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

Saint Botolph's TownSaint Botolph's Town
631 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 631 |  Reviews: 301
Photo of grub
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another bottle from my recent trade with jlindros. thanks jared!

22oz bottle. sampled march 27/2011.

pours hazy deep brown showing more of a deep red-brown hue at the thinnest part of the glass. a small pale brown head forms, dropping fairly fast and leaving a bunch of lace as it falls.

aroma is nice. dark fruit - raisin and date. neat nutty character - peanut, almond, maybe a little walnut. whole wheat bread. biscuit and cracker. bit of alcohol. earthy and a touch herbal. caramel and toffee. light alcohol.

taste is great. lots of raisin and date. dark chocolate. bit of coffee. nice nutty character again. lightly toasted whole wheat bread. bit of biscuit and cracker. earthy and slightly woody. touch of alcohol. low bitterness level. perhaps a touch of a funky edge?

mouthfeel is good. medium-light body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. a lot more dark fruit than you usually see in a brown, even an english one, but i suppose they call it a "rustic dark ale", and i think it sort of fits that title more. seems to have a bit of a belgian/farmhouse flare to it. i like it.

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Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, thanks to grub for sharing!

Pours a hazy and opaque dark reddish orange, black away from the light, medium sized tan head forms and settles down to a medium ring around the glass and a thin layer, nice lace spirals stick around, looks pretty nice.

Smell neat, dark and malty, a lot of raisin and plum sweetness, caramel, light biscuit malt and a touch of roast, lots of fruit, lightly sulphurous, bit weak in the nose, touch of coffee and chocolate milk, alright.

Taste is similar, sweet and malty, some caramel/brown sugar, lots of raisin and plum sweetness, light biscuit through the middle, no real roastiness or nuttiness, just a lot of fruit and raisin, smooth finish, a bit of dry toast.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, pretty smooth going down. A little plain for me and alright for an English brown but a little too much straight raisin. Not bad though, I could drink this. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of DirtybeerguyRI
4.95/5  rDev +21%
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 srandycarter
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Murky cola, off white head leaves fast. Small lace.

S - Powdered cocoa, malt back and a little hops.

T - Snappy fresh flavor, flavors similar to smell.

M - Med to light body, good carb, nice balance.

D - Wish it had a little more malt - a little dry for my taste but a fine beer.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bullied Doopie into giving me some of this stuff. He provided the brew, and I provided a decoder card so we could watch the Hotsputs against Milan on pay TV. Good times bro!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour yields a 1 ½ finger, medium looking, light tan head with great retention. Dark brown, bistre perhaps, clear body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a full foam cap and leaves lots of immediate lacing. A splotchy wisp and ring remain, leaving lots of nice lacing down the glass. Good looking.

SMELL: Dark malts, caramel malts, and dark fruit notes. Prunes, plumbs, and light chocolate notes. Very fruity and quite bold for the style. Nice.

TASTE: Pretty bold flavors on this one. Dark malts and quite sweet up front. Dark fruits, plumbs and prunes again, with some sweet caramel malt. Notes of bubble gum through the middle, with a touch of spiciness and some yeasty qualities at the finish. A long and lingering, bitter-sweet aftertaste is plenty bold and flavorful.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Full and creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating on the palate. Nice and creamy feel on this one.

OVERALL: A pretty good brew for sure. Calling this an English Brown Ale is a bit of a stretch; a Belgian Dark Ale would make more sense. Regardless, this was an enjoyable, drinkable brew that I'm glad to have had the opportunity to try out. Though I wouldn't seek it out again, I certainly wouldn't pass it up if I was offered. Good stuff. Thanks again for sharing Doopie!

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Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this through a trade with Naloxone. Thank you, Evan.

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

Comes out dark brown, almost black but I saw light at the end of the beer. Off white/ tan head of a decent size leaving some nice lacing.

Smells of coffee, sweet malts and prunes.

Tastes sweet like the nose promised als fruity and a little bitterness in the end.

Creamy and smooth drink. Fairly full body with a good amount of carbonation. Low ABV makes this very drinkable. Glad to have been able to try it.

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Photo of DIM
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a very dark brown and it poured with a thick, frothy cap.

s: On the sweet side, but with lots going on. I found brown sugar, caramel, raisins, some nuts, and mild leafy hops.

t: Sweet and surprisingly complex. This had a fairly prominent spicy side as well with flavors of nuts and little clove. Sweet elements of caramel, toffee, vanilla, and some dark fruits.

m: Full bodied with lush carbonation.

d: Thanks for this one Eric. I forget how big small beers can be sometimes.

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Photo of paulozanello
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled may 2010
Batch Six

Pours a very dark brown color that turns into a glowing ruby red when looked against the light. It forms a creamy light brown head that lasts forever leaving good lacing on the glass. Gorgeous beer.

Aroma is of dark malts, chocolate, coffee and a light alcohol note (believe it or not).

Taste starts very sweet with dark roasted malts, mollasses, honey, toffee and caramel. It does not have as many coffee and chocolate notes as in the nose. In the middle of the sip there is a nice floral hop kick that cuts the excessive sweetness with some nice bitter notes. Finish is very lasting and aftertaste is sort of a bitter/roasted combination.

