After 200 years of successfully making and selling beer Daniel Thwaites must have a pretty good idea as to what does and doesn’t make a great beer. But everyone likes a pick-me-up from time to time, so even after two centuries the following review from a local paper of the brewery’s celebratory Double Century brew will have made highly satisfying reading.
Beside a top score five stars for presentation, for aroma, for taste and for aftertaste the critic wrote: “The beer’s good too. There is a malty perfume to the aroma, though the taste balances this beautifully with the significant bitterness generated by the double hopping process, and there’s a surge of dried fruit to it as it heads for the throat.
“Hints of yeasty marmite even creep in to a long and warming aftertaste. I may be wrong, but I suspect Thwaites Double Century is the first ever beer to get straight fives in this column. I’m sure Daniel would be quietly delighted.”
Certainly the brewery’s staff are. For what made this review even more special was the fact that the local paper was not local to Blackburn where Thwaites is based, but to Leeds, across the border in white rose country. Evidence if ever there were any needed that Thwaites is moving forward in to the future.
The success of a Lancashire beer with drinkers in Yorkshire shouldn’t be under-estimated. Thwaites is Blackburn through and through. Its sponsorships start at the grass roots of the town and stretch up to Lancashire’s county cricket team. Its beers reflect the tastes of a traditional community built originally on cotton, and it has turned to the region’s history for inspiration as it celebrates 200 years since Daniel Thwaites first built a brewery just a few metres away from the current site.
Wainwright, for instance, is a delightful refreshing blonde ale that started life as a seasonal ale but has now become a permanent fixture on the bar. It is named after Alfred Wainwright, who was born in Blackburn but became famous for his intricate and detailed pictorial guides to the Lake District, reproduced lovingly in a box set these days and still used as a bible by walkers.
And this autumn the company will launch Flying Shuttle, a wonderfully rich and tasty dark beer named not in reference to the railways but to the piece of equipment that converted cotton making in to a worldwide commercial industry and put the towns from this region at the forefront of the industrial revolution.