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There are some breweries whose rise to prominence are a source of irritation (Innis and Gunn, anyone?) but we really wouldn’t mind if every pub in the country was selling Thornbridge. That’s just as well, because it seems to be getting that way.

In recent weeks, we’ve had the opportunity to try a whole lot of Thornbridge’s beers. In this post, though, we’re going to highlight one that works briliantly and one that really doesn’t.

First up, the success story. Exposed is a stout brewed with pink peppercorns and strawberry. It sounds gorgeous even just from the description on the bright red and pink pump clip. For starters, it’s a good solid stout. With nothing else done to it, it would be a winner. The subtle addition of exotic flavours, however, makes it something really special. If we hadn’t known, we wouldn’t have been able to name those additives, but they were certainly there providing beguiling, tantalising hints of their presence in a tingle on the tongue here and a raspberry/cider sourness there. This reminded us of a Belgian beer, only Thornbridge have got the recipe bang on, first try, rather than needing 200 years of experimentation to get the spicing sorted.

Then, sadly, on to a beer which didn’t work as well. Halcyon is a 7.7% strong IPA made with green hops. Sounds exciting, right? It certainly smelled incredible — exactly like sticking your nose into a foil packet of hops when home brewing. Sadly, it tasted like sugar syrup laced with hop tea, astringent and overbearing.

We guess the latter is the price you pay for successful experiments like the former.