Breakfast Beer Tasting: Thwaites Big Ben

Hot on the heels of local brewery Ramsbottom Craft yesterday, today we see us move just up the road to Lancashire proper. Daniel Thwaites should need no introduction-well I’m not going to give them one-as they’ve been a presence on the brewing scene since before even Big Brother started. They’ve stepped up to the plate in recent times to meet the challenge of the emerging craft beer scene and have produced some excellent specials on their in-house micro-brewery. This beer is part of their Crafty Dan range and aims to carve a place for them in the lucrative take home market.
It’s a craft sized 330ml and is a 5.8% Brown Ale. The packaging is excellent and the label tells you all you need to know: the hops (Fuggles, Goldings, Challenger, Citra, Chinook, Summit), the malt (Pale Ale & Crystal), the brewer (John Williams) and even the recipe (LBA14, in case you were wondering). It poured lighter, more ruby, than a true Brown Ale: to be expected with the malts involved. There was good carbonation which settled to give a small beige head. On the nose there were toffee and Demerara sugar notes and a tang of vinous fruit.

The body is quite light given its strength and delivers plenty of flavour. There’s plum and raisins (or is it just because it’s Christmas?) but no roast to speak of. This is a traditional, if souped-up, Brown Ale and not a New World interpretation of one. The English hops come to the fore here with caramel and a slight earthiness but the American hops work their magic in the background to give a satisfying, fruit-led, dry finish. A masterclass in how not to let Crystal malt ruin the party.

Tyson says: Complex and satisfying. This is easy drinking for its strength and delivers on its promise.


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