Friday, April 20, 2012

Beer Review - Hornbeam, Dark & Devine

tldr: Nice roasted flavours, malt and New Zealand hops on the nose, dry on the tongue but with quite a strong, long lasting bitterness. Genuinely very enjoyable but maybe not a full session beer.

For those of you with some time to read:

I received a surprise package in the post yesterday morning from my good friend, Alex back in the UK. Two bottles of beer from a relatively new, family run craft micro-brewery in the Manchester area going by the name of Hornbeam.

Tonights bottle...

Dark & Devine
(from the bottle, "Ale To Die For") 
4.2% abv

The first thing that struck me was this was not as dark as I had been expecting from the label. As you can see in the photo above, it's still quite an amber coloured beer.

The second thing that hit me (like a train - but in a good way) was the gorgeous waft of roasted malts and hops as I began to pour. Wonderful smelling beer.

The head formed easily while pouring and there was a pleasing amount of carbonation, not a gaseous micro fizz like some churn out. Very nice indeed.

The colour betrays the actual roasted maltiness and I couldn't put my finger on the hop aromas.

A quick read of the bottle informed me that New Zealand hops are used in the recipe although not a hop type I have used in any of my brews yet so I still can't say which type/s are used. If I was going to guess, I'd hazard a guess on Nelson Sauvin but I am probably wrong. I'd look at high Alpha Acid variety as there is a distinct, strong bitterness here.

I'm not going to give marks out of 10 as tastes and smells are different to everyone so I'd sum this beer up by saying, yes I would buy it , yes I would like to try more of Hornbeam's range and Yes I am going to try and culture the yeast dregs from the bottom of the bottle.

I don't think I would spend a whole evening in the pub drinking this (actually, who can afford to do that these days?) but I'd certainly make sure I had 2 or 3 at some point in the night.

So, cheers Alex matey, thanks for introducing me to Hornbeam Brewery. Tomorrow night I'll crack open the bottle of their Mary Rose Bitter.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Glad you enjoyed your prezzie mate!

I too found this ale to be much paler than initially expected given its name, and the depth of flavour has more in common with my favoured ruby ales.

As drink I found it too heavy to be a quick thirst quencher but the full pleasant bitterness was a rather nice accompaniment to tastes and smells around my kitchen whilst preparing our evening meal.

I really enjoyed this ale however it isn't really a session drink for me though I can see myself whiling away a good few pleasant winter evenings chatting with friends by an open fire! 8-)

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