3 October 2012

Kelpie Seaweed Ale (Westmorland Service Station) [By @SpectreUK]



Well, Cinabar finally managed it; she found an ale that sounded so disgusting that I really didn’t want to try it at all. I have to admit that this Kelpie Seaweed Ale did sit on the Foodstufffinds beer tasting shelf for quite some time before I dared to try it. I dared simply because I enjoyed the fine quality of Williams Brother’s Profanity Stout so much that I believed that this ale could not taste all that bad… Could it? The label stated that before the 1850s many Scottish coastal breweries used local malted barley grown on fields that were fertilized with seaweed. Fertilized with seaweed doesn’t sound so bad… Does it? A quick look at the ingredients stated malted barley bree, hops and seaweed. Apparently this beer had Bladder Rock seaweed from the coast of Argyll “mashed in” during brewing with the malted and roasted barley. So no fertilized soil here, just real seaweed plucked from rock pools whilst fighting off bad tempered crabs and hungry blood sucking sea urchins (okay, maybe over dramatizing it there a little bit).

Described as “rich chocolate ale with an aroma of fresh sea breeze and a distinctive malty texture” this dark brown ale certainly had a sweet chocolate smell, but it was the saltiness that put me off trying it to start with. I bulked a little and passed it to Cinabar to take a whiff. She agreed on the sweet salty smell and took a quick sip. She didn’t like it, which made me want to try it. There was an initial malty taste with sweet undertones of chocolate to begin with. There was no bitterness to this ale, it had a smooth quality straight off that somehow then roughened around the edges of my tastebuds, leaving a malty chocolate aftertaste. There was no salty shock to the taste, just this magical roughness at the end of the early smooth malty chocolate flavour. I’ve never experienced a roughness like that in an ale. It had a warming quality that made me think of fishermen struggling against the briny rough sea, cold rain and howling wind. They would have loved this ale on their return to port to dry off beside the fire, just as much as I loved savouring it in my warm armchair in front of the TV with the autumnal weather beating at the window outside.
By Spectre

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