Beer Tasting Notes for Shepherd Neame

Country: England
Number of Tasting Notes: 3


Type: Bitter
ABV: 6.5%

I usually find the beers from Shepherd Neame light and easy going. They don't usually produce full bodied, dark bitters. 1698 looks like another one of the light beers, but it's defiantly a wolf in sheep's clothing. The high alcohol volume of 6.5% gives it away slightly, but the light to medium amber colour doesn't. To find out for sure, as usual, It's all the tasting.

Beginning as a light, toffee-ish flavour, the beer quickly excels into a robust brew. Laden with zesty hops and a citrus twang towards the mid palete and finish. Underneath, almost a solid buttery texture. There is no gimmicks or OTT thoughts. Just an honest pint.

Deceiving is the word here. It's easy to drink three or four of these without thinking. And all of a sudden you're knocked out.

I never thought Shepherd Neame had it in 'em. I was wrong.

Very good. For the real ale lover who wants strength and flavour but not from a dark coloured bitter.

Final Score:
3.5 out of 5
3.5 out of 5


Type: Golden Ale
ABV: 4.5%


Now and again I pop in my local Lidl to see what Beer's they have on offer. One brewery that the Supermarket giant stocks quite regularly is the Kent Brewery, Shepherd Neame. Along with their flagship beer's, Spitfire and Bishop's Finger, the odd other Shepherd Neame offering pops up from time to time. A few months back I found Dragonfire in my local Lidl's.

There's not much information regarding Dragonfire on the Internet. Even the Shepherd Neame website itself don't have any kind of product information regarding the Beer. So, all the information I'm going to give you today is from the bottle.

Firstly, the notes on the back of the bottle mention that Dragonfire is ideal for Saint George's Day. Therefore, I'm assuming that this is a seasonal brew, on sale around the March / April period.

There's a good amount of different ingredients that have gone into Dragonfire, including malted barley, oats, rye and wheat with Golding Hops to round the whole thing off. It sounds like there's going to be a lot going on when I get round to tasting this mahogany coloured Beer.

Aroma & Taste

What I liked on the nose with Dragonfire is the spice that comes through. Like the aroma, on the palate the spice factor hits quite quickly, Medium in body. Towards the middle, there's a slight dryness that finishes up with a medium bitter finish.

Overall Impressions

Fair play, Shepherd Neame have done good with Dragonfire. There's enough going on to make you sit up and take notice, while not being overpowering or harsh. Sometimes I wonder if Shepherd Neame produce too many different releases, and they all become quite similar or in the worst case, the quality just isn't there. However, in Dragonfire's case, this one's a keeper.

See: mahogany

Smell: spice

Taste: roasted,spice

Final Score:
3.5 out of 5
3.5 out of 5

Spooks Ale

Type: Bitter
ABV: 4.7%

Spooks Ale is Shepherd Neame Brewery's Seasonal Ale for, yes, you guessed it, Halloween. Shepherd Neame produce quite a large range of different Ales, so it will be quite interesting what they come up with here.

On the nose, you get a mellow yeasty aroma with a slight hoppiness following close behind. There's a little bit of sweetness there, that resembles toffee, settling underneath the yeast aroma.

Pouring into the bottle, the first thing you notice is a lot of carbonation, like you're opening a bottle of pop! The head itself is only around half a finger, however, the bubbles in the head are very fine. The colour of Spooks Ale is a reddish brown. Looking closely, you can see how lively the carbonation is... I can't remember the last time I saw a beer with so much insane carbonation as this!

Tasting Spooks Ale, the first thing I quickly noticed is how spicy it is! The flavours are quite intense on the palate. You could almost say the flavours are 'tart'. There's this roasted element here that I'm surprised that it's in a Ale from Shepherd Neame. I don't usually associate intense, deep, roasted flavours, but it's quickly apparent that Shepherd Neame have decided to stick their neck out here and try something different for Halloween. If you like powerful, roasted flavours, that closely gets to that strong Espresso flavours, then Spooks Ale could be for you.

Scoring Spooks Ale, is a difficult one, or maybe not. I definitely applaud Shepherd Neame for stepping out of their comfort zone, but the roasted, spiciness is just too 'out there' for me. If you are going to go crazy, I guess Halloween would be the best time of the year to do so. But I doubt I would be buying Spooks Ale again.

See: red brown,ruby

Smell: bread,yeast

Taste: zesty,burnt,toast

Final Score:
2 out of 5
2 out of 5