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

301 Reviews
Saint Botolph's TownSaint Botolph's Town

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

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 angusdegraosta
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep chestnut brown. Very nice head and lacing. The mild and pleasant toasty raisin smell leads nicely to the first sip and becomes more noticeable thereafter. If malt can be described as nectar, this comes close - not so much because it is thick or too sweet, but because the sweetness is so well integrated with the aroma. So are the yeasts, the herbal hops, the roasted flavors. This is a remarkable brown ale. Though it is bitter, this is a textbook example, for me at least, of how elegantly bitter flavors can be integrated into the overall picture. Amazing.

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Photo of Prince_Casual
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber poured into a "softball sized" snifter.

Backstory: in MA for my sister's college graduation, she said Pretty Things was a good local brewery. Figured her friends were dumb (she's not a beer geek at all), but the bombers were cheap and I was bored so I picked up a mixed case and brought them back to good old Northern VA. Fired up the old beer advocate and saw these have hot reviews... so here we go....

I don't usually care for Brown Ales, as they are generally pretty boring. This one actually smells great. Sure it's not blowing my mind, but "for the style" it's as good as I've sniffed. Tasting it continues to please. Great amount of carbonation, refreshing and nice "dark beer" notes aka coffee/roasty flavors.

Definitely worth trying if you see it, even if you aren't enamored with the style.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served on-tap at LTK (Legal Test Kitchen) Bar and Kitchen in Boston, MA

A: Pours a clear dark amber in color with moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some ruby red highlights. The beer has a half finger tall beige head that reduces to a large patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted malts and caramel malts along with some lighter hints of cocoa, brown sugar, nuts, and just a hint of smokiness.

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of toasted and caramel malts with a light to moderate amount of sweetness. That is followed by the hints of cocoa and brown sugar. Overall there is a light amount of nuttiness and smoke. Very light amounts of earthy hops give the beer some balance.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This beer is very easy to drink and quite sessionable - in fact, everyone at the table enjoyed it and most people ordered a second glass with lunch.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a hearty, dark brownish color with minimal head but some decent lace that stuck around. Picking up slight hops in the aroma along with roasted and bready malts, touches of something like dark chocolate, caramel and maybe something burnt and/or toffeeish (not real specific, I know). Thicker, fuller-bodied than most browns, smooth and goes down easy, I enjoyed this beer but it was just a tad off for me. The sweetness from the beer seems to derive from dark chocolate, caramel, toffee, and yeast and is balanced with not only a larger-than-normal earty hoppiness but roasted, toasted, possibly burnt malts and a cracker-like dry breadiness that almost creates a chewey sensation. Unfortunately, as I slowly sipped the beer and it warmed, the taste (I won't say the ABV b/c it is not even at 6) seemed to go towards the dryer parts of this beer and the smoothness dipped a little, so basically the beer became dry and husky and the sweetness and the touch of hops subdued. A good beer but not my personal favorite for this style.

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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 oline73
3.89/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours a dark brown color with a hint of red. Small amount of head. Smell is a fruity caramel malt, but not overly sweet. A fruity brown ale. Bit nutty with a bitter finish. The bitterness is on the intense side. Just a touch of toffee.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz botle into tulip. Nice chestnut brown color with a bit of off white head. Great toffee and sweet malt aromas. Taste is sweet english style malts, toffee, and a bit of honey. Really easy to drink, and has a nice balance of sweet malts to noble hop. Really nice.

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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 AgentMunky
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a goblet. Bottled August 2012.

A: Light head, translucent ruby-brown.

S: Smells very English. Metallic malts have a light caramel scent. Lightly roasted bitterness.

T: Mmm! This is a great beer! Ric h, nutty, malty, bitter, roasted, tasty. Finish is fruity and dry. Hops are interwoven throughout the beer.

M: Carbonated, light, interesting, and spicy.

O: Great brown ale! Highly recommended, and would have again. One of the best browns I've encountered.

