Crafty Stuff: Samuel Smith's tasty tipples and Bullhouse Brewery crowdfunding

Samuel Smith's award-winning Oatmeal Stout is a wonderfully creamy stout, with notes of licorice and bitter chocolate running through it.

IT MAY seem that craft beer was invented by some bearded Californian in his garage about 30 years ago, but the actual craft of brewing beer is centuries old.

What we term 'craft beer' nowadays tends to refer to independent breweries, free to create and experiment in whatever way they like.

The values of craft and independence are very much alive in the beers of Samuel Smith's brewery. They've been making beer in Yorkshire since the middle of the 18th Century.

It's less hipster beards and checked shirts, more shire horses pulling carts and huge ornate pump handles.

A few of their beers found their way to me last week, courtesy of Noreast and it's clear that a commitment to natural ingredients and tried and trusted brewing methods do stand the test of time if the final result is of a high quality.

All their beers are brewed using the same well water that was drawn from the original well which served the brewery over 250 years ago.

Samuel Smith's award-winning Oatmeal Stout is one such beer. It's a wonderfully creamy stout, with notes of licorice and bitter chocolate running through it. It has quite a smooth mouthfeel, as you would expect from an Oatmeal Stout, but there's plenty of flavour packed in there.

But in terms of intensity of flavour, their Organic Chocolate Stout takes things up a notch. It is pure silk in a glass (that is once I'd poured it out of the generous 550ml bottle).

It has a velvety smooth mouthfeel, kind of like chugging down a bar of Galaxy. There's a slight hint of coffee in the taste, but this is very much a chocolate stout. It's crammed full of chocolate flavour, there's no hints or suggestions here, it's unashamedly chocolatey.

Their India Ale is a slightly malt-forward pale ale, but there's a decent amount of hoppiness in there too to give a fruity flavour and bitter finish. It's a light and refreshing ale, nice with fish and chips or a curry.

The Nut Brown ale does exactly what it says on the tin – or imposing bottle. It has a nutty flavour throughout which does give a slight but, that's balanced by a rich malt flavour too.

If you're still at a loss at what to buy the beer lover in your life for Christmas, why not check out the Bullhouse Brewery Crowdfunding campaign.

There are packages to suit all budgets and most include getting a load of Bullhouse beer, t-shirts and the knowledge that you've helped an exciting and innovative local brewery expand.

You'll have to hurry though as there's only a few days left to snap up a package – go to

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