Okells Brewery, 1907
At 6.1% it goes down surprisingly easy, but a few bottles in one sitting would be fine, right Dr Mike?
Concerned about crude imitations of his excellent beer, in 1874 he convinced Tynwald (the Isle of Man's parliament), to create an act (which still stands today) ensuring the purity of beer brewed on the island. It read:
"No brewer shall use in the brewing, making, mixing with, recovering or colouring, any beer or any liquid made to resemble beer, or have in his possession any copperas, coculus indicus, nux vomica, grains of paradise, guinea pepper, or opium or any article, ingredient, or preparation whatever for, or as a substitute for malt, sugar or hops."
Despite a resident population of just under 85,000 people, and a small handful of breweries on the island to serve them, Okell's have built an impressive operation over the last 165 years, based largely on a strong export business. They were acquired by a fellow Manx business, wine merchants Heron & Brearley in 1945. In 1994, they moved to a purpose built, hi-tech, computerised brewery at Kewaigue, just outside Douglas.
That move was overseen by the current head honcho at Okell's, and another doctor, Mike Cowbourne. He did a micro biology degree and then an MSc and PhD in brewing. Our kind of doctor.
Bottled beers crafted by Okell's include a smashing IPA, 'Maclir' which is a textbook wheat beer and 'Aile', a complex smoked porter. The pick of the bunch (in our very humble opinion) though is this week's beer, 1907.
It was brewed to celebrate the centenary of the world famous Isle of Man TT Motorcycle Races. Public demand meant they kept on making it. 1907 pours a beautiful honey colour, with aromas of tropical mango and pineapple the first to show their face. Smooth, sweet malts come to the fore as soon as you take a sip. Dr Mike won't declare the ingredients, but we're guessing an abundance of English hops which give it a grassy, earthy finish.
Described simply as a "pale beer" we reckon this is more of an IPA than the Okell's beer bearing that name. At 6.1% it goes down surprisingly easy, but a few bottles in one sitting would be fine, right Dr Mike?