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From: Shepherd Neame

1698, a premium bottle-conditioned ale from Shepherd Neame, is brewed from Kentish pale ale malt. The name refers to the year the brewer began brewing in Faversham.

Price: £1.75 for 50cl.

Total score: 46/50

Consumer’s verdict

Peter Eardley, IT Consultant, 37, Midhurst, West Sussex

This ale has a very good presentation and looks like it will be well worth the £1.75 pricetag.

The gold finish on the labelling makes it stand out and also gives it a very premium feel.

The label carries a lot of information about the product and company, which I found very interesting and a ‘good read’.

It has a pleasant aroma, which makes me eager to taste it. When poured, it has a very rich golden colour, exactly what you would expect this kind of tipple to look like.

It does not let you down when it comes to taste. It is a very pleasant drink and you can taste the toffee and butter flavours.

This is a good product, which I would not hesitate to buy again.

Score: 23/25

Buyer’s verdict

andrew hargreaves, trading controller, off-licence, landmark

A special ale from a special place - so it states on the bottle! And this is a truly delicious strong ale - 6.5% - that is ‘bottle conditioned’, meaning that the product is still evolving in the bottle; hence the sediment residue.

Malty, buttery, with toffee overtones, this is a product that performs well and is a delight for the traditional ale enthusiast.

The newcomer is not a session beer, but one to be savoured at leisure, and will no doubt be priced accordingly.

The only negative point that I can think of would be the absence of detail on the bottle as to ‘bottle conditioned,’ so as to explain and entice possible purchasers to the benefits of the final product.

Score: 23/25