Sour Stout in a Victorian Pub

In search of Fullers Lon­don Porter, and fol­low­ing a tip from read­er Ant, we found our­selves back at the Roy­al Oak in Bor­ough, south of Lon­don Bridge. The Porter was great, as always, if a lit­tle flat. Har­vey’s Old Ale (4.3%) had rich fruit cake flavours and remind­ed us of Adnams Broad­side. It was also a lit­tle sour, which made us won­der if they real­ly do add some aged beer to new to make it, or just a hap­py acci­dent.

The high­light, though, was the Impe­r­i­al Stout (9%). The cheery bar­man was delight­ed when we asked if they had any and bounced off to get a bot­tle. He apol­o­gised pro­fuse­ly for the fact that it no longer comes in a corked bot­tle and pre­sent­ed it with some pride in a big wine glass.  We’ve had before but fair­ly ear­ly on in our beer drink­ing adven­tures, when our taste­buds were less mature, and then found it too intense­ly flavoured to actu­al­ly fin­ish. This time, it was love at first sight. There is some­thing very sexy about a dark beer with a brown, caramel-coloured head. The smell was pure Can­til­lon – sour, sweet, and (bear with us) bor­der­ing on manure. The flavours explod­ed with every sip: black­ber­ry, choco­late, tobac­co (nev­er thought we’d enjoy that), leather… we could go on. Astound­ing, in short, and now in our top 10.

As we drank, it began to snow out­side. A Vic­to­ri­an pub, snow and black beer: it could­n’t have been more Christ­massy.

NB – Fuller’s Lon­don Porter is also on at the Mad Bish­op and Bear in Padding­ton Sta­tion, in crack­ing form.

A mer­ry Christ­mas to all our read­ers – we’ll be back in a cou­ple of days.

10 thoughts on “Sour Stout in a Victorian Pub”

  1. I just love the Roy­al Oak– I’ve nev­er had a bad beer there and the staff are always love­ly. I will have to try this Impe­r­i­al Stout next time I’m there!

    They had Lon­don Porter on at the Bar­row­boy and Banker last I was there.

  2. I haven’t found cask Lon­don Porter in the pub this year, which sucks. I’d be quite hap­py with the Impe­r­i­al Stout though, I love it. The 2008 I had ear­li­er this year was just fan­tas­tic.

    Mer­ry Christ­mas!!

  3. I love Har­vey Impe­r­i­al. Its one of the best Impe­r­i­al Stouts I have ever had. Brett in all its glo­ry!

    It will be crown sealed as Gales arn’t around to bot­tle it for them any­more.

  4. Kier­an – good to hear from you again. It’s cer­tain­ly a very funky beer and I can see why it would appeal par­tic­u­lar­ly to your tastes. I guess it’d stand up to some pret­ty intense cheeses!

  5. Mark – cask LP seems to be rolling out. We’ve now seen it in a cou­ple of places. Fin­gers crossed it will be all over the shop in the New Year.

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