Hitting the stash

Autumn seems to have struck all of a sud­den – it’s windy and wet and there are an alarm­ing num­ber of leaves on the ground for August.  It meant that for the first time for ages, we fan­cied a night in with the stash.

We’ve col­lect­ed quite a few odd beers. You know the type – you think they’ll be inter­est­ing but not nec­es­sar­i­ly nice, so you don’t get round to drink­ing them.  First up was the noto­ri­ous Speed­ball, by Brew­dog, which sound­ed foul from the descrip­tion (kola nut, guarana, pop­py, c-hops and hon­ey) but was actu­al­ly very pleas­ant.  For all the look-at-me-I’m-contraversial mar­ket­ing, it tast­ed like a nice, non-extreme Amer­i­can Amber ale.  Maybe some of the extreme flavours had mel­lowed over time?  Speed­ball is now called “Dog­ma”, by the way.

Next up was Gin­ger Tom by Robinson’s, a mix of their Old Tom and Fentiman’s gin­ger ale.  This 6.5% strong ale didn’t quite work – too much gin­ger and not enough Old Tom, mak­ing it fizzy and over­pow­er­ing.  You could see what they were try­ing to do though, because the after­taste was real­ly nice, like gin­ger­bread.

Expect­ing those two to be weird and undrink­able, we’d also laid out Temp­ta­tion, a “Russ­ian stout” from the Durham Brew­ery.  Can you go wrong with a 10% impe­r­i­al stout that says “best between Sep­tem­ber 2007 and Sep­tem­ber 2012”?  No.  It’s great, with loads of com­fort­ing flavours – vanil­la, choco­late, cof­fee, liquorice, sher­ry.  One to savour and our beer of the week.

Ginger Marble at the Duke of Cambridge

Tan­dle­man often writes about the Mar­ble Arch, a brew­pub in Man­ches­ter. It sounds like a fab­u­lous place, so we were very excit­ed to see “Gin­ger Mar­ble” on tap at the Duke of Cam­bridge.

I’m a big fan of gin­ger in beer, if done well, and this was done incred­i­bly well.  Real­ly zingy and alive, but def­i­nite­ly full-bod­ied beer with gin­ger in it, rather than sick­ly-sweet gin­ger pop.  It’s even bet­ter than the Leatherbritch­es one we enjoyed in Oxford a few months back.

It’s not to everyone’s taste (oops – missed the key part where Alex described it as ‘bril­liant’).

It cer­tain­ly doesn’t go with smoked fish.

We reviewed the Duke of Cam­bridge last May, and we’ve been back sev­er­al times since.  We like it, but it’s not bloody cheap.