During an impromptu survey of new breweries on Saturday, Mama Monroe and I found out that Hogshead brewery was open. Two weeks in, the tap list was short. That notwithstanding, this is my type of brewery. There was not a Kaffir lime leaf in sight. No lavender, ginger lemongrass or fartberries either. Just really solid English-style beers. The most exotic ingredient that we discussed was Hersbrucker hops and their qualities for dry-hopping.
I will happily admit that I like well constructed, simple beers, but I get the current beer culture. We should be trying to tease new flavors out of beer. Innovation is awesome. But come on, I will bet that quite a few of you long term craft beer drinkers out there have sluggable session beers in the fridge that you turn to at the end of the day. It looks like Hogshead is going to be there to provide rad session beers to fuel loud talking.
On Saturday, there were two beers on. They were presented both in standard carbonation and pulled off of casks with a hand pump. Chin Wag was a fantastic red ESB that was full of malt flavor with just the right amount of hop bite. It showed very well both ways, but the CO2 sparkle brought the hops out a bit more. The other beer, Lake Lightning, is a light “summer ale” that has the lovely sweetness of Marris Otter malt and a nice spicy hopping. They were out of the Gilpin Black Gold which their website suggests has some coffee and nut in it. I hope that is coming from the malt!
Mike behind the bar is a nice cat and seemed pretty happy to be there. Stephen, their head brewer, is a dreadlocked UK transplant and seems like a hell of a guy. He shares my love of Fuggles hops and the sweet Marris Otter malt that goes into most of my brews. I tend to agree that Challenger and Fuggles should be classified as noble hops too. If he keeps pumping out the cask-conditioned beers like the ones I tried the other day he will make those old hop classifiers change their minds.
Anyway, I am sure that in time, there will be beers over there that are aged with the most rare microorganism that the world can find, spiked with leaves of the orchids that grow next to an underground river deep in a mountain in the center of the Sahara. It will probably be pretty good too. Until then, if you want an ESB and someone genuinely calling someone else a wanker, head over to Hogshead and drink up.