They say…

Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor


Darwin Richmond Ale

. A shorter version appeared on facebook, January 2009.

ABV: 4.5%
Origin: Sunderland, England


This brewery specialising in historical recreations has an interesting history itself. It began in 1994 as a teaching facility at Brewlab, the University of Sunderland’s well reputed brewing school,  initially expanding to take over the old Hodge’s Brewery in Crook and moving back to Sunderland in 2002 to take over the brewing kit of the well respected but sadly defunct micro Butterknowle. Operated as a commercial  undertaking but still with links to Brewlab, it’s since become an multi-award winner in its own right. 

Richmond Ale is based on the traditional strong dry brown ales of northeast England that originally developed in the late 19th century — this particularly recipe comes from Richmond, North Yorkshire. It’s brewed from Yorkshire malts, including specialist crystal malts, and Fuggles hops. There are cask and filtered bottled versions but a Real Ale in a Bottle occasionally emerges — I caught one at the bottle conditioned bar at the Great British Beer Festival in 2008.

The more widely available filtered version is nonetheless a great beer, a deep bronze colour with a fine off-white lacy head and a pleasant chestnut cream and vanilla malt aroma. The sweetish toffee palate has a touch of fruit and notable roasty smoky flavours, and twiggy, herbal hops emerge on a soft rounded finish that makes for a dry but very drinkable beer.

The bottle conditioned version is a more complex proposition, with a more fruity and nutty aroma, with raisins and figs tinged with yeasty esters reminiscent of Belgian abbey browns. A sappy, slightly roasty palate has plenty of orange and blackcurrant fruit, subtle resins and a hint of belt leather. The hops are burry but subtle and gentle, again developing a pleasant dry bitterness in a long, sappy and fruity finish with more mineral, cindery roast flavours.

Read more about this beer at

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