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Classic Beer of the Month November 2013: Woodforde's Wherry

Woodforde's Wherry, 3.8%

Woodforde's has proved to be one of the most successful and durable of the hardy band of British breweries that began operations in the 1980s.

Woodforde's WherryFounded in 1981 at Drayton, near Norwich – at the time a beer desert – and named after a 19th-century parson, who liked to brew, it has since changed ownership and has been firmly established in the village of Woodbastwick since 1989.

At the front of the ever-expanding brewery stands its tap, the attractive and spacious Fur & Feathers. But Woodforde's beers are available throughout East Anglia and further afield, especially Wherry, the very quaffable bitter that was the first beer the company ever produced.

The name Wherry is borrowed from a small, shallow-hulled sail boat traditionally used for cargo and passenger transport on the expansive Norfolk Broads. It features on the pump clip.

The beer is brewed using Maris Otter pale malt, darkened by a little crystal malt. The hops employed are Savinjski Golding and Golding.

It pours a lucid orange-amber colour, gentle orange zest and grapefruit notes billowing from the glass in the otherwise softly floral, peppery aroma.

Refreshment and Quaffability

In a beer of only 3.8%, you want refreshment and quaffability and Wherry delivers both in abundance, making it one of the most popular session beers in the country.

But it does so not at the expense of flavour as grapefruit and orange burst onto the tongue, although the citrus notes, while juicy and luscious, are not as aggressive or intense as in many beers – particularly those featuring American hops.

Here the Old World delivers hop character without brashness, building a dryness and bitterness in the taste that linger long in the floral, tangy finish.

If you can't find Wherry in the cask form that earned it the award of CAMRA's Champion Beer of Britain in 1996 (the second Woodforde's beer to receive the accolade, after Norfolk Nog in 1992), the bottle-conditioned version is a very fine fallback.

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