Tag Archives: porter

MAGE is born….or brewed

Today I went over to Fownes Brewery in Gornal to help them put the finishing touching on the special edition real ale I helped them brew, MAGE. This real ale was specially commissioned to tie in with the publication of my new novel, Mageborn, book 1 in the new Age of Dread trilogy. Today at the brewery we were labelling up the bottles and boxing them up. Behold the tasty, delicious darkness that is MAGE, a 5% porter.

I also had my first taste and I was super nervous. What if after all of this I didn’t like it? In the past I’ve ordered or bought beers and in theory they have all the things I like, but when I actually taste them it I’ve been disappointed. I am hugely relieved to say MAGE tastes fantastic. I really like it.

It was really special to see it today having been there at the beginning. And don’t they all look gorgeous lined up together in neat rows in that box! The beady eyed amongst you will also notice there is an abbreviated version of the Mageborn summary on the label as well. I’m pleased to say bottles of MAGE will be there on Wednesday night in Birmingham at the Mageborn launch to drink or take away for later.

Summer might be over, but today it didn’t stop me from sitting out in the sunshine this afternoon and enjoying a nice dark beer. Cheers!



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Real Ale: Plum Porter – Titanic Brewery

I’ve not done one of these in ages, and I’m not really sure why. I’m busy but I’ve also still been regularly drinking real ale, so I’ve no real excuse. Now I’m at the point where I look at the shelves in my local shop, farm shop, supermarket and say ‘ Have I tried that one?’ and I’m not really sure. So this is now becoming a personal record as well!

So, my first real ale post ┬áin a while and it is my favourite type of ale – a porter.

Plum Porter Titanic Brewery“This beer is dark strong and well rounded; the richness of such a rotund beer is brought to an even keel by the late addition of Goldings hops and natural plum flavouring. Take the opportunity and go for the low hanging fruit, this sumptuous beer really is a plum!”

This is a rather special porter. I will say right now, I don’t like fruit beers, that is any that say ‘a hint of citrus’ or ‘a zesty finish’. They are just not for me. If I’m browsing in the shop and I see that on the tasting notes, it goes back on the shelf. Orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit in a beer are not for me. I’ll have the fruit and the beer separate. So, having said all of that, a fruit porter. My initial response was to put it back but it’s not citrus and I’ve had coffee, toffee, liquorice and smoky porters, but never a plum porter.

This is a really tasty beer. It’s not zesty, but also the plum taste is very clear. You can smell it and the colour is a rich purple when you hold it up to the light. And I’m delighted to say it really works. The ale has a slightly bitter aftertaste, more than I was expecting, but it’s not unpleasant. Also at 4.7% it’s not too heavy at all and could make for a good session ale. It has won several awards over the years and I can see why. A really pleasant surprise and much tastier than I was expecting.

The Plum Porter is brewed by Titanic brewery based out of Stoke on Trent which was founded in 1985. So it’s relatively new, if you can count a 30 plus year old brewery to be new these days. There is a lot of information on their website about them and all of their beers, including a chocolate and a vanilla stout, and a cappuccino stout! They’re not a brewery I’ve come across before but since moving to a different part of the country the local shops stock all sorts of new beers. I will definitely try another of theirs in the future and keep an eye out for their stouts.

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Real Ale: Heron Porter – Two Roses Brewery

A rich deep scarlet beer with chocolate on the nose and a full round smooth flavour.

Heron PorterThis 4.2% Porter is one of my favourites from a local Yorkshire brewery, the Two Roses Brewery. So far, it’s definitely in my top 10 porters. At the moment I drink more of this, Ilkley Black (which I covered a while back) and one other I’m going to talk about soon from the Copper Dragon Brewery, than any other real ales. I’m definitely developing quite a think for porters and ruby ales over pale and stouts. I’m also slowly working out which hops I like and don’t as more and more breweries list which type they use on the bottle or website.

This ale has also been described as having hints of chocolate, bananas and cherries. I’ve no idea about the last two, but there is definitely a hint of chocolate, but this isn’t a sweet drink at all. Far from it, in fact there is definitely a slightly earthy taste and it’s so red it’s almost black when poured, so at first glance you might mistake it for a pint of the Irish Black Stuff. It’s only 4.2% so it’s very light and incredibly smooth to drink and a single pint or bottle doesn’t leave you feeling bloated or heavy. Very little fizz or froth, a lovely taste without a sour aftertaste.

There’s a lot of squabbling and splitting hairs about porters and stouts, which I won’t go into, but for me personally, I prefer it when porters are not heavy drinks. Stouts are usually much stronger and heavier. You can’t have more than two without feeling like you’ve had a big meal and need a sleep. The porters I tend to drink are nothing like that and you could have two without feeling bloated, drunk, or that you’ve just eaten a giant roast dinner! All of which is a long way of saying you could have a couple of these and easily have room for something else.

For 2013, Heron Porter is in my top 10 real ales. Highly recommended.

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