Saint Botolph's Town | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

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301 Reviews
Saint Botolph's TownSaint Botolph's Town

Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States | website

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
SBT is fermented with two yeast strains for a unique rustic finish. But it’s in the yeast strains where this beer really departs from the typical: one is a German ale strain, the other is a common English strain. Why? Because it’s about the flavour, not just ticking the “style” boxes.

In the end we have an ale of 5.9% abv with a big malty, almost smokey Black Malt character, a bitter attack from Fuggle hops, a rich barleymalt finish, some dried coconut hints and an old ale acidity around the edges. We’ve even timed its tan head, standing proud for ten minutes!

The name “Saint Botolph’s Town” is in tribute to our great home in America: Boston. The original Boston in Lincolnshire, England is an abbreviation of “Botolph’s Town” or “Botolph’s Stone”. When we were back in Yorkshire recently, we found a churchyard where St. Botolph spoke in the year 675; a ‘stump’ (broken old cross) marks the spot. Saint Botolph is a 7th century saint from England whose feast day is June 17th. Perhaps a great day to save a bottle or two for!

38 IBU

Added by morebeergood on 02-12-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 301 | Ratings: 632
Photo of DirtybeerguyRI
4.95/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

APPEARANCE: This fine ale fills the glass with rich, deep mahogany brown. The head is more of a light caramel. Very pretty beer!

SMELL: You'll pick up on a lot of roasty malts with some mildly fruity (raisins perhaps?) notes. There's also a hint of chocolate in there, but this isn't a sweet beer. It's pleasantly understated.

TASTE: The dominant taste here is a smokey black malt combined with hints of an earthy, roasty sweetness. This is an incredibly well-balanced rustic dark ale. The finish is just a hair tart, which is a plus. I wouldn't call this a complex beer, but it does a lot of good things in one ale.

MOUTHFEEL: This is a very rich beer without being heavy. There's a mid-grade hoppiness, which provides a mild bite when it first hits your mouth. The loamy earthiness makes this the sort of beer that you'll want to savor with every sip.

DRINKABILITY: This is a fine session beer. All of the nicely integrated flavors make this a very accessible brew. For food pairings, St. Botolph's will go with a wide range of dishes and palates.

VERDICT: I've made my way through more than a few bottles of St. Botolph's Town. It's one of my favorite brews from one of my favorite brewers. I especially like its broad appeal. I've actually used St. Botolph's Town on a few occasions to introduce chronic Bud/Miller/Coors drinkers to the wonderful world of beers that taste like ... well ... something. If you see this on the shelf, buy bunches of it.

John Harvey

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.92/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received this bottle from dmeadows in my Birthday BIF box. Thanks Denis!

Bottled November 2010, Batch 8.

Poured into a MJ tasting glass. Pours a deep dark brown with reddish hightlights. Big yeasty tan head of about two fingers. Head is slow to drop.

Aromas of molasses, dark caramel malt. Raisins. Brown sugar. Brown malt. Reminds me of the aroma from my home roasted grains used in a porter, fresh out of the oven. Toasty.

Flavors of toasted malt, raisins, nuts, a little smoky, light roasted coffee, very complex. A lot going on here that all melds very well. Finish is long, with a roasted smokiness lingering.

Mouthfeel is medium, with a light roasted grain bitterness. Good level of carbonation.

Overall an excellent brew. One of the most complex brown ales I've ever had. So much going on that really clicks together. Very nice.

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Photo of mrquartetman
4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Poured into a Samuel Adams glass. Dark brown with a big and persistent creamy head that left lace on the glass.

S: Roasted malt aroma, grassy

T: Very malty, big English ale flavor, some sweetness, very hearty

M: Long flavor that morphs from sweet to deep coffee follow.

This beer is a surprise. I bought it because I'd tasted two of their beers a while back and had liked them; but I was really just guessing on what it would be like, memory of beer after tasting so many being what it is. It is an excellent, full-flavored beer, something I'm always looking for these days, having tired of the massive overhopping of American craft beers. This is a beer with a strong malt profile, more aggressive in its flavoring than most of the English ales it takes as its progenitors. Were I drinking it in a pub with lots of beers, I'd be ordering it over and over again.

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Photo of Zippie9999
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

-Had on tap at the Dirty truth in North Hampton, MA on 2/21/09.
A: Nice mellow brown appaerance. Definite mahogany notes w/ appearance.
S: malty, cherry, wants to be a flemish sour red without actually being one!
T: Sour cherries W/ a hint of molasses
M: smooth, creamy, with a feeling of wanting to be a sour flemish sour red
D: A very drinkable beer. Very hard to catagorize, but definitely one to toss into the mix when it comes to beer, wine and cheese parties!

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Photo of trooperp
4.79/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a English pint glass. This beer is very dark reddish brown with a nice moderate brown head.

