My students got me this, and three others, as a present to say thank you when they heard I was leaving where I worked. Each of the ales they got had been thought out and carefully considered with reasoning given for each. I shall relate that here as well as reviewing it because, well, that's just very cool and slightly humbling.
Tonight I decided to try Nutty Black from Thwaites because I could. This was chosen because my teaching style is slightly 'nutty' (I prefer 'scatty professor type') and the black in the title was simply there. The fact that it had two types of hops was apparently testament to my many different styles.
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It looked like it was going to be too fizzy. I could smell the fuggles, and again spotted them before I read them on the side (which makes me in equal parts happy and sad), and see the whisp of carbonation. As I poured it there was the same sort of sound I associate with lemonade and so I resigned myself to a clever looking beer that would be too fizzy to be properly enjoyed. Served at room temperature the ale was indeed very black and created a fine cola-looking head that fizzed and looked as though it would remain as a scum-like froth. It did not. The fizz vanished very quickly and the head was soon gone, before I'd had chance to take a sip in fact. That fuggles smell now combined with a roasted nutty aroma to create something I could compare to Throughbred Gold (link). Of course I can, it's Thwaites, about whom I have written before (link).
The taste was rather satisfying, definitely hints of nuts and strong malt with a hit from the hops that stops short of being citrus like and instead goes straight for the fiery taste I like to associate with bonfire nights and barbeques later in the year. At 3.9% ABV it doesn't carry the same punch as most of the beers I've had lately but that allows it to have a much more subtle play of flavours, which was something of a pleasant surprise. After the first taste the rest settled into a good pattern. First you get the mellow Goldings followed by the slightly fiery taste of the Fuggles on the remaining carbonation, after that it's quickly down to business with a pleasant, but blink-and-you-miss-it, malt that leaves a nice refreshing aftertaste that fades fairly quickly. After all that I was left with the faint impression of nuts, but not salted or cheap, maybe akin to cashews actually, before you dive in for another sip.
Enjoy this at the end of a good summers day with nothing on your mind and little to do in the evening. It could make a great draft ale, drunk in the beer garden with a Ploughman's Lunch or else on an evening in the snug over a game of dominoes and/or darts. It's the kind of ale that would make one want to sing, putting me in mind of nights singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody, though in those days I was on vodka and coke, and should be drunk with friends. Share it if you can, it's definitely a sessionable ale with a low enough strength that you could take two or three in the evening.