129. Nethergate Old Growler

It was while making plans to attend next weekend’s Colchester Winter Ale Festival that I realised I still have beer left from a previous visit to Britain’s oldest town.

This was actually a lucky find on the shelves of a neighbourhood Co-op, and it has been sitting patiently in The Official Threehundredbeers Cardboard Box ever since. It’s cold today, and this looks like a good winter beer, so the time has come.

Nethergate Old Growler

Old Growler is a Porter brewed in Pentlow, near Colchester, hence the ease of finding it there. On pouring, it appears an opaque black, but held up to the light it’s a handsome dark ruby colour. There’s a lovely dense tan head that coats the glass and sticks around a lot longer than I seem to find with most bottled beers.

The aroma is malty and fruity, without any particularly pronounced hop notes. In that sense, it smells reminiscent of a Brown Ale or strong Mild.

It’s tasty stuff: strong in flavour, smooth and with a big full body. There’s a pronounced caramel sweetness almost like a Scottish “Heavy” style beer. I’m reminded of the old McEwan’s 90/- ale, but also Old Peculier, if somewhat sweeter.

Old Growler is just a little bit roasty, as befits a Porter, and the sweetness is happily balanced by a modest peppery hop bitterness, which sits quietly underneath. As suspected, this is a great winter beer. We’ve a couple more Nethergate beers to track down too, so I’ll have my eyes peeled next weekend.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Nethergate Brewery, Pentlow, Essex, England
Style: Porters and Stouts
Strength: 5.5% ABV
Found at: Co-op Foodstore, Wimpole Road, Colchester, Essex
Serving: 500ml bottle

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