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.
1872’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.
About Jeff Evans
Jeff Evans was born in South Wales and is a language graduate from the University of Reading.
He began writing professionally about beer in the 1980s, putting years of practical experience to good use.
In 1990 he became Editor of CAMRA’s best-selling Good Beer Guide, piloting the ‘beer lover’s bible’ through eight successive and successful editions.
He has subsequently written eight editions of the Good Bottled Beer Guide for CAMRA Books, as well as The Book of Beer Knowledge and A Beer a Day for the same publishers. His acclaimed e-book, Beer Lover’s Britain, is currently available for Kindle.
Jeff is a resident beer reviewer for All About Beer magazine in the USA. He has written regularly for journals such as What’s Brewing, Off Licence News, Morning Advertiser, Restaurant, Brewers’ Guardian and Class.
Jeff also hosts regular public talks and tastings, and has often been heard and seen sharing his passion for beer on radio and television. He has judged beer on both sides of the Atlantic and has been Chairman of the Judges for the International Beer Challenge for the past twelve years.
Among his awards, Jeff has been judged Beer Writer of the Year by his colleagues in the British Guild of Beer Writers and has won the Budvar Travel Bursary for features on foreign breweries and beers.
In 2008, his book A Beer a Day won the Coors Brewers National Journalism Award at the British Guild of Beer Writers Awards. Jeff followed this in 2009 by winning the Wells & Young’s Business to Business Journalism Award at the same event.