They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Best Cask Ale.... NZPA??

Hawkshead has always been a bit hit and miss with me. Their Red leaves me slightly disappointed, whilst their Citrillo/Cumbrian 5 Hop is a revelation. Their Brodie's Prime is just a little too drab for me, whilst their Organic Stout is a pint worthy of the 'Supreme Champion of Britain' Award. And don't even get me started on Windermere Pale Ale - I could drink that all day and night!!

The brewers up Cumbria-side have decided to brew a beer of magnitudinal proportions now though. Matt from Hawkshead has brewed this himself and it's only fitting, because he's a kiwi himself, that it's a beer dubbed; New-Zealand Pale Ale.

A New-Zealand Pale Ale through and through. 6%, and packed to the rafters with 4 amazingly flavour-full New-Zealand hops; Green Bullet, Riwaka, Motueka and the classic.. Nelson Sauvin.

Think Jaipur, think Dobber, but I have to be honest, and say that this was a much better beer in a similar vein of styles.

I never did get much from an aroma in a straight sided pint glass, so this experience was always going to be all about the flavour. It's very complex beer, there's a lot to be explored within it's depths.

From the get go, you are bombarded with juicy, fruity flavours. The beer abounds with drying lemon sherbet, and almost seems so packed full of hops that it's quick thick and almost chewy. With just the subtlest of hop hazes, the beer evolves and presents more flavours as it goes down. I'm thinking apricots, peaches an cream, green apple skins mixed with a slight pine resin.

From the lemon sherbet flavours comes a massivly dry and bitter finish, so moorish that you can't help but pour more down your throat - extremley dangerous at 6%! Warming, puckering, it has all you can want from an uber - pale ale, and more so...

Can I say this is the best cask ale I've had this year? It's hard to say really... It's certainly up there! And the fact that it was Arcadia - my local - that managed to get two casks of it made things go even more in its favour. (the first cask ran dry in a matter of hours..) I really don't know how they managed to get their hands on two casks.... but I'm sure the "special relationship" between @mattHawkshead and @thumbsprain had something to do with it ;)

I think it's difficult to put a "best" on something/anything these days because everything is always changing and evolving. It would be foolish and ignorant to believe that we live in a static and unchanging world. The same can be said for our beer industry. Brewers are constantly perfecting their techniques and constantly delivering better and better beers. I always like to think your only as good as the last success you've produced, and this beer is certainly the best success that Hawkshead have produced to date! Well played Matt and the Hawkshead team this beer is one for the archives!! (now get some in the bottle so I can pour it in my snifter....)


  1. 1st cask was even better Ghostie, had much more aroma, you weren't quick enough!

  2. Some of us had to stay at work while you lot guzzled it all down Alex... :(

  3. I was lucky enough to receive a mini cask of NZPA during their beer festival in August. It was magnificent. If I only had Windermere Pale and NZPA for the rest of life I think I could manage. Although I would start to miss Marble Chocolate...