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Classic Beer of the Month September 2018: Mordue Workie Ticket

Mordue Workie Ticket, 4.5%

This year’s Great British Beer Festival saw a welcome return to the limelight for a beer that once claimed CAMRA’s highest accolade.

Mordue Workie TicketIn 1997, tiny Mordue Brewery, on the outskirts of Newcastle, stunned the beer world by winning the much-coveted Champion Beer of Britain title.

The five-barrel brewery – founded by brothers Matthew and Garry Fawson – had been in existence just a couple of years and so remained a bit of a mystery to most of the country’s drinkers.

The name of the winning beer proved equally enigmatic. The Fawsons called it Workie Ticket, which apparently is a Geordie term for a troublemaker, someone known to feign injury in order to obtain a ‘ticket’ that would get them out of working in the local pits and shipyards.

The win caused a stir in the city. 'Everyone is excited about our victory,' declared Garry a few days after the result was announced. 'It’s like the support for Newcastle United.'

Gold Medal

Well, it looks as if Mordue is doing rather better than its local football team at the moment, because Workie Ticket was back on top of the league last month when it claimed the gold medal for Best Bitter at this year’s Champion Beer of Britain contest.

Strangely, I had already scribbled its name on my list of beers to check out at this year’s festival and so I had to move fast to make sure I could buy some once the awards were announced.

I wanted to try it again to see how a former champion beer was faring these days and I’m glad that I did.

The CAMRA volunteers had kept the beer in tip-top condition, filling my glass with an inviting deep amber liquid that delivered a rich aroma of nutty malt, courtesy of the pale, crystal and chocolate malts that go into the mash tun, along with a little wheat.

The taste was generally bittersweet. Lush, sweet malt coated the tongue, bringing suggestions of hazelnut that contrasted with delicate rose-like floral notes from the Challenger, Fuggle and East Kent Golding hops.

I found the beer satisfying in both body and flavour, ending with a dry, smoothly bitter and nutty finish.

If I wasn’t self-employed, it would be the sort of beer I’d skive off work to enjoy.

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