Our Tastings

West Berkshire Brewery – Detour Pale Ale

Pale Ale 4.5%

Take a detour with this super easy drinking pale. Crammed full of tropical fruit and citrus flavours with a crisp, balanced bitterness.

The Regulars had the opportunity to sample this n bottles and cans. On balance, the bottled version was marginally preferred as it seemed to hold the head longer. Further scientific analysis is required to determine whether this was related to temperature effects.

Can:  Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (3.3 / 5)

Bottle: Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (3.5 / 5)

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Elusive – Vortex

Double Black IPA 8%

An amped-up version of Burghfest award-winning Shadow of the Beast. Bigger, bolder, badder!

Expect a balance of roast malt flavours with a blackcurrant undertone before a big hit of citrus hops washes over the palate.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling) (4.3 / 5)

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Rebellion – Slipstream

Red & Malty 4.2%

Slipstream is red and full of malt character. Double roasted crystal, dehusked roasted malt and black malt all add a well-balanced and relatively subtle roasted flavour. WGV, a traditional British hop, adds floral notes and well-rounded bitterness.

Malt: Maris Otter Pale Ale, Double Roasted Crystal, De-husked Roasted, Black

Hops: WGV (Whitbread Goldings Variety)

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling: (3.5 / 5)

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Brewdog vs. Cloudwater – New England IPA

New England IPA 6.8%

A collaboration between Scotland’s BrewDog and London’s Cloudwater breweries! This New England IPA is a juicy, hoppy brew, showcasing US hops alongside wheat and oats. If tropical fruit and bitter hops are your kind of thing, this certainly will be too!

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling: (3.8 / 5)

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Siren Craft & Elusive Collaboration – Zombies Ate My Neighbours

Black IPA 6.2%

A special collaboration between neighbours Siren Craft Brew and Elusive Brewing. As Andy from Elusive has been campaigning so successfully for #BIPACOMEBACK, it was an easy decision to collaborate on a Black IPA. A carefully considered selection of malts balances perfectly with complementary hops, leaving this beer buzzing in vibrant orange, pine and berry aromas.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling: (4 / 5)

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Watneys – Party Seven

The Party Seven was famous the world over and was at the heart of millions of parties in the ’60s and ’70s. Originally the Party Four, Watneys added the Party Seven to the range and started a revolution of party drinking and drinking at home.

Now it’s back – with a burst of tangerine and orange blossom in the aroma. This is repeated in the flavour with orange, grapefruit, and pine overlaying a base of malt biscuits. Smooth on the palate, the beer has a firm bitterness upfront which lingers on the finish.

… and no hammer and nails required.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling) (3 / 5)

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Elusive – Cottonwood

West Coast Pale Ale  – 5.4% ABV

A bold and bitter West Coast-style Pale Ale hopped with Centennial and dry-hopped with Simcoe for notes of orange and pine.

Third and final beer from the excellent Burghfield Santa’s Beer Takeaway service.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling) (4 / 5)



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Delphic Brewing – Make It So

India Pale Ale – 5.2% ABV

This IPA was dry hopped at 15g/l, it has a soft mouthfeel with a rounded bitter finish, but first and foremost loads of tropical juice flavours that punch you in the mouth like a pineapple shaped boxing glove. Naturally hazy from the onslaught of hops!

Brewed in collaboration with West Berkshire Brewery.

Another selection from the excellent Burghfield Santa’s Beer Takeaway service.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (4 / 5)

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Elusive – Plan B

Belgian Pale Ale  – 4.4% ABV

A Belgian-Style Pale Ale with Huell Melon, Vic Secret and Southern Cross hops. Clean and easy drinking with notes of melon and passion fruit.

Another selection from the excellent Burghfield Santa’s Beer Takeaway service.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling):  (4.3 / 5)

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UPDATE: Phantom Brewing – Ball Pit

Uber juicy and nicely hoppy an example of how a good NEIPA should be. Full of character with great aromas of peach, and a great finish.

HOPS: Idaho 7, Citra, Cryo Ekuanot

After the unofficial 5 star rating by Dave, back in June this beer sold-out and The Regulars were unable to validate the score. Phantom has at last brewed some more and fortunately we were able to purchase it draft from the innovative Burghfield Santa’s Beer Takeaway service.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (5 / 5)

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Delphic Brewing – Level Crossing & World’s End

In a forced change to The Harper Arms’ constitution standard protocol, the regulars have been set homework and this week sees a virtual double header tasting session!

One of our diligent members found a young garage-based local brewery in Thatcham. He got a little over-excited and ordered the regulars 2.5 Litres of both beers they currently produce (8-9 pints total). At an emergency committee meeting, it was determined that 9 pints on a week night was probably not a smart decision and so a vote was taken, ballots were correctly counted the first time, a result was declared, no legal battle ensued and the first piece of Harper Arms homework was thus set – to taste the weaker of the two ahead of Wednesday’s formal tasting session.

A traditional English Best Bitter with fruity, grassy and blackcurrant notes from UK grown Cascade hops. With a full-bodied malty backbone. Made from all English ingredients!

