Lovibonds. Why does that name ring a bell? Apart from representing a long tradition of brewing, which we'll dive into in a moment, it is also a name well known throughout the brewing and food science industries, as the surname of the inventor of the Tintometer. Used in brewing and many other industries, the Tintometer is a device for measuring and classifying liquids by colour, and was invented in the 19th century by Joseph William Lovibond. The Tintometer classification and colour scale system is still used today by brewers to buy their malt. (You'll no doubt be pleased to know that, according to the Tintometer Group website, their modern digital water test equipment and liquid colour test instruments are, ahem, waterproof.)
But before we go any further, let's get to the bottom of the Lovibonds name as it applies to the brewing company. Jeff Rosenmeier is the current proprietor and owner of Lovibonds Brewery. Originally from the States, and a software engineer (there's hope for me yet!), Jeff came to Henley-on-Thames, already bitten by the brewing bug and looking for a site for his expanding brewing ventures, came across the site that had originally belonged to John Lovibond & Sons Brewers and Merchants, and took over the name. Yes, that Lovibond. John Locke Lovibond was the father of Joseph William and three other sons who set up a brewing partnership in 1872. So the name Lovibond is almost literally steeped in brewing history and science.
Transitioning into its second incarnation, the Lovibonds brewing respect has only grown. With a handful of year-round brews, limited releases, specials and prototypes, the quality of their beers is becoming well known. I'm here at Port Street Beer House with a Dark Reserve Nr 3 in my glass. The person next to me has already picked up the aroma of bourbon. Jack Daniels, to be precise. This is a porter aged in Tennessee whiskey barrels. Dark brown with a brief tan head, you can almost sense the wet wooden barrel innards, imparting vanilla, nuts and raisins. The body is not as heavy as one might expect, and along with the malty mouthful there's a dark chocolate and bitter, almost sour finish, with some brown sugar sweetness towards the bottom of the glass. It's a strong one – at 7.4%, but the sample disappeared fairly quickly and it didn't feel like I was drinking something that potent. The sourness and relative lightness definitely added to the appeal, and the drinkability.
Port Street Beer House is currently running a Festival Of Britain(s Beers) and have brought together a great collection of British brewing talent. Lovibonds is a worthy member of this collection, and have earned their place at the taps with this excellent brew. The Festival is on until this Sunday 7th April, so get yourself down there before this Dark Reserve is gone. Quick!
- Brewer: Lovibonds
- Brew: Dark Reserve Nr 3
- Style: Porter
- ABV: 7.4%