I first heard of the Hook Norton Brewery, in Oxfordshire, when it was featured in one of Fred Dibnah’s steam engine TV programmes. The brewery is set in a traditional Victorian tower building and is powered entirely by steam engines. Hook Norton’s Double Stout won the International Beer challenge 2009 Gold Medal. Described as “Smooth and full bodied” and at 4.8% volume, it is brewed to a recipe that is over 100 years old. It is made with malted barley, wheat hop, yeast and pure water from the brewery’s own spring fed well. The stout has a healthily filling feel to it, and has a lovely heavy stout taste. Hook Norton’s Double Stout has a mixture of black malt, which gives it a rich roasted flavour, and brown malt, which gives it a satisfying dryness. The label suggested that this drink would complement a rich dark chocolate, but I can assure you it went very well with sausages, potatoes and a few vegetables. I’ll definitely hunt out this stout again. I reckon it would go exceptionally well for an after dinner or suppertime treat, with some luxury chocolate on the side, in front of the fire on a cold winter’s night.