|Rascal London Porter by Inveralmond Brewery|
Style-wise, they're a dark heavy-hopped beer - a precursor to stouts - and were hugely popular during the Industrial Revolution but fell out of favour after the Second World War; an unfashionable weak drink for old men. Now, however, thanks to our ongoing renaissance in good beer, brewers have increasingly been looking back to old styles to brew great new beers and have revived this wonderful old style.
Midnight Sun from Williams Brothers, Smog Rocket by Beavertown and Porter by Anchor are great examples of the porter style. So too is Inveralmond Brewery's latest offering, Rascal, a dark, smooth and beautifully balanced bittersweet beer that comes in at 5.6%.
Rascal's the third release in Inveralmond's Inspiration series of world beers, and follows the Sunburst pilsner and De Mons Belgian Abbey beer. Those two were excellent, and Rascal is a very worthy successor, so much so that it won Wetherspoon's Champion Beer of Britain only a few weeks after its release (and prior to its official launch).
Crack this rapscallion open and you're greeted with chocolate aroma, roasted malts, and some tangy citrus hops. Spices and a bit of salt too.
Rascal pours a deep, dark and broody brown, with a head the colour of bone washed up on the beach.
Taste it though and this is a beer full of life and character. Initially, the tangy citrus hops work wonders with the rich, dark malts - a bit of young sapling there, also some blackberry and burnt sugar; the roasted flavours so well balanced by the vibrant bittering.
And then it eases, slightly, into a long, amiable bittersweet finish that hugs you and asks, very persuasively, for more. A brilliant beer.