We’re not expecting the regulars to complain about being set homework with this delightful tipple, which currently has an average score on Untappd of 3.90.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (4 / 5)

Currently with an average score on Untappd of a very respectable 3.86 but with only 14 check-ins, World’s End is a Pale Ale brewed using a variety of different hops. UK grown Chinook teams up with US grown Amarillo and Citra for a cocktail of citrus fruit and resinous pine flavours. This mid-strength beer has a moderate bitterness and a soft orange hue from a little bit of Vienna malt in the mash.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (3.8 / 5)

Since the regulars made it known they were tasting Delphic, there has been a lot of local interest in the brewery, with them selling out of both beers last week! Have the Harper Arms regulars uncovered a new local gem of a brewery? Check the scores to find out!


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ON-TOUR: Double Barrelled Brewery

A planned visit to Double Barrelled Brewery didn’t go ahead due to the second lockdown. However, The Regulars did join with our friends from the Muddled Memories brewing cooperative for a virtual tasting. We tried

Parka – 4.5% ABV and Harpers Arms old favourite,

Physiological Needs – 5.4% ABV Pale Ale. Citra, Comet and Centennial hops.

Keith on Banjo – 6.5% ABV IPA. Dry hopped with Vic Secret and BRU-1,

Judith on Tambourine – 7.2% ABV IPA.  Big tropical nose from the Galaxy, Citra and Mosaic hops.

How often do they update the internet? – 7.3% ABV. West Coast IPA. A single Hop Showcase of Columbus

The common consensus was that it was a great selection of beers with Judith coming out on top and perhaps Physiological Needs could do with some refining.

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West Berkshire Brewery – Maharaja IPA

India Pale Ale 5.1% ABV

This is WBB’s full-bodied New World hopped jaw-dropper of an IPA with full on tropical fruit flavours, mouth-watering bitterness and a rich, earthy finish. Apparently it pairs well with sweet potato & cauliflower massaman curry – the regulars have usually eaten by tasting time, so we’ll have to leave that for another occasion. Maharaja’s last official outing at The Harper Arms was back in March 2018, since then the branding has been revised a couple of times and the recipe has been refined. Will the regulars mark it higher than its current 3.8/5 rating?

This should be a lovely warming pint to enjoy on an autumnal evening.

See Golden
Smell Floral, Fruity, Pine
Taste Resinous, Bitter, Tropical
Bitter 3 out of 5
Sweet 2 out of 5
ABV 5.1%

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (4 / 5)

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Binghams – Mabon

Hazy Autumnal Ale 5% ABV

Brewed over the Autumn Equinox, Mabon is a hazy pale with a full-bodied, spiced hop character. The celestial sister beer of our popular Summer Solstice brewed Litha, Mabon is the old English word for the Autumn Equinox and a Welsh earth-god. This loving crafted seasonal special is vegan friendly and has been perfectly cask conditioned for the best possible flavour.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling):  (3.8 / 5)

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UPDATE: Bays Brewery – Devon Dumpling

A strong golden beer with a fresh hop character. This ale has a smooth taste with a balanced sweetness throughout. Devonshire through and through!

Even better on draft

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (4 / 5)

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Siren Craft Brew – Twin Flames

6.5% Red IPA

The Harper Arms Regulars couldn’t resist the opportunity to compare nitro against classic carbonation for this Red IPA.

Our verdict will be announced shortly. Assuming that we can remember it after drinking these all evening…

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling):  

Classic (3.8 / 5)

Nitro (3 / 5)

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Stardust Brewery – Optic

Pale Ale 4.2% ABV

An aromatic hoppy pale ale. Capturing the full potential of the fruity American hop flavours, this beer is designed to slip down easily while packing in the best of the hop properties. A smooth mouth feel with tropical fruits on the nose.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (3.5 / 5)

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UPDATE: Double-Barrelled – Parka

Pale Ale 4.5% ABV

12g/L of Citra dry hopping gives you Citra’s vibrant citrus notes followed with an ever so slightly bitter finish, leaving you wanting more.

Parka is perfect for well balanced, sessionable drinking.

Rating upgraded to 4 on this second tasting!

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (4 / 5)

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Siren Craft Brew – Coldblooded

Cold-steeped Porter: 5% ABV.

A slight detour from the norm being the darkest beer yet to grace the Landl0rd’s key keg taps at The Harper Arms, Coldblooded is cold steeped overnight before the brew day, which gives a gorgeous chocolatey base. From there expect roasty notes layered amongst subtle smoke, coffee and dark chocolate. Coldblooded pours silky smooth and drinks with a satisfying richness. Un-chilled this is apparently perfect on a stormy night, so if it goes down well with the regulars, we may see it reappear when the weather changes.

Brewer’s ingredients
Untappd ratings

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (4 / 5)

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Phantom Brewing – Feeling This

American Pale Ale. 5% ABV.

Hopped with Columbus and Cascade, and then dry-hopped with Citra and Mosaic, this is a juicy pale complimented by the oats in the malt bill.

Harper Arms Rating (5=Tribute, 1=Carling): (4.5 / 5)

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It's all about the beer!