"Avast, ye landlubbers, and shiver me timbers!” This Rum Beer was brewed especially for Marks and Spencer’s, which doesn’t sound like a den of cutthroat piracy to me. That’s probably a good reason why this beer was called “Rum Beer” rather than “Grog”. Back in 1740 rum rations were introduced to sailors, but added to beer in an attempt to stop the sailors from getting too drunk. Although how adding rum to more alcohol can stop someone from getting even more drunk, I don’t know. I can see sailors queuing for their rum rations on the ship’s deck saying; “Today I’d like to split my rum ration over fifteen pints of beer, just to make I really don’t get drunk whilst on duty!” It makes me wonder if this is where the phrase “sea legs” originated from also. Was it a case of; three sips of Grog, two steps forwards, one step back, hiccup, restart… Three sips of…?
Brewed by Wadworth Brewery, in Devizes, Wiltshire, this 5% volume brown beer was served in a 500ml bottle and reported on the label to be a; “full bodied malty ale with a soft, rich Caribbean rum”. Originally Wadworth 6X, and containing gluten, this beer’s ingredients included; water, malted barley (Crystal), sugar, Fuggle and Golding hops, yeast and the additional Caribbean rum. On opening this beer, there was an initial malty hoppy smell with an edge of rum in the aroma. My pottery beer mug seemed delighted at the brief chance to hold real classic Grog. There was an early hoppy bitter taste as the Fuggles shone through followed by caramel malt sweetness, with a dominance of rum throughout the flavours that moved into the aftertaste once a short sharp rum kick had taken place. There was a smooth yet frisky quality to this Rum Beer that made me bask in its complexity. From the initial Fuggle bitterness followed by the rich sweet malt and then the rum liquor punch, all of which made me smack my lips with every sip, leaving a luscious beery rum taste in my mouth. Instant memories of my favourite book, Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, sprang to my mind. What better beer to celebrate September 19th International Talk like a Pirate Day? So it’s; “Avast, me Hearties!” and a “Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of Rum Beer!”