Brown ales are often described as having a nutty flavour, despite containing no nuts. Some are even called 'nut brown' ales. The nutty flavour referred to is derived from the use of roasted barley, chocolate malt (which contains no chocolate - confused?) and crystal malts in the recipe. No nuts used.
However, Kent is the agri-home to the Cobnut (a delicious sub-variety of the hazelnut) and it's long been my intention to attempt to get their flavour into a rich brown ale. Harvests in recent years haven't enabled me to get the amount of nuts I needed and last year the story looked the same until we were offered 75kg of 'fines' - a mixture of broken kernels and shells. We took them, and roasted them in the ovens at Thanet College (thanks Craig!) before milling them to a finer crush. Two thirds were mashed with the malt and final third chucked in the fermenter after 4 days. There's an awful lot that can go wrong with this brew but I checked it this morning and it's tasting great, spot on actually: a deep, rich malty base with a rather elegant Kentish Cobnut flavour riding on top.
It can still go wrong, but if it doesn't you'll find Gadds' Cobnut Brown Ale in the Montefiore Arms (and many other of the finest East Kent public houses) from late next week.