Name – Old Thumper
Brewer – Ringwood
Classification – Strong Ale
Strength – 5.6% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Autumn leaves smeared in toffee. Boar's just love it messy!
On the nose – For a member of the pig family – pretty inoffensive. Nicely rounded, if a little brutish.
On the tongue – This wild pig has been dragging his fat stomach over some steamed pears and crushed cherries. Should I call that a 'juicy underbelly'..?
On the subject – Ringwood Brewery's long serving standard bearer and pace setter.... is a marauding pig.
On the market – Wide UK availability. Overseas demand is strong.
On the whole – 7/10
In the Forest of Dean, they have a Wild Boar problem.
The little critters (actually, they're pretty big) are mating like, well... pigs, and in their growing numbers they are literally carving up the forest floor, leaving a huge mess and changing the entire character of this beloved part of the world.
However, further south in an entirely different forest – Hampshire's New Forest – they have an entirely different class of boar.
Still essentially wild, this boar is more than happy to be picked up and taken into the homes of any ale loving folk who are sensible enough to want to give it a home.
The name of this lovable rascal is 'Old Thumper.'
On behalf of this beer, Ringwood Brewery have been happy to claim all manner of awards including, for those old and wise enough to remember, the CAMRA award for Champion Beer Of Britain way back in the pre-electric days of 1988.
Cynics among you will have long dismissed a brew with such former glory, because these beers deny the explorer you, who is forever on the search, and is always irritated by the familiar.
I'm one of those cynics. However, part of The Bottled Beer Year's mission is to report – almost as a matter of principle – on all beers, including those which are easily available, which routinely glare at us from every supermarket shelf, because The Bottled Beer Year is ever-mindful of the fact that each of these beers was truly wonderful to us once, and perhaps they should be again every once in a while.
Anyway, Old Thumper, being very much one of those beers, is a little less of the fearsome brute which the label would have us believe. I mean, there is a fierceness, but it's certainly not savage – it's more than capable of showing mercy.
It's definitely a beer which aproaches you on the front foot, attacking your taste buds as though they were just another section of floor in the Forest Of Dean, but the attack is measured, and speaking frankly - it's a pleasure to be mauled in such a way as this.
So, like many brews I'll be encountering on the way – this is a well known but very decent ale, and I've taken pleasure in being reminded of it.