Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mystic Brewing: Lord Falconer

In medieval times oats were a common ingredient in ale, used to help bitter some beers that were being brewed far too sweet by peasants on farmland. Eventually though, as beer brewing become more precise and they were able to get better efficiency of sugar to alcohol, oats were no longer needed for beer. In The Story of the Pint by Martyn Cornell he mentions that eventually sailors from the era wouldn't even drink an oat ale because it was too bitter. And while a few brewers brewed an stout with oats in it, the style was dead by the 1950's. UNTIL Michael Jackson, the beer hunter, published the first important book on beer, The World Guide to Beer. In that book he mentions a defunct oatmeal stout brewed by Eldridge Pope. This simple chunk of beer history leads Charles Finkel, founder of Merchant du Vin, a very important importer, to commission Samuel Smith to brew an Oatmeal Stout, and a style of beer was resurrected, and Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout became the standard for the style.

So this was a pretty long intro to get to a new beer released from Mystic Brewing, Lord Falconer Oatmeal Stout. Lord Falconer is the first in what I assume will be a collection of beers in the the Wigglesworth series, based on traditional english recipes. The Wigglesworth family settled in the Mystic Valley in 1631 and became prominent East India traders, bringing beer to the streets on Boston. Now we've got Mystic brewing an interpretation in our backyard for us to drink fresh.

Lord Falconer itself pours a heavy and deep black, and the nose is immediately chocolate and roasted sweetness. The taste is at first sweet with a balance of coffee and that bitter breadyness from the oats. First reaction is simple, this beer is amazing, balanced between sweet and tart, but the smoothest I've had from an oatmeal stout. This starts a battle between the best in the category, with Sam Smith's Oatmeal stout, and Founders Breakfast Stout, and I think a side by side is in order. Bottom line, this beer is so tasty, and at $4 a half liter it's worth buying over and over again.

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