Mouthfeel is syrupy and sticky with a medium to high body. However I don't get that heavy/overpowering sensation in my throat nor in my stomach that I usually get from malt bombs that are very high in abv. Carbonation is high.

Overall an explosive brown ale. Lots of flavor and malt complexity and definitely better than most beers in this style. People usually rave about how a malty and full bodied beer hides well its abv. Here the opposite happens. It is surprising to me that a beer with this much malt taste and full body has so low of an abv. Maybe the yeast got lazy and couldn't finish its job? Or maybe it was intentional? Either way... i don't see that as a bad thing (And I'm probably crazy for picking up a boozy note in the nose of this beer).

I like Saint Botolph's Town and I recommend it to the malt-bomb lovers out there.

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Photo of injuredreserve
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with off white medium density head. looks like coca-cola.

S: Chocolate and caramel malts, with smokey undertone.

T: Huge malts up front followed by a nice hop bitterness with some spiciness ending with smokey oak.

M: med bodied, very nice for the style.

D: Pleasant surprise, and can easily finish the bomber.

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Photo of afksports
3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this fine brew on tap at Amity Hall, which is becoming more and more my go-to location for food/brew/space to enjoy it. I love some NY beer bars, but they get overcrowded and/or overpriced. Not that Amity Hall is cheap... but variety is good.

Anyway, this is a beer review, and St. Botolph's Town is a Brown. English Brown Ale at 5.9% more specifically. As such, it's got a brown appearance with a thinnish off-white/beige head, that peters out to not-so-great lacing. At the edges of the brew, it appears thin and a tad watery - not terrible for the style though. In terms of its smell, I've had it a couple times, and the first one - on cask - I spent some time raving about the floral and bready aroma. On-tap I didn't get it as much, and that's a bit weird because usually taps bring out more aromas. Either way - points here for a brown smelling like more than malts.

The taste is a little less complex, featuring a lot of malts. About average for an English Brown I suppose. Tasty, drinkable, tons of toasty and nutty malts, tad of herbal hops in the finish, nothing clingy at the back end. It feels about average in the mouth, maybe a tad better because it's fancy beer (girlfriend terminology), and as a Brown it clocks in as one of my favorite styles, so it's drinkable.

All said and done, I'm more curious about the history of the name and the label than the beer. But it's a Brown. What did we expect?

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Photo of Lldeegan
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark Coca-cola brown out of the bottle.
Strong and rich aroma of coffee, chocolate, caramel, and a definite nuttiness in the nose. Hints of earthy hops.
On the palate, sweet toffee strikes first with more nutty flavors and some caramel and chocolate. The bittersweet and chocolaty finish is intertwined with hints of green, herbal and earthy hop notes that give it a little more character than a typical English brown.
This beer is not sweet and malty all the way through, it ends with a hoppy twist and a hint of what they describe as "eclectic yeast strains." Definitely an interesting beer, and I would definitely drink it again particularly with a burger or steak or some other grilled meat.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy brown color ale with a huge medium brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of caramelized malt with notes of toffee and light residual sugar with light funky yeast notes. Taste is also a complex mix between some light funky yeast with heavy caramel malt with balanced residual sugar in the aftertaste - I don't know if it is the color or what else but I almost had the feeling of drinking a stout though I knew full well it wasn't. Body is quite full with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very interesting beer with no real appurtenance to any style I know.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes

A: Pours a dark brown almost black with an off-white head. Nice head retention and thick lacing.

S: Lots of roasted/toasted malt, some caramel and nuts.

T: A very nice combination of malty sweetness and caramel. Not much hop presence. And the nuttiness from the aroma comes through nicely at the end.

M/D: Medium bodied, very smooth with nice carbonation. A very nice beer, my first in the style. Would certainly get this beer again, goes down easy.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= Nice dark brown in color, Tan head that is tight pretty nice lacing.

S= The nose is sweet, Huge malt in this beer.

T= Taste is like the nose, Lots of malt a little bit nutty really like it not super sweet like I thought it would be.

M= Carbonation is a little low in this beer but kind of thought it would be like this.

D= Pretty Drinkable would enjoy a bomber of this but would probably just drink one of these but then again this isn't my favorite style but really enjoyable.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the darkest brown ales I've come across with a dark mahogany brown body with cherry red highlights. A pillowy and sticky looking light tan colored head fluffs up to about 2 fingers thickness.

Aroma shows off with a sweet caramel maltiness with hints of golden raisins and maybe even some smokiness. Really a lot going on here and I'm loving it.

Big malt presence up front before a spicy hop bitterness rounds things out. Sweet and fruity on the malt with a smokey character that lingers around after everything else has gone through.

Thick and almost chewy mouthfeel for a sub 6% abv beer. Overall, another top notch beer from Pretty Things. Really wishing I didn't have to drive to Massachusetts just to buy their beer.

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Photo of Liverpool08
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
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 plaid75
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Sapsucker's, Huntington, New York.

Poured a dusty brown hue with a one finger foamy of white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a soft caramel, cocoa and a light earthy smokiness.