This dark English ale was brewed in Massachusetts. It tastes incredibly malty and sweet. Moreover, I taste strong caramel, toffee, and hints of chocolate. A definite woodsy feel to this beer. I love this style of beer so I rated it higher than most. Pretty Things Brewery took great care and attention to detail in creating an authentic, highly drinkable, and extremely satisfying dark ale. This has become my Go-To beer... I ALWAYS have a case of this beer on-hand in my cellar.

I HIGHLY recommend it!

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Photo of glib
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has rapidly become one of my favorite beers. It has a powerful, but not overwhelming malty taste, and a very clean finish. There is not a lot of competition between hoppy and malty tastes, so each flavor can be savored separately. An extremely fine and drinkable beer.

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Photo of j37geogaddi
4.68/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer pours a dark chocolate brown with good amount of tan head which soon dissapears.

Smell is very much dominated by burnt cocoa and distant, faint hops.

Tastes chocolatey and malty for sure but there is a hop balance. Fruit flavors round out the experience, as this is one of the most interesting brown ales I've ever tried.

Mouthfeel is lightly chewy and it is well carbonated.

This beer is very drinkable and isn't insanely high in ABV so the bomber is going to be very easy to finish for sure.

It's a tasty beer no doubt and I would say is a more complex version of Dogfish Head IBA. Very good beer.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.67/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle bought online from

Poured a deep mahogany brown colour. Nice creamy tan head poured very tight, thick and foamy then faded slowly to nice thin smooth coating... light carbonation... some decent sticky lacing...

Aroma - Lots of roasted nuttiness mixed with caramel malts, brown sugar and treacle, some cardboard / earthy hints, dark fruits (figs and prunes), musty traces, toasted bread, light butterscotch notes, light coffee hints...

Taste is exactly as a brown ale should be in my opinion... deep rich roasted nutty sweetness, lots of chocolate and caramel malts, molasses, toasted bread, just the slightest hint of smoke / tobacco, faint metallic notes, nice peppery / grassy hops cut through the maltiness, fig and raisin fruitiness...

Feel - Smooth and creamy... Medium / full bodied... Extremely drinkable...

Overall - A superb example of a brown ale... very well balanced and drinkable... definitely recommended...

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
4.66/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A light, clean, malty odor floats up from this nicely-turbid medium-brown ale. Saint Botolph's has a rustic character indeed, with sharp, very-slightly sour notes effervescing above the rich sweetness of the malt. I've had darker browns, but perhaps not truer; the roasting is exquisite and not at all overdone, like some browns, nor is it overly rich or sweet or in any other sense trying too hard to hit the "brown" mark. I'm a fan of this style, and this crisp, clean, softly piquant offering is one of the best iterations I've tried. The only downside is it isn't sold in six-packs.

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Photo of dar482
4.64/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a dark brown color with a big tan head.

The aroma has a huge punch of bittersweet chocolate as well as roasty malt, bready sweetness, caramel, toffee, some nuttiness.

The flavor follows with again a good amount of sweet chocolate, some caramel and toffee notes. There's a good amount of sticky sweetness, but then it cleans up on this drying bitterness. The strong earthy hops on the end really clean up the beer well.

Easily one of the best brown ales I've had. Definitely the best example of the beer I've had.

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Photo of tronester
4.64/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Rattle an Hum in Manhattan.

Served cool in a 16oz pint glass. Hazy reddish brown in color with a very small tan head. Smell was of an English yeast strain and a hint of chocolate. Taste was velvety smooth toasted malt flavor, with a ripe fruit middle and finish. Hint of earthy hops in the finish. Mouthfeel was super rich and smooth, very low carbonation. Excellent drinkability, an excellent beer to have on cask, even though it was slighty cloudy with yeast.

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Photo of Freshie
4.62/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

If the line for Pretty Things at the most recent ACBF is any indication, which was only beat by DFH, then you all must run out and sample these tasty brews for yourself.

There is a lot of heart and soul put into the brewing of these beers and you can tell.

This one is probably my favorite thus far, with Baby Tree coming in a close second.

Pours a dark and deep caramel brown, with slight hues of amber. Head is creamy brown with great cascading lace.

The smell is just perfect, with lush complexities. Strong wafts of cocoa, coffee, and raisin or another dark fruit, maybe currant.

Making a beer be both spicy and sweet at the same time and in balance is hard but Pretty Things accomplishes this. You are first hit with a sweet malt flavor with hints of chocolate maybe a bit of fresh bread or oats. Then a spicy clove emerges on the back end, and finishes clean on the palate with a touch smoke. It all combines and makes this one a very earthy and refreshing ale.

Probably the most complex brown ale I have ever had, but o so good.


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Photo of ritzkiss
4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle picked up at Cook St Liquor in Victoria, pours a ruddy brown with a lovely creamy head, leaves rings down the glass.

