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


Durham Evensong

First published in BEER September 2006 as part of a page marking the publication of the latest Good Bottled Beer Guide. For more beers featured on this page, see previous post.

ABV: 5 per cent
Origin: Bowburn, , England

Durham Evensong

A particularly welcome (and, in my view, long overdue) innovation in the latest GBBG is a simple system for highlighting quality. Rosettes indicate breweries producing Real Ale in a Bottle to a consistently high standard, while a select few outstanding individual beers earn a star.

Bottle conditioning is a tricky business, and it has to be admitted that not all small British brewers offering RAIB have quite got the hang of it yet. Let’s hope the GBBG awards become the coveted Michelin stars of British bottled beer, encouraging brewers to the pursuit of excellence.

One entrant boasting not only a well-deserved rosette but a constellation of stars is the Durham Brewery of Bowburn, a former mining village just to the south of Durham city. This multi-award-winning micro, founded in 1994, excels in both cask and bottle with tasty and imaginative brews.

The label designs on the bottled beers might reference the ancient ecclesiastical heritage of the region, but the beers combine contemporary styles and techniques with inspiration from the more recent past.

Star beer Evensong, CAMRA’s Champion Bottled Beer of Britain in 1995, is based on a 1937 recipe from Whitakers of Halifax, closed by Whitbread in 1969. Maris Otter pale, crystal, amber and Munich malts, wheat malt, Goldings, Fuggles and Challenger hops combine to create a speciality with elements of both old ale and strong bitter.

The result is a rich burgundy with a creamy yellowish head, lots of lace and a toasty fruit cookie aroma with a note of dry cooking apples. The sappy palate has rich malt, autumn fruits and hints of dark marmalade but remains light and refreshing.

There’s a salty mineral tang to the finish, with more orchard fruit and faint roast, finally turning dry with twiggy hop notes. Well worth seeking out, and particularly recommended to drinkers of lighter beers that haven’t yet discovered the delights of the dark side.

Read about more beers featured in the 2006 Good Bottled Beer Guide in the next post.

Read more about this beer at

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