Brewers at Shepherd Neame have deciphered coded 19th century brewers’ logs to create two new beers, a Double Stout and an India Pale Ale.
The recipes were originally written in a cipher to avoid their being copied and taken to rival breweries. The brewery’s archivist and historian, John Owen, has been working with the master brewers to bring these lost brews back to life.
Shepherd Neame first brewed a Double Stout in 1868 and the methods used at Britain’s oldest brewer remain remarkably similar. Most notably, brewing takes place in the UK’s last remaining oak mash tuns. The resultant 5.2% abv beer is glossy and black with a robust hop aroma (from East Kent Goldings) and roasted chocolate nose. It delivers a velvety smooth palate of dry, burnt flavours which are complemented by cocoa and coffee notes.
The brewery’s India Pale Ale followed in 1870. The beer style’s origins are rooted in the creation of a heavily hopped, high alcohol beer that would withstand the rigours of arduous journeys to the colonies. At 6.1% abv, this IPA retains the strength and character that is typical of this iconic, internationally renowned beer. Shepherd Neame’s India Pale Ale is hopped at three stages of the boil, with two varieties of Kentish hops – Fuggles and East Kent Goldings – resulting in a deep golden ale, with spiced fruit notes and a distinctive, heavily hopped bitterness.
The packaging of these beers is also traditional, with amber glass bottles embellished with the brewery’s 19th century logo on the label, neck and crown and designs inspired by imagery held in the brewery archive.
Master brewer Stewart Main says, “It was exciting to re-create this historic pair of British ales and delve into the brewery’s rich history. Something new has come from something old and the resulting two beers are sure to become firm favourites both at home and abroad.”
Double Stout and India Pale Ale are part of Shepherd Neame’s Classic Collection and are available now in 500ml bottles from www.shepherdneame.co.uk/shop or from good independent stockists.
Shepherd Neame is Britain’s oldest brewer and is based in Faversham, Kent. It brews ales including Spitfire, Bishops Finger, 1698, Master Brew and Canterbury Jack plus the lagers Asahi, Sam Adams Boston Lager and Oranjeboom under licence. It operates an estate of more than 350 pubs, inns and hotels in the South East.
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