Shepherd Neame's Classic Collection

When a brewery is the oldest in the land – and organised enough to keep its records – you can betcha there’s some entertaining stuff in them thar archives.Shepherd Neame Classic Ales

And so it is with Shepherd Neame’s latest arrivals in its Classic Collection series.

Based on recipes from the 1860s and 1870s, its Double Stout and India Pale Ale offer great taste as well as a nod to history.

As well as the liquids inside, I’m loving the usage of the 19th century logo on the label, and the fact that the designs have been inspired by archive imagery. Certainly gives it standout appeal.

“It was exciting to recreate this historic pair of British ales and delve into the brewery’s rich history,” said master brewer Stewart Main. "Something new has come from something old."

Shepherd Neame dray horseThe Double Stout first appeared in 1868, and seems just as welcome now as it must have done then. Deepest black, there’s medium to strong mocha flavours on both nose and palate, with none of the burnt toast flavours you get with some less accomplished dark beers. It finishes nice and clean. Ideal winter beer as is, and perhaps lightly chilled in warmer times.

 The India Pale Ale is a pleasing 6.1%, in a nod, I suspect, to the true strengths of those beers that needed to survive the rigours of the sea.

And what flavours. There’s an excellent mix of malts supplying the base for a medium hop hit, from our two Kent stars, East Kent Goldings and Fuggles. A touch of sweetness in the malt, plus lovely fruit and pine mix on the finish wrapped up with herbs and orange peel. I’d be interested to see how this develops.

  • 50cl, from Shepherd Neame’s online shop and good independent retailers