Marks & Spencer – Battersea Rye (by Sambrooks Brewery) #alelog

posted on May 4th, 2015 by Anthony

The second of my first collection of beers from the new range from Marks (Camden’s Pale Ale was the first).

This time it’s one Marks’ ‘own’ beers. I say ‘own’ because it’s not that they physically brew the beer, they just buy it from another brewery and repackage it for themselves. It’s pretty standard practice among supermarkets. Sometimes the beer is a straight up relabelling, sometimes the name is tweaked, sometimes no trace of the original is ever to be found.

In this case M&S taken a readily available beer, repackaged it, and given it a national platform in their shops.

Battersea Rye is actually brewed by Sambrooks, a brewery I have never come across before. They’ve been around since 2008 so I’m assuming they’ve mainly stuck to supplying their local London market.

I was drawn to the Battersea because of the Rye part. Mainly because I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I got going on this #alelog stuff I made the decision early on to try and not get too beery about things. I’ve consciously tried to avoid researching too much into how things are brewed, what should do what, what x should taste like etc etc. I’ve wanted to try and work all that stuff out for myself, and treat each beer with as few expectations as possible. That’s why I post stuff on Instagram and not Untappd.

So, going into this bottle, I wasn’t entirely sure what the rye element was supposed to bring to the table. This is what I had to say for the #alelog:

This has a nice earthiness to it, which I’m assuming comes from the rye. A bit to rough around the edges, but overall pretty good.

That was definitely the overiding flavour – earthiness. I like that element. It’s a sort of lighter stout vibe, not the roasted flavours, but a more robust taste than classic malts. It’s rye that apparently goes in to American Red style beers that I’ve been fond of in the past. Alas, apart from the rye, the rest of the Battersea Rye experience left me wanting a little bit more. I wanted some of the edges to be knocked off the taste a bit. If that makes sense? It was a bit too rough, and would have really been improved with a slightly creamier hint to it, especially at the finish.

It’s a decent drink, but quite a bit short of being something to track down and try. There are plenty of other new beers to try in Marks’ new range before I would go back for another serving of Battersea Rye.

Though I do now know I like the rye element in my beer, and I’ll be looking for other examples in the future.