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


From the cellar: Williams Brothers (Heather Ales) Kelpie

ABV: 4.4%
Origin: Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland
First published: 5 February 2001

Another review from the  written for the pioneering Oxford Database (OBBD). I’ve left it uncorrected — so please read it in that historical spirit.

At the time of writing, the beer was brewed at the Forth Brewery in Alloa, a microbrewery set up by employees of the historic Maclay brewery when this closed in 1994. Williams Brothers eventually bought out Forth in 2004 and relocated it to another site in Alloa, where Kelpie is still brewed today, though not bottle conditioned.

This innovative Scottish micro’s quest for unusual brewing ingredients proceeds from heather and gooseberries to seaweed in this product which, judging by its packaging, is brewed with the US market in mind. The brewery is now in Strathaven, and most of its bottled product (including this beer, presumably) is brewed in Alloa, Clackmannanshire. It was formerly based in Argyll, however, and it’s the Argyll coast that apparently provides the fresh bladder wrack seaweed added to the mash.

According to the label, barley hereabouts was formerly grown on fields fertilised with seaweed and the beer is attempting to mimic the flavour this lent the resulting brews. Otherwise the beer is a dark brown-black, Schwarzbier-like brew made with organically grown pale and chocolate malts, not bottle conditioned.

It has an unusual nose, with malt, chocolate, cream and, indeed, a faint salt and iodine tang, though this is hardly “the aroma of a fresh sea breeze” the label promises. More bracing is its very fine mousse, yielding in the mouth a chocolatey but quite light malt character, drying but not over-bitter, and a pleasantly smooth texture. A certain saltiness does develop in the finish, with some restrained hops, and there is a late hint of sweet green leaves, rather like pak choy, but it’s no more maritime in flavour than Adnams.

As the beer settles it develops a surprisingly distinctive milk chocolate note. It’s pleasant and interesting but rather short on finish, and surprisingly mild-mannered when you consider that only those expecting to be provoked with strong flavours might be tempted to crack open a bottle.

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