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Photo of Maxwell
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a beautiful caramel brown like a light roast coffee with a light creamy head that sits at a sticky half of a finger’s width and leaves a thin sticky wall of spatterwork lacing. The beers body is dark but seems clean, and there are lots of bubbles coming up the sides from carbonation. The beer smells richly malty with a nice lactic souring to the back of the smell. The nose is reminiscent of brown sugar and dark fruits or craizens (cranberry raisins). There are faint roasty notes, but the lactic sour overpowers them swiftly and is a little off-putting. The beer tastes wonderfully roasty and nutty with notes of brown sugar and biscuity malts. The tastes begins with faint lactic sours and then opens up into big roasted nut flavors before closing back to roasted burn with hints of lactic sugars, like in a milk stout. I am, of course, aware that these aren’t really lactic sugars or sours that I taste, but that is the best I can do to describe them, so bare with me. The sour gives hints towards slight pear, raisin, and apple flavoring before it is burnt away. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, kissing the tongue with barely any hint of prickly carbonation, and only a smooth blanket of chewy beer. The tongue is left quite dry and slightly burnt as the beer leaves, which definitely encourages more liquid to calm it down. There is also a slight tea astringency/tightness to the tongue reminiscent of hops bitters, but different and slightly earthy. Overall this is a tremendously odd ale that perfectly defies definition in true Pretty Things style. It is a delightful sipper, weighing in just above a session ale, but goes down nicely. Another great beer from Pretty Things, and worthy of a sip, though I liked Collaboration #3 with Boulevard Brewing more in terms of similar beers.

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Photo of hagbergl
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed a pint of Pretty Things' Brown Ale, Saint Botolph's Town, at Cambridge-area beer bar Lord Hobo (great place to have drinks!). St. Botolph's Town came in a Pretty Things goblet (generous pour). Review is from notes.

Appearance (4/5): Saint Botolph's Town is–surprise, surprise–a dark brown colored ale. It is topped by a one-finger head of creamy beige foam. It features some nice ruby highlights when held up to the light and lots of sticky, soapy lacing shows on the sides of the glass as you drink.

Smell (4.5/5): SBT's nose is characterized by great brown ale notes: quite nutty, a little roasty, and malty, you'd know instantly in a blind taste test that this baby's a brown. It has an earthy edge to it that I find quite nice. Some dark bread notes can be detected as well. A little musty–and not in a bad way. This is one fine smelling brown. Lots of character!

Taste (4/5): SBT's flavor follows the nose. This beer is pretty much a malt fest from the get-go, though herbal noble hops do an admirable job of balancing and drying this one out in the finish. It is quite an earthy beer and it displays a relatively complex flavor profile (relative to many browns) in which nutty, roasty, grainy, and bready notes come out. Rich, rustic, deep–three words that describe SBT's taste very well. I would have liked this brown to be a tad bit sweeter, but can't say that this is a major sticking point.

Mouthfeel (4.5/5): Saint Botolph's Town features a full, creamy body, medium carbonation, and an exceptionally dry, bitter finish. This last quality is what, in my mind, makes SBT stand out among the crowd. Drinkability is high– the dry, bitter finish brings a quenching quality to the beer that one might think strange in a beer this dark, roasty, and full-bodied.

Overall (4/5): Pretty Things' Saint Botolph's Town is a solid brown ale, one that I think is pretty unique in its hoppy dryness and rustic earthy tones. While I favor Dogfish Head's Indian Brown, this is also a very good American interpretation of a traditional English style. Perhaps not the best Pretty Things beer, but a good choice as the seasons change and the cool fall air settles in.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a 22oz bottle poured into a duvel glass.

A: pours a dark, nutty brown with a little less then a finger of slightly browned head.... Some spots of lacing. Looks yummy.

S: bready brown sugar, hints of dark fruit, raisins, toasty grains, smells kinda like dark toasted raisin bread with a touch of briwn sugar sweetness.

T: much like the nose, bready toasted brown sugar, a bit if raisin, everything is beautifully well balanced and loads of flavor for 5 percent alcohol. As the beer warm a bit of chocolate starts Tom one out and some earthy bittering hops.

M; lush and creamy medium body with medium carbonation.... Dry finish with a touch of bitterness.

O: this was really yumy, nothing over the top, just very well balanced and all around delicious. I will deffinatly be drinking this one again and again.

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Photo of cpolking
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a very dark brown, dark mahogany, touch of ruby when held to the light. Pouring as the bottle directs leaves a massive light brown head, thick, creamy, foamy, and ragged from the settling and pouring alternation.

