I’ve been saving this one for a special occasion as it’s not cheap and i had heard it was pretty special, well the special occasion came when England won the Ashes, they don’t come much more special than that.
As much as i love lip smacking and tongue tingling hoppy beers i love dark rich stouts and porters more, one of my current favourites being Mikkellers Beer Geek Breakfast, i had heard that the Thornbridge was in a different league so was certainly expecting big things.
Before i opened it i had a good read of the bottle, it makes for interesting reading but what surprised me the most was the number of different malts and hops in the beer, something like 9 malts and 4 types of hops.
Nothing on the bottle can prepare you for when you first open the bottle and start to pour it (in this case into my nice wide ESB stemmed glass), The beer is jet black and seems to ooze out of the bottle, the head then forms with a lovely brown coffee colour. It’s almost like pulling the perfect espresso coffee, it really is that thick and that dark.
Once poured you can smell the sweetness and malts wafting up to your nose along with a hint of smokiness, which i think possibly comes from peated barley.
The first mouthful blew me away, There was as strong rich coffee flavour backed up with hints of chocolate then a lovely almost caramelised nut sweetness that just lifted it onto a different planet.
The most surprising thing of all was just how easy it was to drink, i was expecting it to be one of those beers that is great but that you could only drink the one of, much it it’s credit it’s not, i could have quite happily sat and drank bottle after bottle of the stuff while watching Andrew Flintoff rip the stumps out with that amazing throw that removed Ricky Ponting and turned the game in England’s favour, over and over again. Having said that i don’t think my head or my bank balance would thank me for it in the morning.
Its not often i get this excited by a beer but since drinking it i haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, it won’t suit everyone and some people will think it’s terrible.
It is certainly not for you if you don’t like full flavour, dark, rich beer try their Jaipur or Halcyon as they are both great IPA’s, if you do then you are in for one of the biggest treats of your life.
UPDATE: you can now buy the new version of Thornbridge Bracia on Beermerchants.com