As with all good stories, this one begins in the dentist’s chair. In between garbled arghs and minuscule nods, my dentist and I ‘discussed’ my work as a silvologist and landed eventually on the topic of my research on walnut trees. It turned out that he called home the tiny island of Ærø in the Baltic Sea of southern Denmark, although he’d been practising in England for many years. There in the garden of his family’s property, he was the proud joint owner of a walnut tree and locally, he told me with a glint in his eye — and I’m sure a smile behind his mask — there was a local brewery that made a wonderful walnut beer.

Ærø walnut beer
Ærø walnut beer

I thought nothing more of the conversation until my next visit, six months later for a regular check up. He greeted me with the usual cheer while reaching into a sterile white cupboard to produce, with a flourish, a bottle of walnut beer. I was flabbergasted, not only that he’d remembered our conversation, but that he had so generously brought me a bottle to sample. He recounted with delight how he’d hidden the alcoholic drink during various inspections!

The 7% alcohol beer is brewed by the Rise Brewery and is called No. 5 Walnut Duke Hans. It is a bock type, made with various malts, aroma hops and walnut extract. The company describe the resulting dark beer as:

“a fantastic harmonious, maroon, strong bottom-fermented Bock beer with a delicate walnut flavour.

I really enjoyed my sample  — my first ever walnut beer — and was delighted to find that the brewers can supply by mail order.

Now, I need to find something to offer my dentist in return. Perhaps a bottle of my recently matured home-made elderflower champagne would go down well.

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