The London contingent returns once again to test the beery waters with Andy, Jess, Andrew, Marc and newcomer Kath. We chose a random selection of beers which intrigued us and tried not to veer off into unrelated and surreal topics too frequently. First up, Thwaites Very Nutty Black (3.9%) from Blackburn, then we moved down to the South West and sampled Skinners Cornish Knocker (4.5%). The third beer on the podcast is from Sweden – Nils Oscar God Ale (5.3%), before we finished on a stronger note with Ringwood Old Thumper (5.6%)…
1. Very Nutty Black (3.9%abv) 500ml glass bottle
Daniel Thwaites Brewery, Blackburn, Lancashire
Nutty Black is one of the core beers produced by Blackburn’s Thwaites Brewery – and is an award winning mild, having twice been named Champion Beer of Britain. At 3.3%, when the brewery decided to launch a bottle-conditioned version they upped the alcohol to 3.9% (jokingly referring to it as export strength) and christened it Very Nutty Black.
What They Say – “Normally brewed solely for the home market, Daniel Thwaites has broken all the rules with an export strength version of its award winning ale. The same great well rounded flavours and nuttiness lie within.” [ratebeer.com]
What We Say…
Jess – Quite light, not too bitter. Some lovely fruity berry flavours 8
Andrew – Bit fizzier than a stout. I could drink 1000 pints of it 8
Andy – A bit bitter and acidic. Not as nice as Sam Smith’s 6½
Kath – It tastes like beer 6½
Marc – Smells like Dandelion & Burdock. Tastes like it too 6
2. Cornish Knocker (4.5%abv) 500ml glass bottle
Skinners Brewery, Truro, Cornwall.
Steve Skinner cut his brewing teeth on the island of Jersey, before moving to Cornwall and going into larger scale production. That was 1998, and his beers have won plenty of plaudits since – possibly due to the local ingredients used in production – all components of their beers are sourced from within ten miles of the brewery. This local pride also extends to the names of the beers – Cornish Knocker is inspired by the elfin fairies who inhabited Cornish tin mines, said to be spirits of old miners.
What They Say – “A strong, clean tasting golden Ale, not too sweet with a fresh flowery aroma” [onlinebeerfestival.co.uk]
What We Say…
Andrew – It might not be nice but it has flavours at least 8
Marc – Makes me think of the washing up bowl 7
Jess – I’m a bit disappointed by it. It’s a bit watery 5
Andy – Similar taste to just before you’re going to be sick 4
Kath – Bit of a metal flavour at the back of the mouth 3
3. God Lager (5.3%abv) 330ml glass bottle
Nils Oscar, Nyköping, Sweden.
Nils Oscar were founded in 1996 and named after a distant relative Nils Oscar Sunderberg, who was born in 1865 and has his picture proudly displayed on each bottle. They put out a huge and varied range of different beers, such as IPA’s, dark porters, barley wines and a festive Kalasjulöl. Back in early 2008 we featured their India Ale on our Swedish special podcast, BeerCast 28. Will our panel similarly enjoy their God Ale?
What They Say – “The end product is a hoppyaromatic all-malt brew where the special malt brings a remarkably pleasant malt character. It is fresh tasting and smooth as becomes a Dortmunder Export style beer.” [ratebeer.com]
What We Say…
Marc – There’s definitely something milky going on 7½
Andrew – A touch of Whiskey-ness and citrus toilet duck 7½
Jess – It’s like someone chucked loads of fags in this. Tastes like gooseberries and mold 4
Kath – Tastes like cheese and ash and dust 4
Andy – It tastes like unpasteurised yak’s milk 3
4. Old Thumper (5.6%abv) 500ml glass bottle
Ringwood Brewery, Ringwood, Hampshire.
On the edge of the New Forest between Hampshire and Dorset sits the market town of Ringwood, home to the Ringwood Brewery. They were founded in 1978 by Peter Austin – one of the pioneers of British microbrewing (see here for an article on Peter written by the legendary Beer Hunter Michael Jackson). One of Peter’s more famous sayings is “a brewery shouldn’t sell beer farther from its door than a horse can walk in a day” – Ringwood were established with this belief, and still have a major presence in the New Forest, despite having been bought out by Marston’s plc in 2007.
What They Say – “Luscious balance of grain and hop in the mouth, bitter sweet finish with delicate fruit notes” [Official Website]
What We Say…
Jess – I really like it. It tastes like crème brulée 8½
Marc – Couldn’t drink a lot of it 8
Andy – Orangery, doesn’t have that soapiness Cornish Knocker had 7½
Andrew – Lots of body, the ‘christmassiest’ 7
Kath – Good in a different way to Nutty Black 6½
Panellists – (clockwise from top left) Andy, Jess, Marc, Kath, Andrew
BeerCast panel verdict
Ringwood Old Thumper 37½/50
Thwaites Very Nutty Black 35/50
Skinner Cornish Knocker 27/50
Nils Oscar God Ale 26/50
That’s it from our London panel for now. Edinburgh, it’s back over to you.