I don’t know about you but over the last couple of weeks I’ve found myself becoming a little tired of the same old “brown” beer. There’s nothing wrong with our English beer styles themselves per se, it’s the execution by some breweries that I find so disheartening…
I’ve had far too many pints of generic bitter/ale…all of which were just so (and I hate myself for using the word) “Meh“.
Brewers, you really need to start pumping these stock beers up, or exploring a different angle to make them really stand out. Much as it pains me to say it, I’ve had at least four pints over the last two weeks that were so weakly paltry and instantly forgettable that I didn’t even bother to review them (and if you think I’m going to say “My bad“, you’ve got another think coming. I ruthlessly hunt down and dismember anyone using that phrase within earshot…)
So it’s a blinking good job that the folks at Elmtree Beers have got their heads screwed on right. I had a bottle of their Dark Horse Stout from my Beers of Europe selection – which is starting to wane alarmingly. Hint Hint.
Dark Horse looks like a good stout should: black and sporting a very interesting-looking nice dark tan head…which immediately made me think that this was going to be a good experience.
The aroma wasn’t desperately complex, but it was powerful and solid: darkly roasty, espresso coffee and bitter caramel. No jaggedy bits or weird angular projections, this was a solid slab of smooth aroma. Lovely.
The taste followed on from the gorgeous, nay sumptuous mouth feel…which felt a bit like drinking single cream. The taste was heavily roasted, and bitter and dark and mysterious and satisfying.
At the swallow a beautifully judged bitterness flooded in and helped to re-awaken those perfect roasted flavours.
When all’s said and done this is an excellent, refined and very tasty stout. A perfect example of what brewers should be doing to get people all excited about English styles.
I will definitely be having Dark Horse again and again and again. And, oh look, there’s a couple of other Elmtree bottles to try in my selection, I’ll let you know how they are – they’re bound to be good.