I’m sure many beers reached the end of the line this year but I’ll miss three in particular:
St Austell Tinners
Few will mourn the passing of Tinners. It was a copper coloured bitter of 3.7% that was a bit biscuity, a bit nutty, a bit unexciting. But I have fond memories of Tinners from holidays in Cornwall. Around ten years ago it was available in cans and I once bought some from a shop in Tintagel to take on a picnic. We took a disposable barbecue out onto the cliffs overlooking Bossiney Cove and barbecued some peppers, onions and courgettes, washed down with cans of Tinners. You wouldn’t call that ‘gourmet’ food or Tinners ‘fine’ ale, but at that moment in that setting, they were perfect.
Tinners has been replaced with Trelawny a beer brewed with Galaxy hops. St Austell brew some of my favourite beers – Proper Job, Proper Black, Admirals, HSD – but I don’t suppose I’ll ever warm to Trelawny, I’ll always see it as the beer that prompted the end of Tinners.
Buntingford Silent Night
If my fond memories of Tinners are largely to do with the setting, then Buntingford’s Silent Night must be down to the season, for the recipe changed each year. It was a beer brewed each Christmas with a festive label that was “the only truly traditional seasonal aspect of the beer. Everything else is just a cynical ploy to cash in on the festive season”. So no festive spices then, but a surprisingly hoppy and absolutely delicious beer. It must have been 7 or 8 years ago that I first encountered the beer which at the time was available in bottles from Cambridge Wine Merchants. We bought several bottles and I recall when we went to replenish supplies, having an enthusiastic conversation about the beer with the assistant who was also keen to acquire more stock. Alas, it wasn’t bottled again and I didn’t encounter the beer on draught again for years until earlier this month in the Empress in Cambridge. According to Buntingford, it’s ‘quite possibly the last year we’ll be doing it, as we are bored with the idea now’.
Oakham White Dwarf
This pale yellow beer (originally a wheat beer) was regularly seen at festivals around here – I definitely had this several times at Cambridge’s Strawberry Fair and the festivals on Parker’s Piece over the years. It was a very likeable, refreshing beer and at 4.3% was a good summer session beer. Oakham replaced it this year with Scarlet Macaw, another good Oakham ale, but for me a little too sharp to be as quaffable as White Dwarf.
It’s just possible these beers may be brewed again at some point in the future…
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.