Name – Grantham Stout
Brewer – Oldershaw
Classification – Let's not be silly.
Strength – 4.3% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – That classic stout look. 'Black' might be the optimum word.
On the nose – A sophisticated cocoa-liquorice blend. Foxy!
On the tongue – Vivid complexity. Fresh, light-bodied and sumptuous.
On the subject – Oldershaw have named their stout after their historic home town. To hell with Margaret Thatcher and Issac Newton... this brewery might just be this town's famous name of the future!
On the market – Specialist stores, and a growing local presence. This beauty came direct from the brewery.
On the whole – 8/10
A slow nod of the head followed the first sip of this.
That nod spoke volumes.
Oldershaw have taken a delightfully no-nonsense approach to this beer, but that's not to be confused with a 'no-style' approach.
They've executed this brew with precision, and the complexity is as varied as any stout I've tried for a good old while.
I was almost expecting to discover chunks of dark chocolate, sticks of liqourice and a whole bunch of cocoa beans – so fresh and immediate were these intense flavours.
It's delightfully light in the body. Too much weight, when combined with these darkly powerful flavours, can so often make for a soupy experience, but not here. Not nearly.
This is a fine rendition of a stout. Traditional, but also kind of chic. The SIBA award displayed on the label was clearly well earned – as such awards nearly always are.
However, if I did have a gripe, it would be about that very same label.
There's a point at which that good old micro-brewery 'no-frills' charm starts to flirt dangerously with second rate branding.
And, when the beer behind the label is as good as this, there's something particularly heartbreaking about it.
In this era of ever-increasing artistic obsession, silly stuff like label design begin to matter more than they should.
Ridiculous and tiresome, perhaps. But it is the way of things now.
Great beers risk being overlooked and sidelined, when all that might have saved them was a new set of crayons.