For some reason I expected to crack the lid on the I&G Rum Finish and be bombarded with molasses and OVD, model ships in glass cases and boxes of haddock in the pierside rain, but it doesn’t have quite that ‘rummy’ aroma from the bottle.
Tipped into a glass, it’s a different story – while it isn’t the full on treacly experience, there’s a sweet, caramel fruitful thing, and a little bit of Captain Morgan’s in the background. It has a slightly thick feeling as your drinking it, like a kind of beery shake, and is a lovely dark ruby in the tumbler.
It’s 6.8%, so this is a beer to be treated with extreme respect. Neck a fistful of these in a hurry and you’ll need your address sewn into your head. This is beer to savour – I&G recommend it for venison, or a good cheese – and not for shield-rattling around town & thumping down like an Orc. The sheer strength of the drink is almost a deliberately arch look over the spectacles to make sure we savour the stuff just right.
It’ll be a personal preference, but I drank mine crusha cold from the fridge. Sipped slowly it has a really sweet, building fruitiness, a kind of new raisiny taste that lingers well – excellent for unhurried consumption. I accompanied the beer with some nibbles on a bar of Mrs Tilly’s Tablet, a sort of sugary overload with a spiced up datey aftertaste, but it was very fine.
In fact it has such a good thunkiness to it there’s an immediate temptation to use it to make stew, or maybe a steak pie. In my case, it had to be Nigel Slater’s beef and onion casserole, which is a bit of a classic. The I&G cooked in superbly, and over a too buttery plate of mashed tatties, the deep gravy was just nuts really.
Innis & Gunn’s Rum Finish is really pretty damn brilliant.