Drink: Into the black

As autumn brings with it a switch from light pale ales to darker ruby reds and deep, dark porters, we offer up 10 of the best regional ales to take you into the dark nights

Unless you’re up for hypothermia, your days supping pale ale and cider in sun-drenched beer gardens are about up, to be replaced by a perch by a cosy pub fire and comforting, mellower beers.

Your autumn/winter ales don’t necessarily have to be dark as pitch – an amber ale can be as robust as a porter, after all – though porters, stouts and ruby bitters tend to come to the fore at this time of year as we hunker down for the dark days and nights to come. Here, we offer up 10 brews from 10 of our favourite regional brewers. 

Enjoy them with steak and ale pie, cinder toffee, big flavoursome cheeses or a bag of pork scratchings…

Allendale Brewery Dark Skies, 7%
Sweet and biscuity, with notes of cinder toffee and orange marmalade, this gorgeous ale is rooted in Allendale’s Christmas Ale. We like to save it for Bonfire Night, after which we drink it all winter long. 

Black Storm Brewery Porter, 5.2%
The Best Porter in the UK according to the World Beer Awards 2018, this is porter as it should be – chunky, robust, with the warm chocolate notes we crave in autumn and winter. 

Box Social Brewing Campfire Porter, 7%
Father and son team Steve and Ross Holland continually come up with new and sometimes alternative brews featuring fruits and such like. This is more traditional, however – a big, full-on porter which packs a big flavour punch with chocolate, coffee and vanilla notes.

Consett Ale Works Red Dust, 4.5%
This clear ruby red ale is comfort in a glass; earthy with red apple and liquorice notes, it’s an easy drinker, which means you may have more than one. 

Durham Brewery Evensong, 5%
This traditional ruby bitter is smooth and well-balanced, with hints of kiwi and toffee. 

The Great North Eastern Brewing Co Rivet Catcher, 4%
This toasty golden ale is one of the region’s long-time favourites, loved for its notes of caramel and biscuit with touches of orange which make it a happy partner for Bonfire Night.

Hadrian Border Tyneside Brown, 4.7%
This easy drinking, full-bodied and nutty dark amber beer carries with it notes of brown bread toast well equipped to accompany you back into autumn and winter. 

Sonnet 43 The Raven Bourbon Milk Stout, 4.3%
This sweet stout is our favourite winter warmer for its silky chocolate notes and a smoky sweetness which comes from ageing in bourbon liquor oak asks. Moreish, to say the least!

Twice Brewed Steel Rigg Porter, 4.9%
A Silver medal winner in the SIBA independent Beer Awards 2018, this little beauty offers up light smoke and caramel, its dark hue with chinks of orange a comfort on darker nights.

Wylam Brewery Jekyll & Hyde, 9.8%
A collaboration with Brouwerij de Molen, this is all sweet leather luxury with soft flows of tobacco, cocoa, burnt cream, cinder toffee and smoked oats.

Pear Butter
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