Ascot Ales is brewery I will often select early at beer festivals, not only because I like it but also because it tends to run out. Ascot although not the largest of breweries is a well known and popular brewer. They have a fine range of beers, but the one which really stands out to me is Anastasia’s Exile Stout – this beer really is a lesson in dark beers and the flavours which they contain.
The nose is one of coffee with some chocolate and a strong smoky aroma.
An initial slightly sweet smoky caramel flavour quickly changes to a deeply smoked malty middle with dark chocolate and ends in the medium bitter taste of roasted malts.
In the past on Beer of the Weekend I have selected some of the milder dark beers, the ones which would hopefully lead a drinker to trying dark beer and seeing if they like it. Anastasia’s Exile Stout is a bigger step and maybe a little far for those more used to classic bitters or the lighter hoppier side of ale – but don’t let this put you off. Whereas the light beers I have showcased the past weeks have started to include some of the much more heavily hopped beers Anastasia’s Exile Stout swings to completely the opposite end of the beer spectrum being a deep and dark beer.
The taste of roasted chocolate or black malt in this beer is really impressive and not only does this give the beer a deep smoky, almost burnt flavour, but it also gives it a deep black colour. When you pour this beer it has a brown bubbly head and the aroma is full of the aromas which you quickly associate with stouts.
Stouts are often brewed at very high ABV and this means they do tend to be more sipping beers rather than supping beers – but Anastasia’s Exile Stout is 5%, it hides this medium strength (low for stouts) within its strong flavours and you could easily be fooled into thinking it is stronger than it is. This beer would be superb with a good meat pie, rich stews or even accompanying smoked food as a complimentary flavour – however it will overpower many flavours so delicate smoked food might be lost in the beer.
I would highly recommend this beer to anyone who likes a dark beer, especially those that enjoy stouts and smoky porters – but would double recommend it to those who like imperial stouts as this has some of the smoky flavours without the higher ABV (though not the rich fruits often found in imperial stouts).
For those who prefer the hoppy side of beer, I would still recommend giving Anastatsias’s Exile Stout a try as it has some flavours which you simply will not find in golden or amber ales – and you may find that you really like dark beer.
To find out where you can try Ascot Ales, check out their website for a list of stockists and online retailers.