It's raining, cold and damp outside. Pouring with chilly rain and I'm sat up in bed with a cup of tea on the side and a hankering for ale. Famous for their range of light IPAs to full-bodied chocolate stouts, the Rebel Brewing Company in Cornwall very kindly sent me two of their dark 5% volume Cornish Eighty Shilling ale. They also sent me a rather fetching pint glass to drink them out of. To save my usual pottery beer tankard from growing jealous of the new pint glass, I opted for my Star Trek beer glass instead as internal beer blogging politics are never easy!
Eighty Shilling was named after the nineteenth century tax in Scotland on a fifty-four gallon hogshead of beer between 4.5 and 5% in volume. Hence why there's images of the Loch Ness Monster, bagpipes used as hot air balloons and a Hog adventurer on the label. Described as a 'winter warmer' this dark ale's label talks of roasted malt flavours and hoppy bitterness, which made my tastebuds tingle in anticipation. Having said that I have no idea what Celtic Food may be to eat with the ale to wash it down with. A quick look on the Internet showed me that Celtic Food is not particularly different than what we eat today, asides wild bears (there aren't any, so I guess the Celts ate them all) and beavers (I'll leave you to make up your own jokes!) and foxes (no thanks). I can't be bothered to catch a wild boar at the moment (it's still raining) to eat with with root vegetables, nuts and berries on the side, so I'll settle for drinking this first bottle without an Iron Age type delicacy.
On opening the bottle there was a dark roasted malt smell. The almost black ale poured smoothly into my beer glass (sorry Rebel, I will use the pint glass, it just needs to be introduced slowly into the fold) with a creamy head. There was an initial roasted malt flavour on first taste, which was quickly pounced on by a hoppy bitterness, but there were other flavours here to treat my tastebuds. As the bitterness subsides the chocolate malt kicked in with rich black coffee undertones. Yum. I'm so glad I have two bottles! This ale was definitely a winter warming treat. I'm certain all of Scotland would be proud. So if you're ever on a wet and rainy slog from Lands End to John O'Groats, you'll certainly not feel a fool cracking open a couple of these Eighty Shillings when you arrive. Oh, and don't forget to catch a wild boar on the way!