By Pollyanna McIntosh
I have a soft spot for zombie movies. Ironically, for someone who has played a murderous cannibal, I'm not a healthy horror watcher.
The thing is I get scared. Really.
After the film is off my brain is just getting started on the terrifying danger I'm in from the film's killer/vampire/ghost/clown/child. But with zombies, I don't carry that fear with me to bed. I can enjoy them on screen but can't imagine they'll come after me. And, if they do, if the end of the world really does bring undead flesh-craving slow-walkers, I know it won't be personal. I can just feed them my flatmate and make a run for it.
So, a zombie fan I am and when I heard the folks at Fyne Ales (my brother-in-law's award-winning Scottish brewery) were about to release a zombie beer, I knew I had to try it. To get my hands on a few bottles, I told them I'd like to tell more horror fans out there about their new brew, to share it with lovers of life, and death. Well thank you guys cause it worked and this Scottish lass got herself some free beer. Problem is, now I've tasted the 6.9% malty black porter that is ZOMBIER, I am a slave to a new craving of my own.
The first thing you notice about ZOMBIER is that the label is just plain cool. In a retro movie poster style, the bloodied undead reach out for you under two dismembered, rotted hands clinking pints together with ZOMBIER emblazoned across the middle in metallic red, like a warning. The names of proud brewers, Chris Lewis and Jake Griffin rest under the title, "IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AND I FEEL FYNE". Lewis and Griffin won a nationwide home brew competition and were asked to collaborate on the project with Fyne Ales.
It's the kind of outgoing, community-spirited inventiveness you'd expect from a brewery that has brought a beer, food, music and comedy festival to the valley it nestles in and now attracts hordes of campers every summer to FyneFest. Perhaps it was these campers rising from their tents every morning clutching a half eaten venison burger that inspired ZOMBIER in the first place.
Then there's the taste; rich, deep, treacly. It's so malty without being thick or sweet and though black as night and strong at 6.9% it's ever so smooth. If I had only one word to describe I'd use "roasted" and that's exactly what you'll be after you get your first taste.
It may be in the family but I'd choose this porter in a blind taste test every time. ZOMBIER is so devilishly moreish I could drink it Day, Night and Return for more at Dawn.
I've watched Fyne Ales grow from a passionate husband and wife team, making the best of the soft Highland waters on their farm by Loch Fyne to become Scotland's most asked for craft beer with many an award under their belts. Those in the know from the UK to Ireland to Japan (the brewery hopes to extend its reach to the US and Italy next) have enjoyed Fyne Ales' best known beers: Highlander, Jarl, Avalanche, Vital Spark, Maverick, Hurricane Jack and Piper's Gold and beer buffs will also know their new experimental and absolutely delicious seasonal ales, of which ZOMBIER is the latest.
They say it goes best with barbecue, smokey ribs and anything chocolate but if you choose to drink it with a good friend, this cannibal lady won't hold it against you. Enjoy!
No doubt coming to the Winchester soon but for now you can find ZOMBIER at Scottish pubs including The Inn Deep, Hanging Bat and Mash Tun and, of course Fyne Ales' own onsite tap. Also in off licenses and online from www.fyneales.com
• Pollyanna McIntosh is on Twitter: @PollyAMcIntosh
Zombier: A devilishly strong black Porter
Abv:Size: 330ml bottles, 12 per case
Hops: Target, Junga, Nugget
Malt: Various varieties of undead malt and bits of brains
Tasting notes: A deep black porter with a caramel tan head. Big aromas and flavours of treacle, toffee and liquorice with hints of chocolate and coffee. A lingering roasted malt bitterness returns from the dead with bite.
What makes it special?: Zombier is a Fyne Ales collaboration brew with home brewers Jake Griffin and Chris Lewis, prize winners at the 2012 IBD Scottish home brewing competition. The beer has an incredibly complex malt build, the most complex Fyne Ales have ever used, making it very dark but surprisingly smooth.
Food pairing: Great with BBQ burgers and smokey ribs and with anything chocolate.
• To keep up to date with the ever-evolving Fyne Ales follow them on Twitter and Facebook