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





A Drop of Nelson’s Blood

5 05 2010

A Drop of Nelson’s Blood is one of a range of bitters from Farmers Ales (Maldon Brewing).

It was brewed for Trafalgar Day (21st October) and takes it name from Nelson’s body being returned to England preserved in a barrel of brandy. It is said that the sailors on the Victory drank some of the brandy as part of their grog ration, which became known as Nelson’s Blood. So a beer inspired by a national hero, a promising start!

Farmers Ales are based in Maldon in Essex and from what I gather they are very much a local brewer with local pubs featuring their beers on tap and a handful of restaurants and shops distributing bottled beer.

I had this particular beer in it’s bottle conditioned form at the restaurant of the Hyde Hall RHS garden a few miles down the road from the brewery.

In appearance it was a nice dark amber colour with no discernible sediment and very little by way of a head, the aroma is quite light and fruity with a slightly malty undertone but wasn’t particularly pungent.

In terms of taste I found Nelson’s Blood to be a little watery for my liking but it had quite a pleasant fruity,hoppy taste with a slight hintof caramel, there was also a fair strong nutty, woody taste that was coming through.

There is a slight hint of warmth to the beer which is possibly from the addition of the brandy.

All in all I found a Drop of Nelson’s Blood to be a not unpleasant beer from a good local brewer, it wouldn’t have me clamoring for more but at the same time I wouldn’t say no to a pint.

Overall I would give a score of 3.9/5





Who are CAMRA?

29 04 2010

You will probably hear me mention CAMRA a great deal in my posts, as such I should probably explain who they are and what they do.

In a nutshell CAMRA is the CAMpaign for Real Ale, they were formed back in the 70s with the aim of promoting and raising awareness for Real Ale, Real Cider and the British Pub.

They tend to promote smaller brewers and champion the less common types of beer and other traditional drinks; for example porters, milds, perry and stouts.

They publish a good beer guide each year, along with their monthly magazine which goes out to about 100k members.

CAMRA also organise and support a large number of beer festivals around the UK including the Great British Beer Festival at which there are often awards given out to beers that they deem to be particularly worthy.

If you want to find out more about them or possibly even become a member than you can visit there website here





Wetherspoon Real Ale Festival

29 04 2010

Today (25th April) is the last day of the Wetherspoon Real Ale Festival 2010.

Whilst I didn’t manage to get over for the full run of the festival (April 7th -25th) I did manage to spend a fair whack of time in various Wetherspoon establishments and put a fair dent into their selection.

According to the festival programme and “tasting notes” that were being given away in the pubs there are up to 50 ales being featured this year, including several that have been brewed exclusively for the festival.

I am not usually a big fan of the so called festivals that are run by pub chains but I must admit that this offering from Wetherspoon really did win me over.

To my mind they did more or less everything right, there was a large and varied selection of beers, they produced a festival t-shirt, there was the oppurtunity to enjoy the beers in 1/3rd glasses so you could get round more without getting too drunk ( I didn’t avail of this option!) and they even lowered the price of a pint, where we were drinking at the King’s Ford in Chingford we were paying a measly £1.55 a pint!

I was impressed that it wasn’t just the more mainstream breweries or varities of beer; nestling alongside the run of the mill ( a term I use lightly) ales were milds, porters, stouts and even a couple of real ciders and the choice of breweries was excellent and from as far afield as Hawaii and South Africa.

One added bonus that might be of interest to people even after the festival has finished is the CAMRA membership form at the back of the festival programme, not only can you sign up and show your support in helping protect and preserve great beers but you will be sent 20 quid of Wetherspoon vouchers for you to use, not bad seeing as you can get a membership for £20 a year (£14 a year if under 25 or over 60).

I guess this festival pretty much sums Wetherspoon up for me, yeah they are a big faceless chain that is changing a lot of the pubs we have known and loved over the years but they are also doing a lot of good, not just in promoting real ale but also in helping to prevent pub closure, I think the fact that CAMRA are so pro Wetherspoon just helps highlight just how much good they are doing





Changes they be a coming…

29 03 2010

So it’s Monday morning and I have been thinking, as always this was a hard task but the reward justified the pain!

I have decided to make some changes to my blog, hopefully these will all be over by the end of the day and it should be shinier and easier to navigate around, particularly as my mind wanders off in so many directions that I could write a recipe one moment and a review of a game the next.

The first change and probably the most exciting (well for me at least!) is that I am starting a new blog!

It’s called Bottoms Up and is devoted to one of my favourite topics – Beer. But not just any old beer, this is a blog about proper beer, with bits in it. We are talking real ales, porters, stouts, bitters and milds to name just a scant few.

I am going to be reviewing beers and pubs and talking in general about the state of the brewing industry as a whole (I used to be a very very small part of it for a few happy months)

So if this sounds like your type of poison then come and have a look.








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