Something a bit special tonight, as the nights draw in, a gift from a friend of mine from University from a brewery that is local to him, Lancaster Brewery in, well, Lancaster. He actually gifted a brace and this, a chestnut ale, is the first to be reviewed.
It is, oddly enough, called Mr. Trotter's Great British Chestnut Ale but the blurb makes the shortening to Mr. Trotter's which is how I shall refer to it from here on in.
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The smell is actually rather nutty upon opening and the carbonation appears reasonable as it is poured. Good strong head that sticks around for a bit before slowly dying back to leave a froth atop an otherwise clear run to the beer. The colour is indeed chestnutty and I don't think I had a category for my tags over there on the right for that until just now when I added it in. Congratulations, Mr. Trotter's, you have already made a mark upon my blog. At 4% ABV this was very much within my preferred range and so I was expecting something nutty in the taste.
And I got it. Nutty overtones from the first with a malty overture playing right the way through, limited bittering from the hops (Cascade and Bramling Cross) until the very end. The syrupy texture of the malt played through even then and makes this quite a warming throat mixture overall. I checked and I knew I recognised that flavour as it is indeed the Maris Otter barley that provides the syrupy feeling and the overall mellow and nutty taste that characterises the beer. Aroma remains firmly in the background and, even though there's an aftertaste, the hops are very much a sideshow to the malt's headline act. There is some spice in the yeast from the bubbles but this doesn't present until you've nearly swallowed and then might go unnoticed relatively easily. Certainly this is a beer that would work well in almost any situation but, given the fact that the nights are turning and I can almost smell the autumn I think it works quite well here too.
The bottle claims that this is 'moreish' and I can see how they would support that claim rather easily but I'm not fully sold on that. It's a beer that I am enjoying and one that I shall certainly seek out again for an evening closer to bonfire night. I think it may even edge out Late Red (link) on that score because it has the advantage of being a more viscous mix rather than the spice of the latter. Whilst Late Red is a clear autumn beer this is more of a Fireworks brew - lacks the hit of spice that I would have preferred but keeps a warm glow about it that would be more useful whilst outside watching the fires burn, Late Red is more of an indoor ale or one that is enjoyed best before the fire is lit.
Overall then, enjoy this on a cold evening outside watching something interesting. Star gazing would be good, let the breath go cloudy and rub those gloved hands together carefully before taking demure little sips to make sure this lasts and works its magic slowly. Take two or three and while away the cold hours watching planets move and stars blink in and out of sight due to atmospheric haze effects. Take long exposure shots of distant objects and marvel at the path of satellites passing you by at thousands of miles an hour. Lie back and make star charts by the second beer and funny doodles by the third.