QUICK REVIEW: Thornbridge Eldon

We popped one bottle of this 8% ABV bourbon oak imperial stout into our recent Thornbridge order on a whim and drank it as a full stop to the weekend.

It’s a thick black beer with a dense cof­fee-coloured head. (See above.)

Kevin Eldon.
Actor and come­di­an Kevin Eldon after whom the beer is named. (By Christo­pher William Adach under Cre­ative Com­mons.)

Expect­ing some­thing like whisky-flavoured rock­et fuel we were pleas­ant­ly sur­prised on tast­ing it to find a beer that pulls off the ulti­mate trick: being deep and com­plex, and tast­ing its strength, but with sub­tle­ty and restraint.

Up front, there’s an obvi­ous vanil­la note and just enough sug­ges­tion of bour­bon to have made it worth­while includ­ing in the head­line. The tex­ture on the tongue is so lux­u­ri­ous that it made us want some chur­ros for dip­ping. The over-rid­ing flavour is a grit­ty hard char, like lick­ing coal, but that’s per­fect­ly in bal­ance with the sweet­ness.

If we can fault it it’s because the Thorn­bridge house char­ac­ter these days is a kind of clean pre­ci­sion which, while it works for many oth­er styles, leaves this feel­ing per­haps a bit too polite. At £2.65 it’s not huge­ly more expen­sive than Guin­ness For­eign Extra and is quite a bit bet­ter (we love FES but it can be a bit demer­ara-sug­ary and one-dimen­sion­al) so we reck­on it pass­es Ed’s test but, if push came to shove, we’d prob­a­bly put Har­vey’s filthy Impe­r­i­al Stout ahead. (A fifty-fifty blend of Eldon and Har­vey’s might be even bet­ter…)

IKEA construction instructions.
IKEA’s best-sell­ing veg­etable stor­age cab­i­net after which the beer is named.

In sum­ma­ry, Eldon is a classy, rich, inter­est­ing beer from the Fort­num & Mason of British craft brew­eries. Give it a go if you get the chance, espe­cial­ly if you pre­fer clean to dirty.

It’s actu­al­ly named after Eldon Hole, by the way, despite our silli­ness, and IKEA don’t make a veg­etable cab­i­net called ELDON as far as we know.

7 thoughts on “QUICK REVIEW: Thornbridge Eldon”

  1. Have you had the Good King Hen­ry Spe­cial Reserve? I know the Rate­beer glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of it can be a bit off putting, but I find it sort of sim­i­lar to the Har­vey’s luna­cy. Would be inter­est­ed in a com­par­i­son.

    Need this beer, and what a price!

    Kevin Eldon <3

    1. Ha! No, but we’re writ­ing an arti­cle about it for a mag­a­zine so fun­ny you should men­tion it.

      1. hope you’re going to have a taste while writ­ing the piece, had it a few years ago, not bad, but…well it’s Rate­beer isn’t it.

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