​Black & Tan


Historical context notwithstanding, the last time I had a craft beer version of a ‘Black & Tan’ - De Molens’ new brew it was, I think in 2018 in Haarlem’s very own Uiltje Bar. I was happily surprised- be bye pints of Tennant’s & Guinness, hello a new, more sophisticated* life chapter. I was intrigued then, to see De Molen’s take on this- an Imperial Stout/Barleywine blend based on a myriad of chestnuts (chestnut honey, chestnut mushrooms and chestnuts themselves) and walnut. Was I surprised to see chestnuts of all things in a beer? Yes, but as we all know my love for the classic Peer & Walnoot (Pear & Walnut), I’m willing to give it a shot!

The initial taste of the beer is pure stout- the base of which has a beautifully velvety, rich, texture which reminds me of Babi & Pangang, even down to the scent with a very candied smell. The hit, though, is the full force of the chestnut. This reminds me of that sweetened chestnut paste my family used to stock up on in France every summer to ensure we could

have a delicious Buche de Noel at Christmas. I also definitely did not eat it directly from the tin when they weren’t looking…

So enough of the stout- where’s the barleywine? I find it comes out in the mid-taste, and it also has a hand in ensuring the rich stout texture doesn’t become overwhelming by bringing some of its brightness and fizz. Perfect balance! Thanks to this, this beer has a lighter ending that you’d expect, without compromising on the rich taste. The chestnut remains prominent as a malty, coffee flavour emerges, which the walnut compliments.

I always find it interesting to try to parse out which parts of Black & Tan beers comes from which component, and while that’s a fun challenge, I can sum this one up as it just being a fantastic beer, regardless of whether you are prone to forensically analyse it or just want a rich treat in this seemingly never-ending winter, so I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

*Sadly untrue. You can take the girl out of the student bars but…

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