My last post touched upon collaboration between two free-wheeling, young UK Breweries in Dark Star and Marble. Saison – very much a style in vogue right now – was the result of that experiment, reflecting both the style and tastes of right now. The other Marble collaboration beer I’ve enjoyed recently proves that when the young and old guard come together, the results can be even more interesting – and again, entirely apt. ESB, anyone?
In my eyes, Fullers are a UK Brewing leviathan, yet manage to hold on to critical acclaim as well as maintaining the size and outlook of an undeniably ‘Macro’ business. Experiments such as Past Masters showcase the wealth of brewing knowledge and finesse at John Keeling’s fingertips and remain must-haves – whilst new releases such as Black Cab pique interest enough for you to seek them out over the bar.
…and so, Keeling – a native Mancunian – knocked up Marble one morning and they set out creating Old Manchester, an ESB that carries hallmarks of both breweries. Somehow – and it could be entirely placebo effect – OM feels new yet old, traditional yet exciting. Most importantly, it’s tremendously satisfying.
At 7.3% abv, it’s no slouch in the ‘warming’ stakes, and is a brilliantly bright, Amber ESB. Sugary, sweet Candied-Peel notes mingle with firm Maltiness in the nose and body – but there’s a cheeky undercurrent of fruity, lively yeastiness rippling beneath it.
The taste is clean; all the flavours arrive in sequence. Digestive Biscuit, Raisin, Caramel and Fudge, then getting drier with more Marmalade and Orange/Tangerine pith. You just keep drinking it; it’s eminently smooth and slips down too easily. It’s a pleasure to drink and another fine example of the spirit of brotherhood, fraternity and collaboration that our Brewing industry enjoys so much.
My only regret is that instead of sitting a home, feet up and a film on, I wasn’t enjoying this on cask in the opulent bustle of The Marble Arch on a Saturday lunchtime, a cheeseboard in front of me and good conversation accompanying. That’s something I’ll certainly have to rectify.
For a little insight to the beer, jump over to Des De Moor’s page.
No fuss, no pretence, a plain statement in white letters carrying no more story than simply stating what sits behind the label and a powerful alcohol content. What more does one need, anyway? This is all the Dunkel you need today, and it’s one for all seasons.
From Marble, a slightly off-centre offering. Very nice it is too, and much like the label, it’s no-nonsense. Caramel-dark, super-smooth in the body, although missing a huge, edifying head to push through. There’s a nice whiff of alcohol in the nose, and all those estery, banana notes you want and being mentally ticked off. There’s a really interesting, fruit-bubblegum note running through it, which makes it an interesting, Northern take on the classic.
Stay tuned for a mini-Marble-marathon this week.
I spent Thursday judging (with excellent company – you know who you are) the Northern section of SIBA’s Annual Beer Competition, and as is usually the case, a few beers really stood out for quality. The overall winners were:
Gold: Hawkshead’s Windermere Pale
Silver: Three B’s Stoker’s Slake
Bronze – Marble’s Manchester Bitter
You can see the category winners here, and I’d like to extend my congratulations to all; not the least RedWillow Brewery, and local buddies Kirsktall & Ilkley. All entirely deserved and it was great to catch up with you all.
Windermere Pale is a more than worthy winner; one of the true benchmarks in Pale Ale. If you’ve not tried it yet then you’re doing yourself a disservice; and there isn’t enough room here to contain my never-ending love for their New Zealand Pale Ale. Simply stunning beers; don’t miss out