Malt-heads rejoice – this post isn’t hopped up to the nines. Instead I’m going to sing the praises of a Somerset-brewed old ale from the Moor Beer Company (whose pun-alicious tagline is Drink Moor Beer – who said banter was dead?), which has recently found its way onto Irish shelves.
Old Freddy Walker is the name and big flavour is the game (OK, maybe banter is actually dead).
This beautiful dark concoction is advertised as an ‘old ale’ – a legit and wholesomely warming style of beer – but could quite happily pass as a fruity porter for all but the most hardnosed of BJCP style lovers. Then again, as I’ve said before, who gives a toss what style it is when the liquid in the bottle is delicious.
Moor have set themselves apart from the majority of the UK beer market by only bottling their beers in 66cl format (known by our American cousins as “bombers, dude”) and are fully committed to not fining any of their brews: no fish-guts in sight here folks (don’t know what I’m talking about? Give ‘isinglass’ a quick Google). They make a great range of diverse brews, a few of which popped up in Irish offies just after Christmas (albeit for a small fortune!).
Old Freddy Walker is one of those ‘sippers’. You’re not going to be shotgunning this down your throat and heading off to the club. It’s big, flavoursome, and 7.4% ABV – a real ‘down-by-the-fireside’ drink. The pour is jet black with a massive head of tan foam – it looks dark and decadent. First thing to hit you on the nose is a huge amount overripe dark fruit: loads of prunes, figs, and blackberries. Alongside this you get some tasty smokiness and sweet, sweet treacle. The taste is where this beaut comes alive: all of the intense, concentrated dark fruitiness is matched blow-for-blow by dark chocolate, treacle, light smokiness, roasted notes, and then a touch of semi-tart berry and a lightly astringent citric hop bite. It’s a real powerhouse of flavour – the aftertaste goes on and on and on. It took me nearly two hours to drink this 66cl bottle and I enjoyed every bloody second of it.
Retail price on this fella is admittedly pretty high (between eight and ten quid if memory serves), but if you can get hold of one then it’s certainly cash well spent.