumental in making St. George's Day the third busiest day of the year in the countries pubs. The popular draught variants of the brand are complimented by a 5.2% ABV version of the beer in bottles - the country's only full English pint bottle.