As the summer months drift away and August turns to September, most beer drinker’s minds and palates turn towards warming winters ales.
Thwaites Nutty Black is one such beer which comes into its own at this time of year.
Should you buy a few bottles of Nutty Black, then rest assured your purchase comes with an impressive pedigree – it’s one of only four beers to be crowned the Champion Beer of Britain twice.
This beer is not short of accolades. It proudly displays a label on the bottleneck telling would-be consumers they’re about to drink the World’s Best Dark Mild – an award earned in 2012.
It has an interesting history too. In 2008, a mere 201 years after the brewery first opened, Daniel Thwaites – the brewery, not the man himself – took the decidsion to change the name of the beer from Dark Mild to Nutty Black.
It proved to be an inspired move as the new name struck a chord with drinkers, raised the profile of the beer and led to a surge in sales.
Mild has certainly had its peaks and troughs over the years, and this is reflected in the resurgence of this particular brew.
Having gone close to seeing the brand disappear, Thwaites have witnessed one of its marquee beers go on widespread sales at some of the countries leading supermarkets. As Roger Protz – editor of the Good Beer Guide – would say, breweries have to move with the times.
Befitting a beer with such a name, Nutty Black is dark in colour and rich in taste.
At 3.9 per cent ABV, this bottled incarnation is certainly deserving of the name mild. A hand-pulled pint at 3.3 per cent even more so.
The bottle comes with a black label and features the mad hatter making a hasty retreat across the title with a pint of the dark stuff. To be honest, he’d be mad not to.
The tagline reads: Curiously Dark Beer.
It’s suggested this drink is served cool, not chilled. I left it in the fridge for 45 minutes before taking the plunge.
After ripping off the bottle top, my first impressions were favourable. A sweet, fruity smell punched me in the nose before I had time to think.
Nutty Black is dark ruby in appearance with a strong roasted scent – the perfect combination for a winter’s evening tipple.
Once poured, the beer settled with a slight head. I held it up to the light and could bearly see through the other side. It’s densely dark.
It’s taste is inoffensive and texture smooth. It makes a good beer to start a session with, perhaps worthy of a second pint or bottle, depending whether you’re in the boozer or at home. It will slip down a treat.
The aftertaste isn’t one to linger, but some but the thin layer of froth I’d just swallowed left a tingle on my tongue which reminded me of the spacedust I used to love as a kid.
Those who like their beers a little on the sweet side will take a shine to this beer a sip or two.
I took a few swigs. Then a few more, and thoroughly enjoyed the next 10 or fifteen minutes as the rest of my 500ml bottle went down well.
Nutty Black is, in my view, a versatile mild it can be drunk in the height of summer or the depths of winter.
It’s a beer you don’t have to work hard at drinking. Little wonder it has proved such a hit with judging panels the world over.
The InnSpectre reviews…
There’s a fine selection of books available at the King Lud on the Isle of Wight, although it’s going to take a certain kind of pubgoer to thumb through the weighty tome that is Active Server Pages 3.0. For those looking for a more free-flowing read there’s the Concise Oxford Dictionary.
The barmaid at the Railway in Cheam stared right through me as I ordered a pint. She then looked away when handing over my change with an expression of total and utter disgust. She looked hot, but I felt hideous. It was as if Kim Kardashian was pulling pints for the Elephant Man.
I risked life and limb by going for a wee at the Nell Gwynne, Covent Garden. The descent down the stairs to the toilets is akin to walking down a lift shaft. Bow your head and hold on tight to the handrails as you prepare for a journey to the centre of the pub. Resurfacing gives the drinker a real sense of achievement that I can only imagine was felt by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing when they conquered Everest back in 1953.
I edged towards the bar at the Zetland Arms in South Kensington, bumping my cheap old man bag into posh people who I suspect have names such as Tarquin, Octavia, Marmaduke and Cressida, all of whom had the obligatory quiff and smug smile you’d expect from polo-loving members of the aristocracy.