The aroma is malty, sweet, creamy, chocolate, mocha, sugar, coffee liqueur, hazelnut.

The taste is smooth, creamy, sweet, dark roasted, chocolaty, coffee, a hint of liqueur. There is enough hop bitterness on the finish to keep this from ending too sweet, it holds all the sweet flavors in check.

In fact, the finish is quite bitter and even becomes dry. This drinks, really, like a coffee-chocolate liqueur with a hint of the creaminess of Bailey's. As much like a liqueur as a beer, but not as thick.

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Photo of Gatch
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in: FEB 2012

A: Beautiful deep brown that's ruby red when held up to light. A big, fluffy, light brown head that builds and dies quickly leaving behind a little lace and retention.

S: Big, slightly roasted, sweet malt with hints of molasses, brown sugar, booze, and yeast.

T: A unique malt flavor that has a great roasted character and backed by some good yeastiness. There's some booze in the middle of each sip but the finish is all tasty, roasted malt.

M: Super smooth, flavorful, and highly drinkable. Good nutty flavor throughout.

O: Delicious and unique beer. Thoroughly enjoyed the entire bomber. The differences between English and American ales are such a gift to beer drinkers. I love the contrasts of the styles on each side of the pond.

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Photo of BostonHops
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber served in an oversized wineglass. bottled may 2010 (batch six).

pours a dark, murky chestnut tone with a bit of ruddiness to it; two fingers of beige head, respectable showing in both retention and lacing.

aroma is caramel malty; nutty, a bit bready, and the hint of bitter chocolate loitering in there somewhere. great smelling ale. first sip delivers some more of same. notes of dark fruits and yeasts, a touch of almonds. some definite hop bitterness, especially in the finish.

medium-plus body with moderate carbonation (a lot heavier a body than i was expecting); a bit creamy. pretty drinkable, although i can see myself getting bored after a couple. all in all, a really respectable beer, especially in a style i don't necessarily seek out; would welcome a revisit.

original review on: 09-10-2010

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip. This one pours a dark brown with three fingers of light tan head and some sticky soapy lace.

The aroma has a nice nutty aroma with hints of dry cocoa powder. Some doughy yeast and metallic hops in the background. The pallet is similar with doughy yeast and a hazelnut flavor and some cocoa flavors. A little bit of a noticeable hop character.

The body is full and smooth with soft carbonation. Overall this one is solid. One of the better browns on the market.

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Photo of Offa
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish brown, almost black, with a medium tan head steadily shrinking to foamy ring.

Aroma is nice, full rich brown bread, toasted, lightly chocolaty grain, prunes, fermented prunes and raisins – very nice and interesting.

Taste is much less interesting or satisfying than the aroma promised. It is spicy-raisiny slightly burnt prunes, fermented brown bread, spicy woody bitterness. The aftertaste is vague toasted brown bread and some prune. It has too much of a burnt-bitter spicy quality that tends to dominate too much and ends up, after initial promises of complexity, being rather one-dimensional and thin of character, whilst at the same time being rather heavy. It settles on very much a simple but heavy burnt bread/prune character with vague spicy bitterness and nothing else.

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Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber of this while in Boston last weekend. It poured caramel brown in color with a modest tan head covering the top.

The aroma is malty and nutty with a moderate roasted malt and a little caramel sweetness.

In the flavor I get some toasted malts to it with some coffee and slightly burnt flavors. It has a nice nutty and caramel flavor coming out towards the finish. The flavors seemed to lean towards the porter spectrum a little, but were very good overall.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy. Carbonation is moderate. Overall I thought it was a very good beer. It was very flavorful but also pretty easy drinking. Very good version of the style as well.

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Photo of hannydawg
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle from Batch 10, March 2011.

A- pours a deep reddish-brown with a one and a half finger tan head that dissipates quickly leaving spotty lacing.

S- Roasted malts, bready, with plum and raisin notes.

T- Has a certain bready tastes, with dark fruits and caramel playing a part.

M- Body and carbonation just about right for the style, smooth drinker, but unmemorable.

