It seems Hawkshead have been going from strength to strength these days. A brewery which I originally thought of as one who would only produce a core range of, good, but somewhat tried and trusted beers are coming out with what can only be described (by me) as master-classes in brewing. They know where the boundaries are in this current climate. A business has been built up upon solid foundation by a group of dedicated people, and and they're not afraid to go that little step further in the search for the perfect drinking experience. I just think it's a shame that they stopped making the Organic Stout, I thought that beer was fantastic.
We've just had a delivery of three newish beers that they've put into bottle, and to be fair, it's pretty hard to keep them on the shelves... but then again, that's because I keep forcing everyone to buy them!
Windermere Pale, 6%.
I believe 'Pale' is the perfect descriptor for this beer, I've not seen one so pale in a long time. (the pic does not do the colour justice) It smells just like the cask version, even at almost double the cask version strength. (I'm not 100% positive if the 6% will be going on cask, I think it probably will though) Aromas of bone dry straw and lemon sherbet are very abundant with just the slightest of hints of caramel apples. I get an immediate alcohol bitterness in the first sip and wonder if the higher strength is going to be a hindrance to this brew. As it goes down (very quickly) though, it becomes more mellow, more fruity, and with caramel malt sweetness which suggests a good malt presence. I still get the boozy bitter bite on the sides of my tongue though, and wonder if I prefer the, half strength, original version. It's only a small bottle so I reckon it's too early to say.
Cumbrian Five Hop, 6%.
Darker than the first, with a inviting light amber hue. Interesting aromas of caramel, lychee, grapefruit, marshmallow and a little candy-floss. Much more malt presence in the initial taste than you'd expect, but then the big hoppy bitterness creeps in and begs you to take that second sip. There are a lot of hops in this brew. Fuggles, Citra and Amarillo are mentioned, but the other two aren't, I wouldn't mind knowing what they are. It has a really nice juicy body full of caramel, apple a hint of banana, orange rind bitterness and a touch of fresh hay. (yes I know I've never eaten fresh hay, but I think you know what I mean)
What can you say about this beer that has not already been said. It's an absolute champion of a brew - a game changer if you will. A beer so chock full of New Zealand hops, I'm surprised there's any left for any other breweries. Probably just as pale as Windy Pale, and I'm not trying to be funny here, but I'm kind of getting the impression that this beer smells quite a bit like marijuana from the bottle. (it's not a bad thing) It's truly a A-class beer. Fruity, juicy, bitter, immensely easy drinking - it's what you want from a beer, and more.
Hawkshead Imperial Stout, 8.3%.
The pumpclip for this brew said "Trial Brew" on it. Well if it is, I can only say it had it's trial - now it needs to be in full production. A big aroma of liqourice, sweet hazelnuts, chocolate malts and a big meaty side push forward even out of a, topped to the brim, straight sided pint glass. It's thick and smooth (I like a sparkler on my beer, even on my Imperial Stouts) Rich flavours pour forth. Tonnes of dried raisins, leather and tar, it's super moorish you don't really want to put it down.
It's fair to say I managed to get though quite a bit of this beer, and unashamedly so. Over the last week, I've drunk more Hawkshead beer than any other style or from any other brewery. The bottles are great. If I had only one suggestion, it would be to change the shading of greens on the labels... they just kind of look all the same on the shelves. Other than that, I will say don't stop what your doing. I don't really need to tell you though, because I know you won't regardless.
I'm looking forward to what comes next!
Lake pic from here.