Home > Beer > Stringers Sharp & Dry Damson Beer with Damson Cobbler

Stringers Sharp & Dry Damson Beer with Damson Cobbler

I’ll be putting up quite few posts about Cumbria over the next couple of weeks, following a week’s holiday there and an only partially successful attempt to walk the Cumbria Way. The full 72 mile Cumbria Way starts in Ulverston, and it seems appropriate to mention Stringers, the excellent brewery based there.

Presumably only due to Stringers’ capacity, we don’t get a lot of their beers in Leeds, but you can buy their very satisfying Amarillo-hopped bottled IPA in Booths and recently North Bar did a tap takeover event. I managed to pop in to North for a couple of halves after work and picked up two of their special bottles to take home with me, one of which was a damson beer.

Damsons are small plums and are particularly associated with Westmorland, specifically the Lyth and Winster valleys near Kendal. Unfortunately there has been a particularly poor crop in Cumbria this year, so I’m not sure if this beer was actually made with local damsons.

To go with the beer, we (primarily Kate) made a damson cobbler/crumble from a recipe by Dan Lepard. The small, sharp damsons that we used were from Kent and had been bought from the new fruit and veg stall that has recently filled a greengrocer-shaped hole in Chapel Allerton.

The beer itself is billed as being sharp and dry, to make it clear that although it is a fruit beer, it won’t be sweet. Pouring as dark as a Belgian dubbel, it had a crisp blackcurrant nose and a dry, tart and, in fact, slightly lambic, gueuzey sourness.

I enjoyed the beer a lot, but I think the sweet, sharp damson crumble wasn’t necessarily the best match for it. Next time I have one of these beers I think I’ll try it with a nice creamy hard cheese, perhaps a Lancashire, to balance the acidity.

  1. September 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

    seems like sweetness overload, perhaps? Good shout on the cheese. Sometimes when you double up with things (chocolate stout and, well, chocolate, for example) it gets too much. Still, you’ve given me a fierce craving for damson cobbler right now though!!

    • September 16, 2012 at 10:56 am

      I understand damsons better now at least. They look like berries but they’re definitely not good for just eating raw and fresh.

  2. Mum
    September 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    They’re great for damson wine which your Dad (mainly) and I attempted a long time ago. Cobbler looks wonderful! x

    • September 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Obviously kept on the top shelf of the kitchen cupboard, then.

  3. September 16, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    The cobbler/crumble (which is it?) does look nice. The damsons in the beer are your actual Westmorland produce. I’m told that they’re like the Shropshire Blue, but show the esteemed Westmorland “terroir” (!) We dump a load of squished fresh, ripe damsons (stones and all) into a dark “mild” base beer and allow a re-fermentation (driven by the wild flora on the fruit) to do whatever it wants, i.e. the re-fermentation is pretty mixed, I should think. The beer stays on the fruit, picking up flavours from the skins and stone, cluttering the brewery up for ages before we bottle it . The whole process takes around six months, so what you were drinking was last years crop. As I remember, we also included some bullaces in that one.

    This year, following that rubbish summer, we’re very short of fresh damsons, so we’ll have to use a mix with frozen (if we can get those). We’ll have to do a kind of starter with the fruit to be sure of getting enough of the wild things in.

    I think you’re right about cheese rather than pud. I’m told it works well with stilton.

    • September 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Cheers Jon, that’s really informative. Looking forward to the next batch!

      (The recipe describes the pud as a cobbler, but it looked like a crumble to me, and was topped with a roasted hazelnut crumble).

  4. Ben
    September 17, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Fruit beers rarely seem to work with fruit-based desserts. They are however awesome with chocolate, creamy cheeses (mascarpone for eg) and cheesecakes, and quite often game meats like duck, pigeon, etc. The acidity and sourness cuts through fatty meats and the fruits work with the rich flavours of the meat.

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