Cinabar recently returned from a few days break away in Bristol and excitedly shoved these two bottles of beer under my nose. Chalky is Rick Stein's dog and the beers are named after him. Chalky’s Bark is noted on the label as a “classic aged beer naturally flavoured with fresh ginger”. This made me shrink a little, as even though I’m happy to eat ginger in most forms (mainly biscuits and cake) I’ve never liked ginger beer. Yet this beer doesn’t claim at all to be ginger beer, more like beer ginger. On opening the bottle I received a light whiff of ginger as I poured the brew into a tall glass. The beer itself is pale ale with an initial hit of lemon followed by an aftertaste of ginger. On first taste I noticed my error, and that I hadn’t learnt from my recent Raisin’ Hell experience, of beer needing to be drank with food. This beer clearly begs to be drunk with a good seafood meal. As with the Orange Peel beer; salmon, bass, prawns, shellfish and most other seafood would go magic with this beer. Drank alone, Chalky’s Bark, with its pale ale mixed with ginger and lemon give a faintly copper taste in the mouth that leaves you with the memory of when you may have “accidentally” licked a coin as a child to see what it tasted like.
Chalky’s Bite was released two years before Chalky’s bark. This darker beer is flavoured with wild Cornish fennel. On reading the label there is a recommendation for drinking this beer whilst eating mussels. I hate mussels. On a recent trip to Wales I stupidly ordered a starter of mussels in a creamy sauce which filled a bread trough. Cinabar had mentioned her seriously toned brother swore by mussels for a healthy meal, and I was secretly hoping that they’d prove a good aphrodisiac for later on that evening. Quite the opposite happened when I was given the starter as I muscled into the mussel filled pale sauced bread trough to find the fishy flavoured Tick shaped creatures. I just couldn’t cope with the way they looked (at me and cried “don’t eat me!”) or the texture as they burst in my mouth when I bit into them. Suffice to say, Cinabar swapped starters with me and I was left feeling a little queasy for the rest of the meal. However, I digress. Chalky’s Bite has a herby smell and flavour to it. It’s a slightly darker stronger flavoured beer than the Bark, but has a medicinal taste to it that makes you imagine a nurse tipped an old drunk’s medicine into his beer to trick him into taking it. In conclusion Chalky’s Bite is worse than Chalky’s Bark, though I prefer to drink the Orange Peel beer with seafood. As far as I’m aware, seafood is good for dogs, but beer is bad – very bad. So no wonder Chalky keeps biting people!