At the weekend the removal company came to pack our belongings for the move to the USA so all my beer glasses have gone, hence the TESCO hi-ball glass in the pictures, we also reserved our new apartment in Charlottesville which is 4 times bigger than our current shoebox, and has a patio! With the flat starkly bare, my little cellar is in dire need of being emptied, so I made a start by opening one of my bottles of Lovibond’s Dark Reserve – a stronger, barrel aged version of the their standard porter, Henley Dark, which I wrote about here.
Like the Gold Reserve, the Dark comes in 750ml bottles – making it ideal for sharing with friends. The beer itself is very dark indeed, a deep crimson ruby which is almost impenetrable to light except around the edges, the head is a light tan and fades rather quickly.
The nose is a cacophony of chocolate and sweet caramel, with roasted coffee undertones and a subtle yet noticeable smokiness. Tastewise, the chocolate theme continues, but instead of being like a British Galaxy or Yorkie bar, this is more of an American Hershey bar, laced with sourness. The beer is also rather fruity, like a good heavy British Christmas cake done properly with plenty of brandy fed through it – there is a noticeable alcoholic glow and again the light smokiness comes through. Again Lovibond’s have crafted a very nice beer, the one thing I would say though is get at least one other person to enjoy the Dark Reserve with you, and pair it with that most British of cheeses, extra mature farmhouse Cheddar (a constant source of mickey taking in the Velky Al household, as I maintain that real Cheddar comes only from the village of the same name in Somerset).
Lovibond’s only make batches of 500 bottles at a time for this beer, and this was from batch 1 – a very good start indeed.