Name of beer
What the brewer says
“Named after the dark 17th Century investment scheme, Tontine is a contemporary North East milk stout, brewed using both chocolate and crystal malts, which gives this a distinctive black colour. The roasted aroma and flavour are complemented by a gentle sweet aftertaste, obtained from natural milk sugars. Unconventional Darkness."
While I yet again find myself apologising for a gap in the blogging, its an early Poets Day Pint this week, as I settle down for a long weekend of walking and relaxing, as well as starting my next batches of home brew.
As I'm walking up the Durham Coast tomorrow, starting a Crimdon, close to Hartlepool, I thought I would look to that shipping town for inspiration and have returned to a beer that I've tried on tap, but not yet from the bottle, Tontine.
I've been intrigued by the name for some time, having come across it a couple of times now on or around the A19. The reference on the bottle to a "dark 17th Century investment scheme" led me to look it up and, indeed, it's as dark as the beer that takes its name.
A tontine is an annuity shared by investors, whose share of the pot increases as each member of the scheme dies, with the final amount going to the last survivor.
To be fair, my past experiences of the beer, Tontine, have been on nights out when I've wandered into a Head of Steam pub, run by the brewer, Camerons. So, it's been an experience, but not one that I have overly dwelt upon, though my recollections are positive.
It's very dark, with lots of roasted aroma and flavour.
If your only experience of dark beers is of Guinness, then you'll probably find Tontine surprisingly light.
The aftertaste is pleasantly mild and moreish and I'm not convinced a 330ml bottle is quite sufficient.
I can imagine enjoying a 500ml serving, or perhaps preferring it as a pint, rather than a bottle. But this takes nothing away from the drink, rather compliments its flavour and the fact it doesn't sit too heavy (in fact, it's lighter than some mid-range bitters).
Overall, the bottled version is a reminder of the very enjoyable pint, but not quite a satisfactory replacement. But then, at £1.80 a bottle in the supermarket, when you would easily pay twice that for a pint, it's no less value for money.
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I’m 44, I don’t (always) have a beard (partly because when I try it is patchy, has gaps, with ginger and grey bits) and don’t take a clipboard to the pub. So, I’m not the stereotypical real ale fan of old, in the style that I was always told to look out for...read more