O- To be fair, not my favorite style, but an enjoyable Brown. Would not mind having again.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a clear extremely deep amber with 2 fingers of tan head. smells of grapes, plum, chocolate. a very nice roasty flavor with a delicious caramel/nut/fruity backbone. this beer smells and tastes like autumn. medium bodied with a nice carbonation feel - nice amounts of lacing on the glass. this is a very solid and enjoyable dessert beer.. but for me, tonight, this is my dinner. a very filling sweet brown ale with a very traditional feel to it. malty, fruity, sweet and roasty. this really is a pretty thing!

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Photo of Durge
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found at the Wild Horse in Beverly, Massachusetts, this brown ale is a dark brown with yellowish edges and a light tan head and nice lacing. The aroma brings malty coffeee-charcoal with some nice citrus hop nuances . The flavor is much the same with grapefruit blended with the brown bread malt. There's a nutty brown bread backbone that evolves into more coffeee. This is a medium body brew with an easy drinking and low carbonation feel. Flavorful for sure, one of the better brown ales I've had in a lonf while.

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Photo of Dope
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark brown pour with a big, dense tan head atop it. Head retention is amazing, never seems to fully fade away. Leaves a ton of lacing all over the glass.

S: Nutty with some earthy hops. A bit of bready malt. Some sweet molasses and caramel.

T: Nutty. Toasted bread, bordering on a roasty char flavor. Caramel and molasses. Some herbal and earthy hops are present as well. Hint of brown sugar.

M: A tiny bit thin but to be expected with only a 5.9% ABV. Smooth.

O: Nice example of a brown ale. Not as nutty as some, it's focused more on the toasted/roasted malt character. Well balanced, smooth and tasty.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown, dense, and serious; not much head but it still looks nice. Big steely minerality on the nose, tight and tinny but sweet and deep with rich prunes, mellow chocolate, faint molasses, plump raisins, and more than a drop of floral honey. Really malty and potentially overpoweringly saccharine if not for a very outgoing hop presence, which has a sharply meadow-like freshness of dandelions, grass, and tree pollen.

Starts nutty and chalky on the palate, then turns rich and fruity before finishing hoppy and nutty again. Strong, almost metallic minerals, pure malted barley, dry roasted peanuts, bitter greens (almost mustardy or radishy), honey, oak, and tobacco all check in. The overall impression is toasty, fortified, and brown, but also dry and somehow light, and it leaves a long, fruity, woody aftertaste. Very interesting and unique without being odd – a beer for all seasons, and one you can drink if you can't decide between something English, something Belgian, or something American.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark ruby to garnet in color with a big, beige, rocky head that slowly drops, never dissipating, but leaving patches of sticky lace and rings of lace on its way to a big creamy pillow.

There are light spices in this very earthy beer with a strong wheat bread aroma. Some wood and molasses is also discernible in a Dogfish Head pint glass.

Opens with malty wheat bread, with strong roasted malt with lots of nuts. Sweetness is well balanced against bitterness not that either is very strong. Finish is mild and lingering, as this one warms beautifully.

A medium body and smooth texture with moderate carbonation. Alcohol is barely noticeable as it warms.

Easy flowing combined with improving quality with warmth makes this a great choice for a second or third round. However, at almost 6% ABV, one should take their time with this beer.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, Duvel tulip, bottled in October 2011. Thank you, Jayli, my 2011 Secret Santa. I've been wanting to try this for quite some time.

Dark, purply red and brown, beguiling, with a Stout brown head that sticks admirably.

From the first it's anything but average; rich and varied maltiness. Oats, sweet bread, light toast, delicate coffee, all just very rich. There's a playful fruitiness, but for all the richness and moderate sweetness it's drying in the end.

Light roast coffee and a heavier dose of roasted malt make for a much drier body. A little diacetyl and earthy, yeasty bread show more of a yeast factor. I'm imagining cinnamon rolls without the cinnamon; a sweet leavened bread with caramelized sugar balanced well with hop bitterness.

Solid, almost chewy body set against moderate carbonation. Very appropriate and satisfying.

While the yeast isn't a hugely obvious or brash factor, the whole thing is such a classy blend of complex, rich malts and yeast that I am almost totally charmed.

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Saint Botolph's Town from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
4.05 out of 5 based on 632 ratings.
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