Wednesday, 12 April 2017

LocAle Stout

On the countdown to Easter we are officially at Wednesday. Time for me to regale you with aborted efforts to join in last Friday with an effort online to sample local ales, that is, ales brewed in the local area. As it was, I was required to drive a bit so there was no drinking for me. However, I have been keeping an eye out for locally brewed stuff and this took me to the local Wetherspoons - The Observatory - and my favourite local being the Burnt Pig. In these places I did discover two locally brewed stouts and, well, you know me and stout lately. So here's a review of some of those!

In truth, this is all the local ale that I have had in local hostelries. Local ale for local people, there's nothing for you here, unless you're local. Also, Ilson, because. Would you like to know more?

First up was a bob in to The Observatory on a whim and because, frankly, I could. One positive about having a newborn about the place is that it is understood that when I go out and there is no deadline given for a return I can pootle to my heart's content for a bit. So I went and had a lovely half because I could. I saw that they had Magpie Raven Stout at 4.4% ABV. Poured expertly with not much of a head but this was brilliant white against a fairly thick-looking black stout. On closer inspection this had a redder appearance than it first appears with the image and then was much thinner too - with plenty of carbonation - and this was no bad thing. Dry and roasted on the nose, without coffee or chocolate, and then plunging straight into a fairly milky-textured taste on the tongue. It's pretty good at stouts go. Big on the ABV, despite being on the weaker end of the spectrum, and makes plenty of the coffee caramel notes on the palate. Good malt on this, with a dry and heavy aftertaste that puts me in mind of the sort of thing that stouts do well - namely acting as a sort of bracer against big meals and making one feel, well, like one has had a stout. I enjoyed this and it was well worth trying out! Good stout, good roasted flavour to it and a decent bit of Saxon blackness to match the Saxon-era market place on the edge of which this pub sits. I'd have it again but it's already gone at the time of writing from the taps, which is a real shame.

Next up was down the Burnt Pig because no review of ales consumed in the local area would be complete without me popping in there and having a half. As ever, there was a lovely atmosphere in the place and I took myself to the back room with a copy of the local CAMRA magazine to relax a little, this time on an errand for some vitamins. I ordered a half of Totally Brewed Papa Jangles Voodoo Stout because it's rude not to try that when you see it! At 4.5% ABV this is a good strength for a lunchtime/afternoon ale and a good follow up to pretty much whatever you had at lunch. Great head on this one (the glass was a schooner so I'm not complaining about measure size) and the price was criminally low! Lovely soft texture to this with plenty of chocolate. Not quite the big hitter that I recall from my time at The Fishpond in the summer, but very welcome on the afternoon. Soft on the tongue with a dry aroma, much like a milk stout, with strong chocolate and caramel notes as it slips easily down to a good feeling of a warm aftertaste but with a thick and smooth run there that leaves one feeling cooled and hugged from the inside. Kinda like a positive version of what I imagine it must be like to be impregnated in an Alien film actually. Gave me plenty of time whilst slowly sipping it to read all the articles in which I had an interest and basically to relax a bit. Most enjoyable and local too.

No winners here but me. Two local-ish stouts and two pretty decent examples of the craft of brewing stouts. Can't go wrong. In two locals that are lovely and do decent ale.

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