A traditional strong bitter initially brewed for the 100th anniversary of the Somerset Cricket Club back in 1991. However it is still around today, some 32 years later, impressive. So what is Exmoor Stag like?
I enjoyed a couple of pints back in 2021 in the oldest pub in Ilfracombe, Devon, The George And Dragon dating back to 1360. So I thought it was about time I reviewed this beer and got myself a bottle.
What Is Exmoor Stag Like?
Exmoor Stag is a great beer, a proper flavoursome traditional bitter that will please any real ale drinker. The nose is sweet malt biscuit with toffee and vanilla notes arousing the senses. Likewise the taste is rich malt biscuit with chocolate and toffee caramel notes. In the background lurk hints of vanilla giving it a smooth creamy feel. The finale lends a little bitterness laced with a sweet fruity end. It’s a proper beer lovers dream and gets a 4.7 – 5.0.
Truly a no nonsense true British style bitter that will not disappoint.
Exmoor Ales Brewery started life in 1979 on Golden Hill, Wiveliscombe, Somerset England. The founder Jonathan Price originally named it Golden Hill Brewery.
A brewery set up in part of the old Hancock’s Brewery site dating back to 1807, one of the largest breweries in the Southwest of England.
The first beer Exmoor Ale a 3.8% Vol beer won Champion Beer Of Britain in 1980 after just 13 brews. Also in 1986 when Exmoor Gold was released, it was the first Gold beer in Britain and Exmoor Ales most popular seller.
Moving on to 2015 and the brewery relocates just down the road to a new larger site which doubles the brewing capacity.
It is fair to say that Exmoor Ales are a very popular choice of beer in the south west of England. However their popularity has spread throughout the land and beyond.
What Is Exmoor Stag Like?
Exmoor Stag is for the real ale drinker, its a proper pint of bitter. Rich and strong in flavour it delivers a real beer experience.
Brewed with water from the Exmoor reservoir it all starts with the bottle. Unless of course you are drinking from the cask.
The label is simple and to the point. A Stag stands proud in front of the Somerset hills with the name Stag above its head, its a naturally strong beer.
A perfect pint around a real fire in a country pub, or a summers day at a garden barbecue. It’s a bitter, but its more than that. There is a richness and strong full body that sets in apart from just an average pint of bitter.
At 5.2% Vol it is not a session beer, but just a powerful Stag.
Drinking Exmoor Stag
It pours a deep copper brown with a generous creamy head that although fades a little sticks around for the duration. A nice decorative lacing covers the glass as you drink.
The nose is a malt toffee caramel biscuit with a vanilla hint. A delicate floral hoppy scent floats around hardly catching the nose.
Similarly the taste has a strong biscuit malt base with notes of chocolate and caramel. A vanilla surprise lends a smooth creamy mouthfeel. On the back a little floral fruitiness steps in carrying a slight bitter edge.
It’s a triumph of a bitter, talking of which, if I were to be picky may be a little more bitterness on the end would round it off nicely for me. On the other hand it is a well balanced beer, so maybe I’m wrong.
However it is a great beer and it gets a rate my beer score of 4.7 – 5.0.
Likewise M’Lady ia a fan too, Lou says “A very nice easy to drink bitter with a lovely smooth finish, Yum.” In spite of that, Lou scores it a lower 4.4 – 5.0, explain yourself lady.
Exmoor Beer Range
Exmoor Ales beer range has several divisions, the core range which is by no means vast, but six beers. However there is also a seasonal range holds four beers. these are released at different times throughout the year.
Pathfinder is a range of small batch beers that are sold in limited numbers. At present there are eight beers in this range.
The core and seasonal ranges have no room it seems for a lager. However in the pathfinder range there is one lurking. A German Helles style lager brewed in tribute to the famous Oktoberfest.
Here are a few featured beers from the core and seasonal Exmoor ranges.
Exmoor pale is a light crisp 4.2% Vol pale ale. It has a solid malt base with plenty of hop kick on the top.
It is part of the core range so is available all year round. Brewed to be light and refreshing it delivers what you would expect from a light pale ale. Ideal for a warm sunny relaxing day and perfect at a barbecue.
In contrast we have the Exmoor Beast, a hugely popular rich dark porter with a fierce bite. A beer inspired by the old tales of wild cats spotted on the moors.
Complex flavours of fruit, coffee and rum are among this rich but smooth dark porter. Beware the beast because at 6.6% Vol it packs a punch and is not one to drink wildly, more of a gentle sipper.
The beast is part of the core range so is available year round.
Exmoor Antler is part of the seasonal range and is available during January and February. A dark amber bitter with a contrast of a nutty malt toffee base and a tropical fruit top.
At just 4.0% Vol it is a light session beer that will have you wanting a second or maybe even third. Steady now.
Sounds like a go to soft bitter rightful for any occasion.
Now in its 43rd year Exmoor brewery was one of the first micro breweries and helped in the cask ale revival or the eighties.
Today they stick to their guns and still produce proper real ales with depth and flavour. Stag is an outstanding example of the beer they produce. In fact I need to pull my finger out and work my way through their range.
So, what about you, have you experienced any of the Exmoor brews? If so then do share your thoughts below, I would love to have your opinion.