I’ve long been a fan of Anspach & Hobday and their beer, and so when I heard that following a recent and very successful Crowdfunding exercise, they had begun to put their beer into cans, I just had to get some to see what they’d done.
The branding is there, updating the imagery from the bottles, the cans look great, continuing the Anspach & Hobday themes of of almost etching-like drawings.
So far so good, but what about the beer?
The Sour Dry Hop (4.9%) fizzes with life as it pours from its can, a farmyard and flower border aroma wafting up from the beer as it froths with life.
Dry hopped with Citra and soured with Lactobacillus yeast this is a super dry, keenly tart and fresh as a daisy beer.
It’s lemony and floral, with freshly cut nettle greenery, acidic fruity zest and a light earthy fug.
Not my favourite style of beer by any stretch, but this one is brilliantly made.
The Ordinary Bitter (3.7%) has reminded me just how good a well made Bitter can be.
In these days of DIPAs and NEIPAs and Sours and Impy Stouts, this little beer stands out as weirdly unusual.
But it’s damned good, and takes me back to a time long in the ancient past when, if asked what I wanted in a pub, I’d make the joke that, “I’m a Bitter man.”
Caramel and brown bread, honey and digestive biscuit malts bring a soft and round, chewy and satisfying sweet body, while the hops – in this case a modern variety in the form of Chinook, just to keep the Craft Brigade* happy – gives you tobacco leaves and lemon zest, hazel leaves and a hint of woodland berries.
This is super good.
The Pale Ale (4.4%) is the weakest of the four cans, but it’s still a fine version of what has become a Craft Beer staple.
Lemon Bonbons and strawberries in the aroma pull you down into the pale straw coloured beer and its soft salted caramel waffle and shortcake malt. The hops – Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra – provide a super clean and crisp bite, all lemon zest and redwood bark, pine needles and lime leaves all wrapped in the driest, pithiest, steely herbal leaves, making for a lovely lip puckering finish.
The Sea Salt & Chilli Stout (7.4%) begins with a lovely fruity red pepper aroma that becomes a lovely fruity red pepper flavour as you start drinking.
The malting is big and boisterous, all leather backed chairs and aged wooden bureaus, chocolate cake and black coffee, toffee and molasses, while the hops provide a slap of herbal greenery and Bramley apple skins, aniseed and nettle tea.
And all the while the Scotch Bonnet peppers build their spicy warmth, never getting overpowering but definitely making their presence felt, while the sea salt adds a lovely ozone dryness to the big voluptuously sexy finish.
*NB: I count myself amongst them
Source: Anspach & Hobday