This is a delightfully complex beer. Earthy tones meld with cocoa powder, dark fruit sweetness, a hint of citrus hops in the finish, wood and nuts, hint of licorice. Biscuity malt, brown bread, almost as blend of brown ales and Belgian darks. Highly drinkable, smooth mouthfeel with just a prick of bubbles to kick it up a notch. Really the top tier in browns.

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Photo of QuarterHorse
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a nice chestnut brown with a fluffy tan head.

The smell is very pleasant... English malts, sweet caramel, some dark fruits and a hint of chocolate.

A light to medium mouthfeel gives way to caramel, dark cherry tobacco notes, and a nice roasted char that lingers a bit on the palate. The finish is fairly dry.

This is a really nice English style brown ale. For the style, there isn't much better offered in the states. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of Liverpool08
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So far my favorite from Pretty Things. A really nice dark brown malty colored brew. Smell of sweet malt and nuts. Flavor is very creamy and smooth. Little bit of brown sugar, hazelnuts and a hint of milk chocolate. A super creamy mix of malt and nuts. Yummy. A great example of the style. I could drink these all night!

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

(bottled in Oct '11, drank Nov '13)

A: nice, fairly dense, tight-frothy tan head.... clear, deep dark chestnut hue.... high foam on the pour, settled into 1/4" blanket that kept for a few minutes, eventually leaving a wispy collar, however, not much lace... small amount of compact flecks of sediment

S: complex fruity nose - black currant? blackberry?.... chocolaty/bread crust-forward, moderate toasted bread, touch of grassy grain.... quite potent aromas, lovely, and fairly English in character

T: lovely , unique malt flavor - the fruitiness seems toned down in favor of it.... later, the (fruity) esters do emerge and come off as bit much... coffee, hazelnut, bakers cocoa, brown sugar.... the finish has a toasty-bitter, melanoidin-ful, cherry cookie quality, fairly long through... overall, not that sweet and likely devoid of hop nuance

M: only a hint of roundness up front, but ultimately clean and a good bit dry, moreish to the palate... can't quite pinpoint the origin of a slight residual gummy sensation in the finish, similar to that of chewing wheat malt, however not nearly as pronounced

O: explosive, somewhat complex (English) flavors.... I really enjoyed this, whatever style it may be

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with one finger of tan head head. Good lacing as well.

Rich toasted malt, breadiness, toffee and a bit of chocolate in the aroma. Pretty sweet smell.

Taste is completely different than aroma. Lots of heavy chocolate up front. Earthy hop bitterness and toast/toffee are prominent on the back end. Good amount of bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel with medium-low carbonation.

One of the best non-bal browns I've had. After the aroma was afraid this would be a malt bomb, but it's very well balanced and not overly sweet. Will definitely be seeking this one out again.

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Photo of mjrod2142
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer with Sunday brunch and I loved it. I'm disappointed that I didn't keep better notes, as it's been a while and my memory of the details has faded.

The beer was poured by the bartender into a red wine glass, which I found very interesting. The color was rich and dark brown. The head was small and slightly bubbly.

This beer has a delicious nut brown flavor. It wasn't hoppy or over done. Just a classic nut brown that I haven't been able to find lately. I picked up a hint of chocolate on the finish.

This is very drinkable brown ale that I'm looking forward to having again.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle purchased at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Batch 2, bottled April 2009 sayeth the cap tape.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" light brown head over the slightly cloudy reddish brown brew. Frothy head recedes slowly, with heavy coating lace. Aroma is sweet and lightly chocolatey. Taste is rich grain character from beginning to end, overwritten with nutty chocolate and complementary hops. Mouthfeel is soft, smooth, low carbonation in a good way, with drinkability oh-so easy. Let it warm a touch out of the fridge, and you've pretty much got a cask-like experience. Yay!

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Photo of greg33027
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Randomly grabbed so wasn't prepared to do a full review but it was so good I had to put something down.

Great Brown Ale; Smooth, sweet at times, hoppy, balanced. Looks dark and seems like it should be heavier but it is very easy to drink. Up there with DFH Brown and Smuttynose for me. I'll be grabbing this again soon.

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Photo of maputnam25
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Solid beer. Aroma contains hints of fall leaves, oak bark, and burnt sugar. Think syrupy mouthfeel withs notes of chocolate, molasses, winter squash, oak. Slight astringency at the end. Currently on tap at Clover in Harvard Sq - will be returning for more!

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Photo of Bounty628
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St. Botolph's Town comes in bomber bottles and has an ABV of 5.7% which makes this beer a great offering to wind down the end of a long day with.

Upon pour, a rich milk chocolate brown color fills the glass and a tan head gracefully waltzes its way to the top of the pint glass. There does not seem to be a ton of carbonation within the pour but the color is the real winner in the pour. The visual appearance alone leads one to believe that this English brown is going to be a dynamite offering with a visual thickness recognized in the pint glass.

