Last week I finally got my hands on some Hardknott beers.
Four of them to be precise.
Having made contact with the brewery some time ago and having booked some of their beer for the inaugural CAMRGB Evening Of Really Good Beer, I thought it was about time I actually tried some instead of going on the fact that everybody said they were good and that I like the people who run the brewery.
For the few of you who may not know Hardknott, this quote from their website probably sums them up best,
“Beer should not be confined to the narrow view of the masses. There is no reason why it can’t be pretentious and bold, challenging and adventurous, modern and cutting edge. Throw away your traditional constraints, leave the safety of your favourite barstool, catch up with the new and vibrant future and explore a world that will change your mind forever.”
So, here we go with the beers I tasted…
Infra Red (6.5%)
The label tells me that this beer is hoppy as a bucketful of frogs. It is but there’s more to this.
Satisfying liquorice and strawberry laces, black pepper and a touch of star anise.
A fine crystal malt backbone gives the beer a really hefty body.
This is Hardknott’s signature brew I believe and with good reason, this is a red IPA wearing a battered leather jacket & looking for some trouble.
Dark Energy (4.9%)
Black as pitch.
Like some deep, dark lagoon of beer in the glass.
Maybe even a little bit frightening.
Once you’ve said your prayers and braced yourself this beer is all lovely black coffee, prunes and liquorice.
Lots of big round flavours lull you and caress you, but the fear you felt when you poured the beer is realised when the hops hit you like a big sexy fist in the face.
Code Black (5.6%)
I love a black IPA.
Hardknott say there should be no such thing on the label of a bottle of that which they say shouldn’t exist.
Maybe we should be calling this style of beer an IBA, or India Black Ale?
I don’t really care what it’s called when a beer is this good.
Plenty of black coffee, nutmeg, black pepper and malted biscuit before a shed load of dry hops rips the skin from the roof of your mouth and beats the living daylights out of you with it.
A double IPA with Belgian yeasts and West Coast hops.
The beer pours like liquid amber and you get an enormous rush of pine resin that leaves you gasping before the blast of treacle toffee makes everything alright.
The sourness that the Belgian yeast provides is sensational against the rich fruit salad of the malting.
There’s a final blast of caramelised sugar and a very cheeky spike of pineapple before all the moisture is sucked out of your head by the hoppy finish.
A beer that leaves you a dried up, spent sachet of a human, but deeply satisfied. Mind bogglingly good.