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Classic Beer of the Month March 2016: Elland 1872 Porter

Elland 1872 Porter, 6.5%

Elland’s 1872 Porter is a sumptuous dark ale from Yorkshire. More than that, it is the most successful beer of modern times in CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain awards.

Elland 1872 Porter1872’s success began relatively modestly with a silver medal in the Stouts and Porters category of the competition in 2008 but then moved to a new level a year later when it was judged overall Champion Winter Beer of Britain.

It has since claimed that prestigious title two more times and went a step further in 2013 when it was declared supreme Champion Beer of Britain.

The brewers, however, have not rested on these laurels. The standard of the beer has continued to remain high, and only last month it finished runner-up in the Champion Winter Beer competition yet again.

This magnificent porter was recreated – from an 1872 recipe, as the name suggests – by brewer Dave Sanders about twelve years ago, when the brewery was known as Eastwood & Sanders.

It is brewed from Maris Otter pale malt, along with brown, amber and chocolate malts and some invert sugar. The hops are Northdown and Target.

Treacle and Chocolate

If the deep garnet colour doesn’t provide enough clues about the character of the beer, the aroma certainly gives the game away, loaded with creamy suggestions of dark chocolate, treacle, wafer biscuits and tobacco.

The taste that follows brings more treacle and chocolate, some caramel and a hint of sour cream. It sounds like a malt fest, and it is, but it’s skilfully put together to avoid becoming heavy or cloying and falls just on the bitter side of bittersweet.

The finish is then dry, bitter and filled with roasted grains, a caramel note also lingering.

When I highlighted the beer, and gave it a star award, in the Good Bottled Beer Guide, I suggested it would make a great pudding beer, and it definitely would.

I can see those rich chocolate and treacle notes blending wonderfully with a dark chocolate dessert, but it’s also a stunning beer to just drink on its own – as all those recent awards confirm.

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