The taste consisted of a smooth earthy malt with a clean nuttiness a light smoky finish.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty brown ale. Not an overly exciting style, but good in its simplicity.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saint Botolph's Town
22 oz brown bottle
Bottled Nov 2010 - Batch 8
Served in a 20 oz tulip glass

Pours a deep dark brown with some ruby highlights on the bottom of the glass. Fluffy khaki colored head on top with trails of sticky lacings all over the glass.

The nose is malty and nutty.

A super smooth and drinkable brown ale. The mouthfeel is creamy with hints of milk chocolate and chopped nuts. This beer has a huge malty profile. A hint of oaky wood and syrupy molasses provide some additional flavors with a baby hop snap on the finish.

A solid English Brown Ale and among my favorite offerings from Pretty Things. Good beer.

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Photo of Cheesemoose
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Gosox8787 for this one!

22oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

Raisin brown, no clarity through the dark pour. Pillow-like off white head rises up. Give it a gentle pour, as a standard one will yield a far too heady pour. Good lacing.

Mild roasted nature with a tad of sweetness on the edges, which plays against the funky yeast. Intriguing...

Toasted malt comes off a tad sweet with a strong nutty presence towards the end. Hops are there, adding a good balance with a refreshing grassy note. Yeast is there again, providing a nice near peppery spice. Complex, to the say the least.

A bit high on carbonation, but it adds a nice near effervescent character that is well played. Incredibly drinkable. A great brown ale and one of the best I've had thus far. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 1/2/2011 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of faint but contains roasted malts, maple, caramel, nuts and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out malty, then sweet flavors of caramel and maple come in quickly along with some nuts in the background. The hops presence if mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice beer with flavor and substance making it worth drinking for a long time if you're in the mood for the style.

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Photo of Jayli
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 12/30 at Deep Ellum
Served in a pint glass

A: This beer pours a nice deep brown with minor reddish hues around the edges. A one finger of light brown head sits on top that recedes at a moderate pace. Nice sticky lacing is left on the glass.

S: Nose is chocolate, plum, raisin, and hazlenut.

T: Taste starts with a bit of dark fruit - lots of plum notes, some date and fig. Light toffee comes in with some caramel and hazlenut. Finish has a good dose of chocolate notes with a bit of raisin.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, rich but light at the same time with a slightly slick finish.

D: Goes down very easy, very tasty, somewhat filling, nice kick and nice representation of style. This is a damn fine beer to enjoy for a while.

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Photo of getgetgettleman
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nov. 2010 Batch 8

Reviewed from notes of 12/17/10

A = Reddish brown color. Similiar to the look of a pecan pie. Good carbonation with thick froth and robust lace.

S = Sweet and malty. Roasted carmelized nuts and natural thistle.

T = Smokey malts. Again, roasted nuts, carmel and butter. Very pleasing.

M = Buttery smooth on the front and back ends. With a warm yet dry, almost pithy finish.

D = Really a pleasing warmth to this ale. The pecan pie references make me want to come back for more. A real winner!

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Photo of nrbw23
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown color with foamy light brown head. Head has good retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S- A bit of fruits pear, raisin and a hint of banana. Bready malts and a touch of nuts too.

T- Taste is a bit of fruits with a strong malt back bone. A bit of a raisin taste too.

M- Medium in body and good amount of carbonation.

D- Pretty easy to drink. Nothing out of this world or crazy just plain old solid.

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Photo of gdrydenc
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared with itsfreeasinbeer, cheers!

A - Color is caramel brown. Head is a 1 finger light brown that stays for a while and coats the glass as I drink it.

S - Very sweet smelling. It smells like some characteristics of a stout, without the chocolate. I would say it's very malty.

T - Similar to the smell. Very malty, caramel, nutty. It's a delicious beer. I would maybe call this a stout if I had my eyes closed. The flavor lingers on my tongue, which isn't surprising given how it's fairly syrupy.

M - Like I said before, quite syrupy. The flavor lasts a long time in my mouth, which I don't mind. The carbonation seems a little too low, but if the carbonation was much higher I could see it detracting from the flavor. I would like a little more though.

D - Too syrupy to session this beer, but I can absolutely finish one bottle.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep walnut brown with lighter edges and a thick tan head that retains nicely.

Smell: Caramel, pecan, hazelnut, and cocoa are the main aromas I take away from each sniff. Sweet, but for some reason it does not really drive me far beyond ok.

Taste: Mr., excuse me, Saint Botolph's Town starst out with a sweetness that reminds me equal parts of caramel and molasses, with some cloves and other spice and hazelnut providing some character. Especially as it warms, dark fruit - dates and figs mostly - step in, really giving it more of a Belgian quality in my mind. Fairly deep, the more I think about it the more I like it. Not much balance though, just tons of sweet malt and flavor all around.

Mouthfeel: Soft creaminess with gentle carbonation. Even though this is nice for the style and ABV, my palette is adjusted just too far upward. I want bigger and bolder.

Drinkability: Drinking a glass or two of this is easy. Putting this on my Christmas wish list is not going to happen.

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Saint Botolph's Town from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 631 ratings
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