Boatrocker are fully embracing winter, with no less than five darker beers leaving the brewery in cans this July. Before we get to the barrel-aged among them – including the 2023 vintage of the iconic Ramjet – let's check in on the two that haven't spent time in oak.
Now, in this current era, do you think you could put two words together more likely to turn off newcomers to craft beer – those enticed by hop bombs or other flights of fantasy – than "old" and "brown"? Yet, while there’s nothing fruity, hoppy, funky or indeed silly about Old Brown Ale, this celebration of malt and English ale yeast still has a vibrancy about it from start to finish. The way the layers of caramel and chocolate leap from the ruddy liquid and tickle almost every part of your palate reminds you of the joys of well managed malt, while raisin-esque esters round things out.
As for Chocolate Stout, well, it's hard to believe this is just a stout with added cocoa nibs as it's so damn chocolatey. Two sips in, I made a note that it reminded me of Young's Double Chocolate Stout – then I looked at the can again and went: "Ahhhh...." If anything, it's more voluptuous than that English classic: sweet, fudgey chocolate whipped with double, maybe even triple, cream leads the way and, presumably it’s a trick of the mind, but there seems to be an element of marzipan continuing the cakey theme. There’s a flicker of roasted malt bitterness trying to add a semblance of dryness to the finish. But I’m not entirely sure that’s the point here.
Published July 12, 2023 2023-07-12 00:00:00