Shipden Stout

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On the 9th of August 1888, a steamer; a pleasure craft called Victoria that regularly made its way up from Great Yarmouth to Cromer routinely anchored up near where the pier would one day, fairly soon, come into existence.

The cargo of thrill-seekers decamped via a rowing boat and go for a wander in Cromer to sample whatever vicarious delights Victorian people from Yarmouth found to sample. It probably didn’t involve artisan fudge shops back then or chips. By 3 o’clock they were back at the steamer and on board ready to head back to the bright lights of Yarmouth to the south. The skipper started to turn the boat when it hit something in the water, it had holed the port side on an underwater obstruction, everyone was removed from the boat again which wasn’t sinking but was firmly stuck and had taken on a lot of water. It was in fact stuck on something the fishermen knew as Church rock; alleged to be the remains of the 45ft high church tower still sticking up from the sea bed, sometimes visible on low tides as were bits of walls from houses. The Victoria stayed there for some time weeks in fact, and in the end was removed by dynamiting it and the rock.

Shipden Stout beer label

And of course at night when it’s particularly stormy, above the sound of the waves you can still hear the sound of the church bell tolling below the sea, just as you can at every drowned church in the world during a storm. Whatever is down there is a bit of an unknown, but you have to assume that under the sand and shingle something will almost certainly remain of probably the best known lost village of Norfolk.

On Cromer seafront you can sometimes hear the ghostly tolling of the Shipden church bells above the crashing of the waves as if the sea had never been there, local folklore has it that only the fool hardy would set sail after the bells had been heard as a bad storm was approaching.

Tasting Notes This dark stout is rich in taste and full bodied, sweet caramel flavours linger on the tongue, with hints of coffee and chocolate – 4.4% ABV