Driftwood Spars Pudding Ale (500ml bottle, 7.5% ABV)
Pudding is bad for you, they say. Beer is bad for you, they say. Oh well, having decided to be bad, you might as well combine the two and go for a pudding beer. Having said that, there is one group of people for whom Pudding Ale won’t be bad, because Driftwood Spars’ entire range is now certified gluten free. For coeliacs, this is virtually health food!*
Pudding Ale is well named, although it could just as easily have been called something like Christmas Cake Beer. One sip gives a welter of fruitcake flavours – raisins, dates, rich malt and an almost brandyish character due to the high alcohol. Hops unsurprisingly take a back seat, while the thick, syrupy texture makes it drop down as easily as a hippo on a water slide – slow but inevitable. It finishes with a long, warming glow of malty, fruity goodness.
On the bottle, there are all sorts of recommendations for food pairings and how the beer can be used as a recipe ingredient. I beg to differ: this one needs to be savoured on its own.
Written by Richard Salsbury
* You might want to get a second opinion from someone who actually knows about nutrition.