Saturday, 16 February 2013

Bloomsbury Brown Ale

There's been quite a bit of talk recently about low-gravity beers. Tandleman, in particular, posted about a couple of them; one dark and the other light - both produced by well respected brewers, Dark Star and Saltaire respectively.

I experienced an almost "Road to Damascus" - like conversion the other night, whilst drinking one of the beers I was given for Christmas. Amongst several beer-related festive gifts, was an eight bottle presentation box of Harvey's beers. Harvey's are quite unusual in that they still offer a wide range of beers in traditional half pint (275ml), returnable, multi-trip  bottles. Twenty or thirty years ago there would have been nothing remarkable about this, but those breweries that still produce bottled beers today, do so in non-returnable, one-trip 500ml bottles, designed to fit on supermarket shelves.

I've been gradually drinking my way through them. and indeed the other day drank, and reviewed, their Diamond Jubilee Elizabethan Ale. Lurking in the box was one called Bloomsbury Brown (formerly Nut Brown). It weighs in at just 2.8% yet is bursting with flavour, and proved to be a remarkably pleasant drink. The bottle features a picture of  the artist Duncan Grant, who was a member of the influential "Bloomsbury Group" of  writers, painters and intellectuals, during the 1920's. Along with his partner Vanessa Bell,   Grant made his home at  Charleston Farmhouse,  on the South Downs, not far from Lewes. With his long greybeard, straw hat and farmers smock, he looks every bit the bohemian artist of legend. The blurb on the bottle tells us that Harvey's Nut Brown was reputed to be one of  Grant's favourite drinks.

It certainly is very pleasant and, given the right mood,  is a beer I could quite happily drink all night. I'm wondering whether this beer is a bottled version of Harvey's Sussex Mild, in the same way that their Blue Label is a bottled version of their Best Bitter. Anyone got any thoughts on this?


David, Little Omenden Farm and Nursery said...

Not sure if the Bloomsbury brown is the Mild in bottle, but as you say, it's a decent drop-I had a taste at Charleston a couple of years back, after we'd been to the Cricketers at Berwick-a cracking pub with Harvey's straight from the barrel.I'd been wanting to visit that pub for over 35 years-well worth the wait!

Paul Bailey said...

Ah, the Cricketers at Berwick. A real gem of a pub. I've only been there a couple of times myself, but definitely worth a return visit. Gravity served Harvey's and good food, served in plain, simple surroundings, against the backdrop of the South Downs. No wonder the Bloomsbury mob fell in love with this part of the country.