Thursday 31 October 2013

Too much eye of newt?

Pendle Witches Brew, from Moorhouse’s in Burnley, was one of the flagship beers of the early microbrewery revolution. Weighing in at a powerful 5.1% ABV, it was a dangerously drinkable strong pale ale of a type not seen before in Britain. Perhaps the beer closest in general style was Hall & Woodhouse Tanglefoot.

It’s not an especially hoppy beer in the modern IPA style, instead being relatively light-bodied with a balance of malt and hop, a slight honey note and a noticeable alcohol kick. It doesn’t tend to be stocked in the supermarkets I regularly visit but I often like to pick up a bottle when I do see it. So I was pleased to see in appearing at a very reasonable £1.50 a bottle as part of Morrison’s recent Halloween promotion.

However, the first bottle I had threw a distinct haze and didn’t taste quite right either. Thinking it might just be an unusual susceptibility to fridge chill, I just kept the second in a cool cupboard, but that was hazy too. Matthew Lawrenson of Seeing the Lizards fame has reported similar problems on Twitter.

So I sent a complaint off to Moorhouse’s and, to their credit, they sent me a tray of eight bottles. These had a later best before date and were just as good as I would have expected them to be. So, a beer well worth a try if you see it, but avoid bottles with a Best Before of July 2014.


  1. B&M have a range of Moorhouse Beers on at £1.49 a bottle. I went in and stocked up on black cat the other day.

  2. I've said this before, but it always annoys me that the Stockport branch of B&M doesn't have an alcohol licence due to an objection from Tesco.

  3. Hmm. Should have complained myself, but couldn't really be bothered over one bottle.

    Did Moorhouse's say what had gone wrong with the July 14 batch?

  4. I did actually have three bottles with the same fault, so as it is a beer I normally like I thought it would be worth bringing it to their attention.

    I know some might think I was just angling for free beer, but does that mean they don't believe you should ever complain about anything?

  5. before I comment, I am aware that this can happen to any beers. Recently the majority of off beers that I have had (3 out of the last 6) in the last 4 months) have been from Moorhouse's. When it's on form the beer is still very nice and I have been known to drink it fairly often. Due to the frequency of their off beers recently I have questioned whether they have had a problem.


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