I've got a terrible habit of scanning the beer aisles whenever I go into a supermarket. It's almost a nervous reflex, even if I'm popping just in for a pint of milk (yes, I know you get that from the corner shop, the supermarket is about 200 yards from our front door. The corner shop is half a mile). Morrison's have just got a lot of new beers in, including Worthington White Shield at £1.89 (about what it costs wholesale to the independent trade), and also featuring are a couple of super-premium bottled ales - Marston's Pedigree VSOP (Very Special Old Pale, 6.7%abv) and Wychwood Special Reserve King Goblin (6.6%abv).
They couldn't be more different. The VSOP is clearly a well-researched brand extension, sharing some of the similarities of Pedigree but adding a few bells and whistles in the shape of conditioning on brandy cask staves, and an extra hopping regime. Both of these add to the beer, making it more complex and oddly lighter at the same time. By contrast, the King Goblin just tastes like a bigger version of Hobgoblin - more malt, more hops, more alcohol - and as such seems to struggle under its own weight, especially when compared with the surprisingly spry Pedigree VSOP.
Ordinary brown beer with a little more oomph. Extraordinary brown beer.