The Beer Belly: Be The Beer!

Boddington’s Pub Ale: Beer Smoothie

4.31 average, 328 votes
by Rob Lieblein
2009 January 13

Boddington'sAmericans tend to poke a lot of fun at the British—the bad teeth, the ghastly cuisine (just what is “toad in the hole,” anyway?), the Queen and warm beer are just a few of the things we like to harp on.

But Americans can also be fools, and their foolishness stems in part from a lack of understanding of British beer. The notion that beer needs to be ice-cold in order to be palatable is due to the fact that so much of our domestic, mass-produced beer is swill, and the colder it is, the less we taste its swillishness. (See Pabst Blue Ribbon review for further details.) Thankfully, the trend here has been toward higher quality beers that actually begin to taste better as they go from “cold” to “cool.” And this has been the paradigm in British beer circles all along. They serve their beer cool. Not warm. Cool.

If you’ve ever been on a genuine British pub-crawl, you probably already know that British beer is in fact, some of the best beer in the world. And yet, with the exception of Bass Ale, how many beers from England readily come to mind? Well, one of my favorite Britbrews that seems to be gaining some recognition in the States is Boddingtons Pub Ale.

Boddingtons has been brewed exclusively in Manchester, England for 200 years, and since 1983 has been owned by Whitbread (a fine beer in its own right). The first time I ordered a “Bodd” I did it without any knowledge of what it would be like. I became a bit impatient as the bartender seemed to take an awful long time to pull the draught. Happily, my patience was rewarded with a stunning pint of deep golden, lightly carbonated ale topped by a very thick and creamy head. It looked almost too beautiful to drink! When I finally snapped out of my “Homer Simpson in the Land of Chocolate” reverie, I was utterly surprised by Boddingtons’ taste and quality.

I had expected something on the thin and bitter side, but what I got is more accurately described as “Vanilla Guinness.” Boddington is rich and creamy and slightly sweet (you can sense a touch of honey as it goes down), and it leaves you with a clean, pleasant aftertaste in your mouth. It’s not a chugging beer, but if you’re like me you may find that your pint never actually leaves your hand until you offer it up for a refill. Bodd is probably enjoyed best by itself—that is, without a full meal—because it is so rich. What’s more, with autumn upon us and the football season in full swing, it’s a perfect beer to help you make the transition from beach sand to bar stool. I suspect it will also make you a better dart player.

I’ve only had Bodd on tap (served cool, of course), but it’s also sold by the four-pack in pressurized pint cans—like its darker cousin Guinness. [Editor’s note: There is a four-pack chilling in my fridge as I type this… ooop!, make that a three-pack. Because the cans use the pressurized gas cartridge system, a great tap-like head and bubbly complexion is insured]. Boddingtons’ web site, featuring product spokescow “Graham Heffer” is also worth a look.

So next time you’re thinking of lampooning the British, consider this: if you lived in a country where such good beer has been the norm for centuries, isn’t it possible that you too might drink yourself to the point where oral hygiene was no longer a priority, toad-in-the-hole could be viewed as “comfort food,” and having a Queen still seemed like a sensible thing?

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Every beer InBev manages to get it’s hands on goes straight to hell eventually. They make all their beers appeal to the mass market and in so doing take away the original character of the brands they buy until all the beers they own end up tasting the same. If they sold a single beer under one name across all markets you wouldn’t know the difference from what they are doing now. They are trading on the past glories of the names they own and driving customers away in droves. Is it any wonder that home brewing and micro/craft brews… Read more »

Mary El

A friend of mine from Manchester suggested I try this beer a few weeks back. I loved it! Great smooth taste. Goes down very easy…as a matter of fact the more you drink the better it tastes. I can’t wait to find a store that carries it. I’m an Erdinger girl..but I really enjoyed this!


See the comment above yours, relating to the sale of the brewery to Anheuser Busch the worlds foremost purveyors of lowest common denominator beer. They brew beer it seems, not because because they care about it, but for the sole purpose of making as much money as possible. For marketing purposes the real individuality of a brew (read taste) is flattened out, in order to sell to as many people as possible. Especially in markets such as the US where mass market beer has always tasted of next to nothing. I notice that the sales of this beer have been… Read more »


I used to drink Boddington a few years back, I just went to buy two cases of it. It does not taste the same anymore. The “Vanilla Creaminess” is gone. What happened to this beer? I am disappointed. Now I am stuck with two cases that I can’t do anything about but finish it. Can someone tell me what’s different from 4 years ago with Boddington?


FYI, this beer is now owned by Anheuser Busch/InBev and no longer brewed in Manchester.


i have some in my fridge right now, but to blame a century of bad hygiene on a mediocre beer? damn girl

Lesley Birch

It’s nice to see the “Boddinton’s” sign in my local beer and wine store. Seeing as how I’m from Oldham and I live really close to a Canadian Millitary base. On ‘bad days’ it’s even greater to see. Go Tudor House!

Chris Bergsma

Great review and great beer. I religiously purchase this beer whenever my surplus runs low. This beer, BEAMISH, and Stone Brewing are pretty much all you can find in my fridge. It’s a bummer that InBev bought this brand, I believe they shut down their brewery too… what a shame… Still, a great brew.

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