Maldon Oyster Stout

5 05 2010

In this second part of my Farmer’s Ales double header I am going to take a look at their Maldon Oyster Stout.

This is one of Farmer’s Ales “Occasional Beers”; on their website they state that these are what many breweries would refer to as their “seasonal ales” however as they are never quite sure when they will brew them they thought that occasional was a better title to bestow.

The particular occasion that this stout is brewed for is of course the Maldon oyster festival which takes place each September, whilst I didn’t visit the festival I was lucky enough to sample a bottle of the oyster stout at the Hyde Hall RHS gardens.

I must admit to being very pleasantly surprised with this particular beer; you can still find many “oyster stouts” on offer however an awful lot of them no longer contain any oysters at all.

Luckily this isn’t the case here, if you look down the list of ingredients for this beer you will find Maldon oysters from the River Blackwater nestling amongst the malt and hops. The addition of the oysters adds a savoury depth of flavour and just the smallest hint of saltiness which works perfectly well.

When poured the stout has a lovely deep dark brown colour to it and has a smallish beige coloured head that lasts for the duration of the beer.

It is a wonderfully smooth stout with a real hit of flavour, there are deep chocolate and coffee tones that work brillantly alongside the slightly savoury salty note from the oysters. There is a lovely long finish to stout with the coffee note really coming through towards the end.

I will be honest I am sometimes a little underwhelmed with some stouts, they often tend to be  too heavy with no real delicacy of flavour to them or if not you come across some slightly odd flavours that that occasionally you really wish you had never tasted.

Maldon Oyster Stout is one of the exceptions to this rule, it is light enough to drink a session beer and packs a real whallop in the flavour department.

If you find yourself in Essex and looking for a pint give it a go you wont be dissapointed.

4.8/5





Greene King Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale

30 04 2010

Strong Suffolk is one of the many  offerings from thriving Bury St Edmunds based brewers, Greene King.

At 6% it is the strongest of the beers in their range and as the label states it is a vintage ale (old ale).

Here is how Greene King describe Strong Suffolk:

A blend of two ales: Old 5X , which is brewed to the maximum strength possible (around 12% abv) and left to mature in 100-barrel oak vats for a minimum of two years, and BPA, a dark, full-bodied freshly brewed beer which is added just before bottling. The result is a unique beer – strong (6% abv), dark, fruity, oaky and very, very special.”

The fact that this is a blend of what by themselves are both very fine beers should really start to set the scene that this really is a top notch drink.

Due to the size of Greene King it is quite easy to find Strong Suffolk available as a bottled  beer in any number of supermarkets and off licenses throughout the UK and abroad, however if you are lucky enough to find it on draught than that is even more of a treat.

I had previously never seen Strong Suffolk on tap outside of  Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding area (for a while I worked at the Greene King brewery in the town) However I have recently seen it on the ramp at a couple of Wetherspoons in London and Oxford; Wetherspoons always seem to have a large offering of Greene King beers with the usual culprits of Abbot Ale and IPA near enough always in residence.

&The bottle features the instantly recognisable  Greene King Logo reminding us that they have been in the business of making beer since way back in 1799, the main image is of one the aforementioned oak vats being paid a visit by the brewmaster. 

You can also find the vintage of the beer on the label, in this particular case a 2001 When poured it is a very clear dark brown colour with a slightly reddish tint to it, there isn’t really much of a head and it is only very very lightly carbonated so in that regards is very much like a traditional draught beer.

The first thing you will notice from this beer is that there isn’t really much of an aroma to it but the flavour is certainly there! It is a very fruity yet savoury beer with flavours of oak, malt, old sherry, banana and an almost leathery taste, the flavours develop as you are drinking it and there is a strong bitter /  sweet taste with the bitterness proving to be very refreshing and remaining for quite a while afterwards

This is a beer that really packs a punch, both in terms of flavour and strength, at 6.0% A.B.V you wouldn’t want to have too many in one sitting! It is big and full bodied and goes really well with food, particularly traditional hearty British favourites such as a good strong cheddar or some nice roast beef.

Overall there is nothing disappointing about a pint of Strong Suffolk and it is a rewarding beer that will become a firm favourite.





Do you like beer?

25 04 2010

Do you like beer?

Not really a challenging question, most people are going to answer somewhere in the region of “hell yeah” and rightly so!

Well if you did indeed answer yes (if not why not?) then you might like to check out my other blog Bottoms Up; it is all about this wonderful life enhancing beverage and good places to enjoy it.

Shameless self promotion I realise but I did swear an oath to promote good beer and good pubs (well maybe not quite an oath!0








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