Being a northerner, I have always had a slight disdain for beers made "down south". It's not a rational disdain, just "north v south prejudice"
But in the last couple of weeks the only real ale I have had has been from southern breweries, and I have enjoyed them all.
Greene King IPA. Because of what Greene King did to the excellent Hardy & Hansons brewery, I did not drink their beers for a few years, in a type of mini protest. But their IPA was a guest ale in a Tyneside pub the other week, so I thought I'd have a go. Delicious, undercurrents of something I couldn't identify and a pleasant aftertaste. The pump clip said 3.6% alcohol, so this could be a "session beer"
Greene King Abbot. When I was in my twenties this was my favourite draught beer. In fact somewhere I still have a tee-shirt with "Abbott drinker, this way up" emblazoned across the chest. It is strong ( about 5%) , medium dark and with a sweet aftertaste. Not over-hopped, and despite the strength, a refreshing beer. I have seen it in a few Wetherspoons pubs, so I may have to try it a bit more ....
Ringwood Best Bitter. A Hampshire Brewery bought by Marstons about 10 years ago, their Best Bitter was the only handpumped ale in the Chef and Brewer pub we used while visiting family in Bracknell. A very malty taste, almost bordering sweet, but again the pump clip said 3.8%. Believe me, a true session beer!
Yesterday, in a Wetherspoons in Newcastle I had Adnams Broadside. Adnams beers don't often get this far north, so I had to give it another go. I have always thought that describing beer as "fruity" was pretentious, but in this case there were definitely blackcurrant and berry hints to the malty aftertaste.
So four very acceptable southern beers. I don't like strongly hopped beer ( just a personal preference) but obviously not all southern beers have that quality.
More research is called for ......
(PS , I'll be posting about my on / off support for CAMRA later )