Origin: Tadcaster, Yorkshire, England
An extended review of a beer featured as a strong and special beer on the bottled beer review page in the November 2010 issue of BEER magazine, sent free every quarter to CAMRA members, who can also view it online. The magazine is additionally available in selected newsagents.
Samuel Smith’s, one of the three remaining historic breweries in the once important North Yorkshire brewing town of Tadcaster and the only one that’s still a family-owned independent, is best known for three things. London real ale drinkers will be familiar with the brewery’s curious estate of pleasantly traditional central London pubs selling their single cask ale, Old Brewery Bitter, at jaw-droppingly low prices. International beer hunters will be familiar with the range of impressive speciality bottled beers they developed mainly for their US importer in the 1990s. And beer writers and researchers will know them as one of the most publicity-shy of all brewers, with not even a website to their name.
Running a business in this way, you rely on the products to speak for themselves, and this they most certainly do. At the cost of some frustration to real ale fans, the speciality bottled range, excellent though it is, has been limited to filtered beers. In 2008, an unexpected exception appeared in the form of Yorkshire Stingo, which is not only bottle conditioned but matured for over a year before bottling in the brewery’s unique collection of oak casks, some of which date back over a century. Stingo is a traditional term in some regions of England for a strong barley wine, but the emphasis on oak ageing reflects the growing interest in wood aged beers in the US craft beer market.
It’s a deep burgundy beer with an orangey-beige head and a malty, cakey and lightly woody aroma, with notes of spiced toffee, grapes and raspberries. A tight, dryish palate is rich with nutty flavours, generous splashes of red fruit and a definite broad oaky note. The finish has that wood-sucking dryness of similarly matured beers but is well balanced by mouth-coating cakey malt, spiced candy and a light peppery bitterness way back in the throat, with some lightly charred notes. A beer that will do nothing to harm the brewery’s reputation for quiet excellence with traditional styles.
Buy this beer from http://AlesbyMail.com as part of a special pack containing all the beers featured on my beer review page in BEER this month. BEER readers receive a special discount by entering the voucher code shown in the magazine.
To download BEER if you’re a CAMRA member, see http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=beer.
To find out more about CAMRA membership, see http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=joinus.
Read more about this beer at ratebeer.com: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/samuel-smiths-yorkshire-stingo/90838/