Courage Directors Superior Ale

Total Score: 6.5/10 Caramel1 DarkFruits1 Nut1 Nonicpint1

I’m actually surprised I hadn’t gotten to this sooner what with me being an amateur film Director and what not [excluding both ‘what’ and ‘not’]. Plus with my penchant for English Bitters being quite strong I can only chalk this up to a sizeable slip under the old beerdar. Anyway it is here and pre-review warming up to room temp as we speak. Before I begin I must add that this is a bit on the heavy side for a Bitter at a lofty 4.8% ABV, and Wells & Young’s track record for me has been hit-and-miss with their Courage Russian Imperial Stout being their high water mark IMO, so who knows where Directors will end up.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Clear copper body with a light splotchy thin beige head on top – about as English Bitter as old English pies with a pint of English Bitter beside it and a side of English Bitter sauce to go with the pie. 8/10.

S: Toffee malt, earthy/nutty notes, hints of dark fruit – raisin, plum, with a veneer of herbal hops in the background… overall this Bitter smells like a bit of excitement compared to the namby-pamby lightweight 4.4% Bitters out there, expecting some explosive not-your-average-day-in-the-pub-watching-football-which-is-called-soccer-elsewhere-in-the-world-to-differentiate-it-from-other-forms-of-ball-sports action here. 8/10.

T: Wow, what a let-down… the flavour is a shadow of the above aromas… it’s not explosive action, just a muted Bitter at best. I’ve had plenty of Bitters that would blow this out of the water flavourwise – several of which weigh in at 4.4% ABV. This is a disappointingly light where-it-counts English Bitter… at least the flavours are as expected from the aroma (toffee/earthy/nutty/raisin/plum) with a slight sour/bitter finish, but otherwise this brew warrants my giant beige stamp of ‘MEH!’. 6/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with some playful carbonation that does nothing to damper that classic English pub vibe. 8/10.

D: Well Courage Directors Superior Ale really drops the ball when it counts in the flavour department and totally misses out on a near flawless try/goal [as long as we’re going along with the footy theme here]. Here is a list of better Bitters for you to try instead of this average drop: Ruddles County, Brakspear Bitter, St. Peter’s Ruby Red Ale and Adnams Bitter – tell me you still prefer Courage after trying these finer brews. 5/10.

Food match: Chicken pot pie with a side of mash, peas, carrots and gravy.

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