Welcome back, Boils & Ghouls...
... to 'Day Fifteen' of "Alucard's Bat-tastic Guide To Hallowe'en On Roku", and the second instalment of "Toxic Tipple Thursday" for 2015, in which I aim to recommend a selection of "batty brews", "creepy cocktails" and (perhaps, even) some "wicked wines"... all suited to the Hallowe'en season !!
So, if you're planning to host your own spooky soirée on October 31st, you should make a point of visiting this blog EVERY THURSDAY between now and Hallowe'en for some inspirational ideas on how to keep those ghastly goblets full to the brim throughout your celebrations !!
Anyway, having kicked things off with the "Unofficial Beer of Hallowe'en"... at least, according to the label... I thought I'd follow it up with a dark & mysterious porter (or, "stout", if you prefer) from the same 'Wychwood Brewery' responsible for "Hobgoblin". The name of this witches' brew (sic) from Marston's PLC is "Black Wych" and (once again) there's a Hallowe'en-themed label adorning the bottle (see image below). This time, however, instead of the 'Hobgoblin' bearing a Jack-O-Lantern... there's a hooded witch (or should that be "wych"?!) stroking a black cat, amid suitably gothic surroundings.
The brewery which produces and bottles this "silkily smooth porter", made using Maris Otter pale malts, combined with both black & crystal malts, plus Progress hops and Target hops, describes it thus:
Start with a measure of alluringly rich, dark malt and allow the bitterness to creep in. Watch out for the caramel sweetness lurking behind. This silkily smooth porter is no taboo, she's a spellbinding force to be reckoned with !!
As with "Hobgoblin", the bottles used with "Black Wych" are embossed with witches on broomsticks, around the base of the neck, which can be seen clearly from the "close-up" image below:-
Once opened... you will see that it pours black, with a slight reddish-brown hue, yielding a thick, foamy tan head (of, perhaps, one or two fingers in depth) which has fairly good retention, lacing the glass as it gradually settles to a thin layer of foam. The "experts" among you may well detect an aroma of caramel & butterscotch, with some raisin & dark chocolate also present, but (for me) the nose is primarily one of roasted malts that are also to the fore when it comes to the taste, and include a mild amount of malt sweetness, coupled with light coffee flavours and some nuttiness in the middle, plus a toasty, slightly lactic & mildly bitter finish. This bottling provides a medium-thickness, with moderate carbonation, and a smooth texture (in other words, it goes down easily!) although, personally, I'd prefer it to be "thicker". Here's a look at what you're likely to get when you pour a drop of "Black Wych" into your glass:-
BLACK WYCH - A HEADY BREW...........PHOTO CREDIT: Simon Broderick (Wordpress Blog)
Once you've emptied the bottle, instead of recycling it in the (hopefully) usual manner, you may wish to consider repurposing it as a "Hallowe'en" candle-holder. From our experience both black and white candles work well with this bottle which, in addition to the labelling & detailing already mentioned, also bears a smaller "Witch On A Broomstick" image on both the label around the bottleneck and on the bottle cap (which you might also have a use for - see later in this post) as shown below:-
The additional "Hallowe'en" decor, courtesy of the small label affixed to the neck of the bottle, further justifies the presence of this particular beverage at every ghastly gathering put together by any discerning Hallowe'en host or hostess. Indeed, it will most certainly be filling the goblets at our spooky soirée, such is our fondness for this "Dark Mysterious Spellbinding Porter". Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be widely available in the supermarkets (neither Sainsbury, nor Tesco, nor Asda stock it) and we had to make a trek to the nearest 'Morrison' to pick some up. That said... if you like the sound of this dark & enchanting ale, that is sure to cast a spell on your taste buds with it's full-bodied, roasted flavour and long-lasting bitter finish, be sure to look out for these bottles when you visit your local Morrison or off-licence, when stocking up on devilish drinks for your own wicked wingding !!
As an ADDED BONUS if you COLLECT FIVE BOTTLE TOPS from this (or any other) beer by the 'Wychwood Brewery' then you are entitled to buy a "Black Wych" t-shirt for just £9.99 instead of the normal price of £14.99 - SAVING FIVE POUNDS - but you will need to post those five Wychwood bottle tops back to the brewery, in order to "undo the Wych's spell" and qualify for the discount. For full details of how to claim your savings, you will need to visit the online shop of the 'Black Wych' (i.e. Marston's PLC / Wychwood Brewery), VIA THIS LINK, when placing your order for this t-shirt. As always, PLEASE SEE THE WEBSITE FOR FULL T&C's !! Meanwhile, here is a preview of what the t-shirt(s) look like, in both mens (upper) and womens (lower) styles:-
MENS BLACK WYCH T-SHIRT...............................AVAILABLE SIZES: M, L, XL, XXL
LADIES BLACK WYCH T-SHIRT..................ONE-SIZE ONLY (FITS UPTO 36" BUST)
Given how absurd it is that "one size fits all" when it comes to womens' clothing (really?! Are the manufacturers actually sharing the same planet as us?!!) it's probably worth mentioning that a 'Mens' size 'M' (i.e. medium) caters for upto 40" chest, for those blessed with a fuller figure. Still, rather than spell it all out here, there is a SIZE GUIDE on the 'Wychwood Brewery' website, FOUND HERE.
I should (perhaps) also point out that this beer is fairly strong (5.0% ABV) and a 500ml bottle is equivalent to 2.5 UK units of alcohol so PLEASE ENJOY RESPONSIBLY and visit www.drinkaware.co.uk for full guidelines. That said, if you do happen to like it, why not post your thoughts via the 'Wychwood Brewery' Facebook Page: Wychwood Brewery (Facebook) and, while you're leaving your comments, be sure to tell 'em that @ukrokuchannels sent you !!
Finally, to round-off this second instalment of "Toxic Tipple Thursday" on 'Day Fifteen' of the annual 'Countdown To Halloween', I thought I'd better clarify how this ties-in with having a Roku player... and, as mentioned during the inaugural post of this sub-series, there's two ways you can look at this:-
01. If you watch a Hallowe'en / Horror Movie at the cinema, the chances are you'll have something to eat & drink while you enjoy the film... so, as you stream your Hallowe'en / Horror Movie at home (via your Roku player), why not enjoy a fine ale or porter with it too ?!!
02. You could always copy the above images and stream them to or via your Roku player using one of the many "Photos & Video" channels in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store to view them on your TV... perhaps (even) as part of a Hallowe'en Screamsaver (sic) using assorted images from the various Flickr and/or Picasa photo groups that carry Hallowe'en / Horror images - just a thought !!
Anyway, that's all for today... just remember to come back in 24-hours for 'Day Sixteen' and more Hallowe'en-themed content, courtesy of "Alucard's Bat-tastic Guide To Hallowe'en On Roku", when I will reveal the next devilish dish for "Fiendish Food Friday", and (again) this time next week for another "Toxic Tipple Thursday" as we continue our "Countdown To Hallowe'en" 2015...
Fangs (as always) for reading !!