The smell is jam packed with some of the richest roasted malt and caramel notes than I can recall noticing in quite some time. There are hints of cinnamon and nutmeg in the nose that at times pairs nicely with a dark chocolate undertone. The nose of this brown ale is quite remarkable and ultimately gives the drinker an impression that the taste is going to be jam packed with flavor.

The quality of a good beer obviously relies heavily upon what is exhibited in the taste. One can rest assured that the taste the comes out of the St. Botolph's Town bomber is so amazing that you will be running back to your local package store of choice to grab an armful of more bombers. Immediately there is an emphasis on the roasted malts that give this beer its deepest base. Those roasted malts are ideally balanced and do not exhibit any over roasting or burnt qualities and with the quality malts meeting up with the right amount of caramel tastes, as well. There is a great relationship at work here in the taste and the cinnamon that was in the nose seems to slip on through in the taste, as well. The taste weighs the balance between roasted malts and sweet caramel ideally and the end product is one of the top brown ale tastes around.

The mouthfeel exhibited within St. Botolph's Town features the same top quality all other aspects of the beer carries. Pretty Things crafted this brown ale nicely and ensured that the mouthfeel fell somewhere a little bit more robust than most brown ales but not as heavy as say a smoked porter or a stout. There is a really whole beer mouthfeel to this ale in the sense that what you can tell just by the mouthfeel alone is that the entire bottle and all that has gone into making this ale is nothing short of brilliant.

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Photo of Walken
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project: St. Botolph's Town (Bottled: May 2010) (Tasted 07/04/10)
22 oz. bottle, poured into a cervoise goblet.

Appearance: Very dark brown beer, capped with a glorious brown head, speckled with bubbles. Monstrous retention and lace.
Odor: Full force yeasty nut character, backed by subtle fruity notes and a big whiff of lightly toasted rich brown bread.
Consistency: On the light end of medium body with an aggressive but fine carbonation that lifts the flavors into view without scrubbing the palate entirely.
Taste: Dry, nuttiness up front, baker's chocolate comes on next with a fruity alcohol character in the mix. Balance comes in the form of a roasted bitterness that runs alongside the chocolate flavors, flourishing in the finish, lingering with that same dry nutty flavor.

This is definitely a mashup, English brown + old ale, and it captures the hallmarks of either style perfectly. Stylistic nonsense aside, this is a well-envisioned recipe that is also brewed well, with a kind of voodoo magic that few can fathom. The flavors are intense and well-integrated, everything about this beer screams excellence to me.

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Photo of Augustiner719
4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Portsmouth tulip glass.

Pours a very pretty deep rich brown with red highlights. It's got some haze to it and really looks classic to the style. Really dark body yields a light brown fluffy 2finer head that is thick and rich. Really looks like a dubbel to me. Nice lacing. The aroma is very nice also with sweet malts, toffee, caramel and hazelnuts up front. A fruity ester takes over on the back end and lightens this beer up nicely. The taste is near perfect. Iconic to the style, this has the body of a Belgian dubbel and the flavors of a really nice American brown ale. Rich roasted malts, a touch of coffee and toasted almonds and hazlenuts on the palate. Has a real buttery finish that coats the palate nicely. Mouthfeel is very full bodied, a real food friendly beer. Nice on a cool night and will definitely be making another appearance in my fridge. Really love the the alcohol is restrained on this one. Would love to finish this bomber and maybe another by myself. Highly drinkable and worth seeking out.

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Photo of Cabadrin
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this from the third batch, bottled August 2009. Picked it up at Whole Foods near work, in Westwood, MA. This was the first time I had seen this brewery, so I'm checking it out to see if it'll be come a regular. Poured out of a bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: This is a dark beer. No light shines through except right near the edge, where it becomes just slightly dark. The head rises to about a finger's height, then drops down to a thin coating across the top. The foam provides a nice lace as it drops down the glass.

Smell: A nice malty smell, but not very strong except for the first sniff. This contributes to the drinkability later on - you don't get a nose of alcohol like some other, stronger ales.

Taste: malt, some molasses, and a bit of vanilla. Definitely something roasted here. Aftertaste is dark and roasted.

Mouth: Nice and bitter, but it doesn't hurt your tastebuds. Great and easy to drink.

Drinkability: Fantastic ale to drink, definitely felt a little of it after the whole bottle, but it went down real smooth. I think the lower alcohol content contributes to this being really easy to drink.

It'd recommend this with darker meat and root veggies, this is definitely a good dinner beer.

Overall, I'm impressed with this ale. Definitely looking forward to picking up a few more bottles next time I head to Whole Foods for lunch.

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Saint Botolph's Town from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
90 out of 100 based on 301 ratings.
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