I’ve bought this off and on for years in this season and it never fails to disappoint: rather dull, “neutral” in taste, despite the advertised “whole-dried Fuggle and Golding hops”. Not sure what whole-dried means, flowers vs. pelletized hops, perhaps. It’s pleasant enough, reminds me of a 1980’s-era English pale ale (bottled), but that’s about it.
Compared, say, to Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale or any craft beer, English or American, of similar style, it just doesn’t make the grade, IMO of course.
I think the reason is the pasteurization of the beer and relatively modest use of the (fine) hops mentioned. I don’t know why they don’t sell this bottle-conditioned and double the amount of the hops: that would be a great beer.
I never really enjoyed Samuel Smith’s beers, even the cask – unpasteurized real ale – versions in England. They always seemed rather pallid in taste.
The great and shining exception is Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout, the one beer in the line you rarely see in Ontario. 🙁
Oh well, England has made so many great contributions to the brewing arts, past and present, one can’t tarry over the ones that are just middling.