St. Botolph’s Town
Beer Type: Yorkshire dark brown ale
Hop Variety: if you can taste any let us know
Malt Variety: all of the primary malts for this beer come from Thomas Fawcett & Son, Yorkshire
Color: deep reddish brown in the light, brown to black on the bar
When Martha and I began thinking about what type of beer to brew next for PRETTY THINGS, there was no discussion. In fact we’ve had it figured out for years. We both had our hearts set on brewing the sort of beer we loved so much in Yorkshire.
Many people know that Martha and I love Theakston’s Old Peculier, at least the cask version. But Robinson’s Old Tom is high on our list as well. Now that Samuel Smith has released Yorkshire Stingo that makes three. At the brewery where I worked in Yorkshire we made a unique beer called “Morocco Ale” that is quite similar as well.
Obviously PRETTY THINGS isn’t all about simple replication. As a rule we don’t do beer “styles” straight up, as it doesn’t leave any room for creativity. Instead we take our inspiration from great beers as a starting point.
“Rustic Dark Ale”, is about as apt a descriptor as we could come up with for Saint Botolph’s Town (we almost used “New World Stingo” but decided to save that for a future beer). This ale is formulated with the malts of Thomas Fawcett & Sons of Yorkshire, England as its base. When I was brewing in Yorkshire I visited this magnificent maltings many times, seeing crystal and roasted malts still made by hand. On brew day their crystal malt gave an amazing golden raisin-like aroma in the kettle. Fantastic!
As we did in Jack D’Or, we used a small amount of Malted Oats, but cut it this time with Torrefied Wheat. We “chaptalized” using four different types of sugar in very small doses for both flavour AND colour.
SBT is fermented with two yeast strains for a unique rustic finish. But it’s in the yeast strains where this beer really departs from the typical: one is a German ale strain, the other is a common English strain. Why? Because it’s about the flavour, not just ticking the “style” boxes.
In the end we have an ale of 5.9% abv with a big malty, almost smokey Black Malt character, a bitter attack from Fuggle hops, a rich barleymalt finish, some dried coconut hints and an old ale acidity around the edges. We’ve even timed its tan head, standing proud for ten minutes!
The name “Saint Botolph’s Town” is in tribute to our great home in America: Boston. The original Boston in Lincolnshire, England is an abbreviation of “Botolph’s Town” or “Botolph’s Stone”. When we were back in Yorkshire recently, we found a churchyard where St. Botolph spoke in the year 675; a ‘stump’ (broken old cross) marks the spot. Saint Botolph is a 7th century saint from England whose feast day is June 17th. Perhaps a great day to save a bottle or two for!