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This title was my feeble attempt to re-create the Death March; the best thing I could think of for this opinion! I recently attended the 2002 Beer Festival, organised by the Chesterfield District of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale). My husband, two friends and I sampled some great and unusual beers and it has given me the potential to write some more beer related opinions for my good friends on Dooyoo. I'll start with the strongest concoction; a brew entitled "Last Rites"! This is produced by the Abbeydale Brewery. We decided on this one, to finish of the evening's proceedings, not just because of its alcohol content, but also because of its origins. Sheffield is only a stone's throw away from us here in Chesterfield, so we thought we should stay loyal to our local businesses and give their beer a try. The Abbeydale Brewery is located in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and was set up by Patrick Morton. Patrick was previously associated with the Kelham Island Brewery, another Sheffield based firm, so he had plenty of beer making experience to fall back on. Abbeydale is still a relatively small concern, only supplying around 100 pubs, but their beers are always of a high quality. They are dedicated to producing fine beers and ales, often ones that are a bit unusual; not just in their names, but in their flavours too! They also supply beers for beer festivals and often this is the only chance people from around the country will get to sample some of their excellent creations. It was nice for us to get the opportunity too! Last Rites is the strongest beer that they produce, weighing in at a massive 11.5% ABV (the alcohol content is also liable to vary slightly; ranging from 10.5% to 11.5%). Abbeydale also produce some other great sounding beers, such as Dark Angel (4.7%) and the imaginatively titled Black Mass (so called because its alcohol percentage in 6.66). Strictly speaking, Last Rites is a barley win
e. This is the description given to a top-fermented beer, with an alcohol content of at least 9%ABV. Barley wines are generally drunk in smaller measures; not unlike the way you would drink a bottle of wine. Looks wise, Last Rites is paler than you would expect a strong beer to be. It is a golden colour, not dissimilar to the hue of Golden Syrup. If you didn't know, you could be forgiven for underestimating the effect this drink is going to have. We should have been warned by the faces of a local landlord and the person behind the bar. Our friend, Ian, asked for four halves of Last Rites. They shook their heads slowly and knowingly, with a look that was somewhere between admiration and pity! But, there's just no telling some people is there? Taste wise, I would describe this drink as "interesting"! It was rather pleasant, with a texture not unlike drinking treacle. It was extremely thick, full-bodied and a little sweeter than I was expecting, making it a little difficult to drink; more of a "meal" than a beverage! This is probably a good thing because drinking Last Rites in large quantities would be a little dangerous. Bearing in mind that it has the potency of a wine, having pints of the stuff would be a little on the foolish side. Its taste was very strong with the rich barley flavour coming through and dominating the drink. I found a number of different flavours emerging, ranging from treacle toffee and fruit, to a rich chocolaty maltiness. The aftertaste was a bitter-sweet combination of these flavours too. It's quite a complex drink, but not unpleasant if sipped rather than drunk deeply. Price wise, Last Rites isn't cheap! Tokens for drinks at the Beer Festival were 85p. Each token could be exchanged for one half pint. Some beers cost just one token, while others were priced at one token plus (or minus for some of the less alcoholic drinks) 10 or 20 pence. Last rites came in at a token
plus 50p; the most expensive cask drink at £1.35 a half. It's a good job that they didn't sell pints; I couldn't have afforded to buy it, and I don't think I could have survived drinking it! This beer is one that I am recommending, but with some reservations. It isn't for the faint hearted and not something that I would drink on a regular basis. As an occasional treat, it is a nice warming drink; one that a seasoned beer drinker would appreciate. It should be savoured, as you would a fine wine, or a good malt whisky. It is very difficult to get hold of, but certainly one to look out for if you are in South Yorkshire or North Derbyshire. Keep an out for it too if you happen to drop into a Beer Festival. Treat it with respect, don't go mad, and you should enjoy having the Last Rites administered to you! Confess your sins and have a half with me! Brewery Details: Abbeydale Brewery Unit 8, Aizelwood Road Sheffield S8 0YK Phone: +44 (0114) 281 2717 Fax: +44 (0114) 281 2713 http://www.abbeydalebrewery.co.uk/ (Just noticed that the web-site seems to be off-line at the moment. Don't know how long this will be for
From Abbeydale Brewery. 10.5-11.0% ABV.