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English Beer names and their origins - Old thumper

Updated on July 21, 2012

Bottle of Old Thumper

Old Thumper

Old Thumper Extra Special Ale. Bottled 5.9 avb.

From the Ringwood Brewery in Hampshire

Master Brewer Peter Austin, who is regarded by many as the father of the UK micro brewing industry first brewed Old Thumper in 1978. It was originally known as "No name bitter" and a competition was run on a local radio to name the beer. Someone phoned in to say he loved the beer but it gave him a thumping headache in the morning and the rest is history.

It's the sort of beer you could imagine being enjoyed at the end of a long hot summer’s day by a farm worker in the local hostelry in a bygone age.These days it's the perfect accompaniment to a good Curry or Chilie con carne and Ringwood describe it has having a Peppery, spicy aroma with hint of apples and a Luscious balance of grain and hop in the mouth, a bitter sweet finish with delicate fruit notes.

A lovely Amber Copper coloured beer with a generous off white head it's a real Marmite of a beer you'll absolutely love it or hate it; personally I love it.

The nose has been described by one critic as: "creating images of toffee apples doused in vinegar or meths or the uncertainty of trying to enjoy the gone-off flavours of rotten veg, crab apples, musty drawers and dirty rags." Over the top maybe but it certainly is strong and distinctive.

Despite the above description it has won many awards and was voted Champion beer of Britain by CAMRA in 1988 and it’s pretty easy to find nowadays in most supermarkets. If you haven’t done so already you have to give it a try, you’ll either love it or hate it, but you certainly won’t forget it.


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    • markfo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Middlesex, England

      Cheers Sarah,

      Hoping to tickle your fancy with such names as Bishop’s Finger (Not what you’d imagine!); Cornish Knocker; Dorothy Goodbodys wholesome stout; Ticklebrain; Headcracker and Snecklifter amongst others.

      Some of the stories behind them are quite fascinating; family feuds disguised as historic events, tragedies such as Coniston Bluebird and some just plain crazy or eccentric like Hobgoblin.

      Looking forward to trying some of your recipes to go with them.

      All the best Mark

    • sarahmoose profile image

      Sarah Chewings 

      5 years ago from Nottingham, England

      Brilliant, I can't wait to read the rest of your series! Looking forward to seeing what other unusual names you have found :-)

    • DaveysRecipeRead profile image


      5 years ago

      Sounds really good, thanks markfo, I'll do that.

    • markfo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Middlesex, England

      Hi Davey.

      Lots of micro and craft breweries have opened over here in the last decade or so and if they have a distinctive beer it can only help to promote the beer. I had to go over to the Oktoberfest to get a decent beer in the early eighties when English beer hit a real low point.

      Let me know if you're ever in England and I'll take you on a tour of the best pubs

    • DaveysRecipeRead profile image


      5 years ago

      Sounds like good stuff. I like love-it-or-leave-it beers that take risks (lots of this type in Belgium). Too bad it's not sold here in Germany but Germans brew excellent beers as well. Thanks for the info. I'll certainly try it one of these days.


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