Leather Plates and Pipe Smoke

When I was a kid we used to go to my uncle’s house in Lon­don… The heat and light crack­ling sound of the fire, mixed with the smell of his oak-pan­elled room, his tobac­co and the whisky by his leather chair, always bring Christ­mas of my child­hood strong­ly to my thoughts… We cre­at­ed a dish… based on the mem­o­ry… We set the frozen apple sor­bet on fire with a whisky blend, while dry ice bel­lows from the leather plate car­ry­ing the smell of leather, wood, fire, tobac­co and whisky. We even have the crack­ling sound of the burn­ing logs com­ing from the dish.”

Hes­ton Blu­men­thal

The very idea of a beer based on a historic recipe – the chance to share a sensory experience with our ancestors – gets us excited.

Pack­ag­ing alone can build expec­ta­tion, sug­gest­ing a swirl of fog, soot in the air, and the dis­tant pip­ing of a bar­rel organ, with a few tricks of typog­ra­phy and the promi­nent place­ment of an evoca­tive date: 1913, 1891, 1884, 1880… (Like the dash­board on Rod Tay­lor’s time Machine.)

How his­toric are some of these recipes? Many are mere­ly ‘inspired by’ some­thing from the archives, while oth­ers are painstak­ing recre­ations. While we pre­fer the lat­ter, we’re also more than will­ing to play along with the for­mer, just as we would be with Hes­ton Blu­men­thal’s sen­so­ry manip­u­la­tions.

Read our tasting notes after the jump →