Ha, thought I'd forgotten didn't you? Well I almost did.
Back in 2003 or so the sandaled leaders of the Pig's Ear Beer Festival in Stratford, East London, requested a special brew to celebrate their 21st anniversary. Brown ale sprang to mind - pigs, farms, mud - that kind of thing. So I made a rich, brown and malty brew and called it 'Old Pig' and it went down a treat, so much so that I've made it every year since.
Now the essence of brown ale is in the malt character; hops are strictly a sideline here and used for little more than their preservative value: I want the flavours of crystal malt, roasted barley, chocolate malt and mellow crushed flaked oats to coat the mouth with a warming rich body, unhindered by the presence of hop notes. What hops I use will always be Fuggles in a Brown Ale - their earthy grassy notes hide well, peeping out only when asked to.
I delivered a cask to the Monty so expect availability on first-friday as usual. Other recipients so far include the mad-house, the Man of Kent and the Yew Tree. As damp Autumn kicks in I can think of no finer companion than an Old Pig. Root one out today.