I love it when a beer makes you stop and completely rethink what you’d already assumed. I love it. That moment of ‘wait a minute...’ or that ‘holy shit’ reaction that just gets you excited. That’s what happened with these St Peter’s beers – The Saints and Suffolk Smokey.
They arrived in the post way before Christmas. It was probably October. It got bundled up in starting a new job and trying to move house and it got added to the list of beers to be drunk when I got the chance (even if they did look great and included peated malt and whisky. I love the peaty flavour in whisky – I can’t get enough of it, I want it to be pungent and intense and to sear through my sinuses).
They are both a modest 4.8% and both are deep gold in colour, so not your usual black beer with whisky. The Saints includes ‘a measure of whisky’ from the English Whisky Co while the Suffolk Smokey is made with peated distilling malt.
The Saints has that background and edge of whisky and smoke. There’s a big apple note, and stone fruit, some tutti fruity cheekiness, then a wisp of smoke through it all adding a brilliant depth and interest to it. As it warms the whisky gets more intense, more in your face, and I love that – it gets rougher, peatier, less fruity. It surprised me in the best of ways.
Suffolk Smokey is all about the smoke and peat – bonfires and earth. It’s more smoke in the nose than in the flavour, but it adds that back-of-the-mouth roughness of peat, an earthiness that mixes with the bitterness. It’s fantastic – the only problem was the lack of carbonation in the bottle (it didn’t pffft when the cap came off and felt flat, which dulled the flavours for me).
I couldn’t get enough of these. I love how the whisky in put was pungent yet still refined, I love what the peated malt added to it, love how the glug of whisky in The Saints gave a fruit depth you’d never get in beer alone and love how the beers were pale which allowed the whisky to play the starring role without the charry, dark notes of roasted malt. Whisky and beer done well.