I recently downloaded the Real Ale Finder app and spotted that one of my favourite local breweries had released a gingerbread stout. I absolutely love ginger spices and it's not just for Christmas in my house! The very next day I made my way down to The Steamboat in South Shields to try Tyne Bank's Down Drury Lane for myself.
It's a lovely dark chocolate brown colour but very opaque, more milky than cloudy due to the use of oat milk in the brewing process. The light brown head is amazingly tight and it's one that Guinness would be proud of. I was almost quivering with anticipation to get my first mouthwatering whiff of ginger, but sadly couldn't detect anything remotely ginger-like in the aroma. The smell is hard to describe, it's perhaps most reminiscent of sweet raisins and bitter chocolate.
Ok, so no ginger in the smell...on to the taste. The first thing I noticed is that there is NO GINGER! Oh no, I could have cried. My only concern before tasting it was whether it would be gingery enough; I didn't expect it to not be gingery at all. The taste is very odd indeed, tangy, sour and bitter but no spiciness. If I had to describe it, I'd say it was a chocolate milkshake that had been made with sour milk and had a dash of coffee added to it then mixed into a stout. Rather thin-bodied but very smooth, as a funky stout experiment it's not bad by any means but it was just not what I expected.
Not one I'd recommend or Ale Be Seeing Again, unfortunately. I desperately wanted to detect some ginger but I don't think even Sherlock Holmes could have detected it.
Brewed by Tyne Bank Brewery, Newcastle