Pete Brown: you're a genius.
On Impy Malting a while back, Pete suggested in a comment that us bloggers try and blag our way into the Great British Beer Festival trade session on the strength of our journalistic credentials. Of course, not even I would have the brass neck to imply that my meanderings here are worth special treatment from an organisation as big and important as CAMRA, so I did the blagging from my role on the editorial board of a Proper Beer Website. And they bought it too. So, barring disasters, I shall be nipping across to London on the morning of Tuesday 5th August and home again the same evening. From noon until 5 I will be at Earl's Court. Drinking.
I thought I'd use this post as a sign-up sheet for anyone else out there in the beer blogosphere who might be going. It'd be great to say hello in person.
To get a bit more mileage out of my post title, I'm covering a beer which was another donation from Thom out of his CAMRA quarterly goody bag: Station Porter from Wickwar Brewing in Gloucestershire. You don't need the golden CAMRA rosettes to tell you this is real ale -- just pour it into a glass. It foams lazily at the top, with just a handful of large bubbles giving way to a light tan skim of froth on the surface. Unsurprisingly the texture is wonderfully smooth, accentuated by a dense velvet body.
There's a dry and bitter aroma, followed by a mild yet complex flavour: dark chocolate and smoke spring immediately to mind. I'm not seeing any reference to smoked malt being used, but it has that Laphroaig-like medicinal quality reminscent of MM Imperial, though not as overpowering.
It would be very easy to drain the whole glass in no time if it wasn't for that body and a big 6.1% ABV. In general I prefer my sippers to have bigger, bolder flavours, but I don't object at all to the mildness in this one. The texture more than makes up for it.