This week's bottle of royal wedding beer brewed in 1981 to celebrate Charles and Diana's wedding is from St Austell Brewery in Cornwall.
Presented in a standard brown 275ml bottle with crown embossed foil top the beer poured completely bright and a dark ruby red colour with a brownish hue. The beer unbelievably had some sparkle to it having been "maturing" in the bottle for thirty years and had a small head that lasted while I drank it.
Although there were signs of age with the usual musty vinous aroma there was also an discernible aroma of leather and tobacco with a very slight fruitiness. The taste was pretty good. The sparkle really encouraged the subtle flavours out, a hint of raisin, perhaps blackberry with a lingering dry bitter finish.
The bottle does not show the alcohol content but I would guess fairly high (6%+) to give it legs for so long. Not delicious but definitely drinkable.
Good Beer Guide 1982 suggests that at that time St Austell Brewery had 132 pubs of which 62 served real ale.
It is gratifying to note that St Austell remain in business, proud of their family-owned independence, after well over 150 years. Real ale is now sold in all 169 pubs and throughout the country's free trade pubs.
In the current micro-brewing boom, I also stand firmly behind the family brewers that have remained loyal to the beer drinker for hundreds of years and I raise my glass in Tribute to St Austell Brewery. (see what I did there ?)