Black Isle (Inverness), Porter – 4.6%, £3.60
Established in 1998, the Black Isle brewery has a wide portfolio of beers, ranging from traditional scotch ales and barley wines, through to crisp, contemporary blondes and ruby ales, all with purely organic malts and hops.
It comes at a cost (organic malt is double the price of the normal variety, and organic hops are only available in limited varieties at eye-watering prices), but compared to other non-Organic UK brewers, they remain very competitively priced.
Their brewing versatility and the appeal of a natural product, untainted by pesticides or chemicals has meant that they’ve gone from strength to strength, with demand for their beer as far away as Russia, America, and, importantly for our purposes, in North Yorkshire.
Black Isle’s porter pours a clear chestnut, flaring brilliant amber when Acaught by the light, with a tightly packed latte head. The aroma is light and peppery, with treacle, coffee, and rum-soaked raisins.
Light-bodied, but very smooth, the initial flavour is of vanilla fudge, before transforming into a creamy coffee and milk chocolate.
All of this is held together by a jammy vein of cherry liqueur, before it all subsides in the finish, where a pleasing aroma of cherrystones and almonds comes to the fore and fills the mouth.
Not the chocolate-y sweet, and sometimes cloying porter that you might well know already, but a much lighter, sophisticated approach that is, dare I say it, delicious and refreshing.
• Recommended by Michael Bates, Trembling Madness, 48 Stonegate, York, YO1 8AS @tremblingmad
We'll try to update everyone with anything that's exciting or new. Give us some feedback!