Monday, January 16, 2012

Saintly Brews

When I was trying to decide which online beer shop to buy my Christmas selection from way back in the entirely too warm depths of November, I had 2 absolute must requirements. Firstly, said shop had to sell Timothy Taylor Landlord and secondly have a selection of beers from the Durham Brewery. Only Beer Ritz satisfied these needs and so they got my cash.


The first, and previously only, experience of  Durham Brewery was back in 2008 when I had a bottle of Benedictus, an 8.4% barley wine which I really enjoyed and wished I had bought more of. This time I bought a 2 bottles of three of their beers, more Benedictus, Temptation and Bombay 106.

I am not really much of one for the American versions of India Pale Ale, I find many of them to be like sucking lemons, but British style IPA is something I quite often enjoy, regardless of where they are made. Bombay 106, named for a British light infantry regiment, is a healthy 7% abv and hopped with masses of Goldings according to the advertising blurb. The Goldings are very much the star of the show here, big, hefty dollops of spice and a citrus note like Seville oranges. Backed with a firm malty body which means the hops don't run away with it all. The finish is long and dry with just a hint of sherbet in there for fun.

Benedictus was largely as I remembered it, and remember it is how it will have to remain as it has been discontinued by the brewery. A beautiful copper colour, with a thin white head, the nose is a full frontal attack of toffee, canned fruit and citrus peel, and a boozy note chucked in. The sweet caramel taste dominates the drinking, though there is enough of a hop bite to stop it from furring the arteries.

The highlight though on the drinking front was Temptation, their Imperial Stout which smashes through the doors with a big hitting 10% abv. This stuff looks like crude oil, black, inky, more than opaque it sits in the glass like a liquid black hole. The huge body it a riot of sweet malt flavours, caramel, toffee, chocolate all playing against a noticeable coffee note and the spiciness of the hops. Sitting watching the TV and sipping this was the perfect way to end the day, having had one of my mother's home cooked meals. Perfection.

I think it is fair to say that whenever I head to the UK, I will be on the look out for more of the Durham Brewery's range, in particular their new historic beer, White Stout.

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