Classic Beers

Thanks to owner Pete and manager Emma  at my local, the Star Inn, Crowlas, for access to the pub’s vast store of pumpclips to get this feature under way. I’m going to try to add a classic beer a day to this page. There are also reader suggestions included. Any suggestions — or even contributions, with a pumpclip image — most welcome. E-mail darren.norbury@gmail.com

 

Orkney: Dark Island

I’ve been enjoying proper beer for a little over 20 years now and Orkney Brewery’s Dark Island was one of my original favourites. It probably did more than most to cement my love of dark, malt-led brews. It’s not just a winner in my eyes, though. It’s been CAMRA’s champion beer of Scotland twice, among numerous other awards. It’s based on the old ale style, with fruit and chocolate on the aroma and a palate of dark chocolate, dried friut, figs and nuts, distinguishing it from a porter or stout. Maris Otter, chocolate and crystal are on the malt bill, with First Gold and East Kent Goldings hops. I still find it a draw when I see it at a beer festval.

Fuller’s: Mr Harry

According to the late Michael Jackson, the Beer Hunter, this 4.8% ABV beer “is named after an imaginary connoisseur”. With full-bodied caramel malt notes, some nuttiness and raisin notes, it neatly fits the description of winter warmer. A few years back it was still possible to see St Austell’s Winter Warmer in some West Country pubs. We can but hope that makes a comeback in that brewery’s small-batch programme, but meanwhile, Fuller’s, how about another outing on the seasonals list for Mr Harry?