Marstons: Pedigree (England: ESB: 5% ABV)

Visual: Mahogany to honey. Decent whitish froth of bubbles of a head. Moderate carbonation made up of very small bubbles.

Nose: Honey. Mellow British hops. Grapes.

Body: Honey. Bitter and sweet mixes. Slick texture. Lots of the clingy British hops in evidence. Dough. Golden syrup. Slight fizz mid body. Light peanuts on the middle as well,

Finish: Slick, like honey spread over your tongue. Hop oil and bitterness. The bitterness is the longest lasting element, solid but not overpowering. Peanuts.

Conclusion: Marstons can often be peoples first exposure to non crap beer.  It used to have a red and white colour scheme, maybe attempting to gain popularity my matching the English flag.  Any which way, it is a solid red these days so I can’t take the piss if it was.

Martson main appeal I feel tends to come from its very slick and quite thick texture, which tends to be backed by a solid bitterness.  Revisiting Pedigree I find the remembered texture still very much in evidence, it’s a thick sheen over your tongue that holds on well, Similarly the mix of the traditional Fuggle and Golding hops style is unmistakable, it has what I would think of a stereotypically British hop character; Thick and slightly heavy, with a clinging touch.

In fact this is what often is thought of as a hop characteristic for a casual drinker in Britain due to its prevalence in the more popular ales.  Oft people are unaware of the more showy hop varieties available elsewhere.  It’s a pity as these hops provide solid bitterness but not much pizzazz. Because of this it is quite hard to get excited about a beer that has it as its main characteristic.  The telling weight and thickness of the brewery are put to better use in some of their other beers.

This, their mainstay is somewhat dull. It does however carry nice grape and honey sweetness alongside the hops. A memorable beer for where it stands in my drinking history but not a special beer.

Background: Marstons is a popular brewer with a lot of my friends, with the term “A Marstons Moment” being used to refer to a gathering where Marstons is served.   They have always been a good stand by I’ve found, if not in the top league. Their Owd Rodger however is a thing of beauty by my recollection. May have to add it to my list of things to review one day. This beer was drunk with the family over Christmas, hence the odd choice of glass which was pretty much all they had.