Charles Wells brew in Bedfordshire, a little to the north of London.
They were founded in 1878, and are best known for their flagship brew ‘Bombardier’ – marketed as ‘The Drink of England’.
They also now brew a number of beers that would have fallen by the wayside, including brews by McEwans, Wm. Youngers, Youngs and Courage, all great brewing names, sadly now gone, but for Charles Wells.
They also brewed Mongoose Lager, which I greatly enjoyed, but I’ve not seen it for a while, and it’s dropped off their website. Sad.
DNA is their entry into the ‘American IPA’ arena, brewed jointly with Delaware’s ‘Dogfish Head’ brewery. Charles Wells claim “we’ve taken the very DNA of one beer and added it to the brewing process of another. As a result, we’ve produced a beer that is unique and diverse and a little bit special.”
We shall see.
It pours a deep Amber colour with a fulsome head that dissipates rapidly.
The nose is citrussy, American hops to the fore, but not that many of them.
This is not going well.
The flavour is, frankly, disappointing, there’s some hops to the fore, but again, not many.
This professes to be a ’60 minute’ IPA, which means the mash has been boiled for a full hour with hops being added continually. That’s the Dogfish input; according to Tim Sprake of Charles Wells – “Rather than simply mashing new ingredients together, we’ve taken a special reduction from 60 Minute IPA and integrated it into our own brewing process.”
Another, well respected, beer blog describes (here) this as a ‘car crash‘ and describes the ‘special reduction’ as “IPA concentrate shipped to the UK and watered down in Bedfordshire.”
It’s hard to describe how disappointed I was with this brew. On the whole I like Charles Wells brews, even if they’re not well regarded widely. And I like American IPAs/APAs. This was just average, not bad enough to pour away, not good enough to open a second.
Using our patented Beer Scoring system, I’m going to give this just two stars, it could have been so much more.
I tried this on a sunny Sunday afternoon, having finished cutting the lawn. I was so disappointed I had to reach for a bottle of Marston’s rather excellent ‘New World IPA‘.