Magical Mystery Pour #15: Durham Brewery Bombay 106

Bombay 106 in the bottle.

A 7% traditional English-style IPA designed to evoke the 19th Century? Yes please.

This is the sec­ond beer cho­sen for us by David Bish­op (@beerdoodles – web­site here). He says: ‘Big boned and no non­sense. I think this will be a nice beer for you to share – 250mls each that will leave you check­ing the bot­tle for one or two more drops.’

A cou­ple of years ago Durham Brew­ery was all the rage thanks in part, it seemed to us, to a cer­tain gen­eros­i­ty with sam­ples for blog­gers, Tweet­ers and raters. We had a few of their beers here and there and found that they ranged from decent (White Stout) to shod­dy. So we were pleased at the oppor­tu­ni­ty to give them anoth­er go although our hopes weren’t high.

We bought our bot­tle from Beer Ritz at £4.02 for 500ml. It is bot­tle-con­di­tioned and so, with our last messy Durham expe­ri­ence in mind, we kept it chilled. It actu­al­ly poured beau­ti­ful­ly, the yeast stick­ing to the bot­tom of the bot­tle through mul­ti­ple dips, deposit­ing a whipped-white head on a body a shade dark­er than stan­dard lager. The aro­ma was­n’t huge but there was some­thing fruity – peach-like, per­haps?

Durham Bombay in the glass.

The taste was, frankly, star­tling. It took us by sur­prise and left us momen­tar­i­ly dis­ori­ent­ed. Then we got it: straw­ber­ries. Not man­go or pas­sion fruit or grape­fruit or any of those oth­er mod­ern IPA nav­i­ga­tion land­marks but soft, sweet Eng­lish gar­den fruit. Peo­ple some­times talk about this as an off-flavour but we’ve always quite enjoyed it in, for exam­ple, the stronger Brew­Dog IPAs.

That was laid over a snap­py Great British Bake Off back­ground of bis­cuit and bread – whole­some stuff, though, with grains to chew on – fol­lowed by a sol­id but not over­whelm­ing bit­ter­ness, with a slight sea­son­ing salti­ness.

The flavours seemed to unroll dis­tinct­ly, check­ing and high­light­ing each oth­er – it’s too sweet, no it’s not, or is it? Not so much bal­ance as an ener­gis­ing back and forth. Stim­u­lat­ing.

Alto­geth­er, we liked it. It tast­ed absolute­ly Eng­lish, old-fash­ioned with­out being mum­mi­fied, and just boozy enough to feel like an adven­ture. The web­site tells us it’s all Maris Otter and Gold­ings so def­i­nite­ly the kind of beer the 1990s IPA revivers had in mind before C‑hops took over.

So that’s Durham out of the sin bin and back on the worth-a-try list.

One thought on “Magical Mystery Pour #15: Durham Brewery Bombay 106”

  1. This sounds very good. Since the Eng­lish, i) invent­ed pale ale, ii) still grow bar­ley and hops, they are pre-emi­nent­ly the peo­ple to lead the revival of true IPA.

    Yet this task was left to oth­ers, main­ly Amer­i­cans, due to inevitable drift and change of the beer cul­ture.

    In the process, some­thing new emerged, New World IPA. It’s fine and good but meet­ing the old boss, or enough exam­ples, will show why he rose to the top…


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