St. Peter's Brewery of Suffolk, England reminds us of a bygone era. Their oval-shaped 500ml bottles appear more likely to contain a mysterious brain tonic than beer. And the styles offered are for the most part centuries-old English standards.
Given this, it might be surprising to learn that the brewery was founded less than two decades ago, in 1996. But don't feel duped, there is much about St. Peter's which recalls an old-style brewing operation. The source water for all of their beers comes from beneath their own grounds, they use only local English malts and hops, and much of the beer they produce goes into casks for consumption via hand-pumped beer engines - the staple of the classic British pub. When it comes to St. Peter's Brewery it's like they say - what's old is new again.
Burnished gold in color, this beer is extremely clear, with a delicate, snow-white head. Holding the glass to our nose, we can't help but be reminded of a bar at last call - this is a beer with an aroma which makes us think of, well... beer. As we drink it down, the Golden Ale is pleasant, smooth, malty and balanced. It is reminiscent almost of an Oktoberfest in its crispness, and all in all, a very pleasant brew.
Keeping with tradition (of course), this porter is a blend of dark ale which has been aged and a younger light ale. The resulting color is deep brown, but not opaque, and if held up to the light, one can see hues of black-cherry red. This porter isn't particularly aromatic, but we do get a touch of roasted maltiness and a hint of coffee. Upon first sip, the coffee and roasted barley flavors really take over, and we think this lack of sweetness makes it taste closer to a modern stout than a porter.
Like the Golden Ale, this one is also almost startlingly clear, but it has a deeper hue - copper colored with the faintest hint of pink. The nose is full of fruity hops which are nicely complimented by a soft malt sweetness. The flavor is well-balanced too with woodsy hop notes and a touch of roasted malt character. A tasty beer and quite representative of the less hoppy, more malty English IPA style.
The cream stout is pitch black and opaque, like a strong pot of coffee, but with a head of thick tan-colored foam. Our noses are transported to an English pub, or is that a wine cellar? Roasted malt flavors mix with rich stone-fruit and a surprisingly alcoholic back end, making us wonder if it is really only 6.5%. This is definitely a beer made for the English climate and we wish we were sipping it by a roaring fire on a cold winter's day.