Once again, I’m getting distracted from this blogs main focus – chasing down the beers from the 1001 I must try before I die. It’s been over eleven weeks since I last marked a beer off the list! It’s time to get serious again…here’s beer number 142, hailing from the Hook Norton Brewery in England, Old Hooky.
What’s on the bottle?
Regal red label with a picture of the Hook Norton Brewery embossed in ‘copper’ on the bottom of the label. Advertises that it’s been brewed in the Cotswold Hills for over 160 years, so you immediately get a sense of this beers history…anything that’s been around for 160 years must be good, right? The back label describes the great balance of the beer and suggests pairing with meat dishes (a little vague). It also has a story about how the brewer knocked down his own home to build the new brewery on the same site! Now that’s passion for your beer.
What’s in the bottle?
The body is soft, but it’s also a bit watery. The flavour starts with the expected British fruit sweetness – preserved orange peel, dried raisins, maybe a bit of marmalade too. The malt is big and bready at the start of the glass, which adds the balance advertised on the label. The bitterness kicks in right from the beginning, sticking to the side of the tongue initially and then spreading to the top of the mouth once all the other flavours have gone. Unfortunately there’s also a certain ‘tang’ that gets stuck with it towards the end of the glass, and the balanced malt dissapers in this. It ruins the whole experience a bit.
Whenever I have one of these traditional British ales, I always end up thinking “surely this must be better from the source”. And by the source, I of course mean a handpump in a quaint british pub. The bottled versions of these ales just never really do it for me. Thankfully, it won’t be much longer until I can test that theory properly – looks like we’re headed on a Euro trip next year!
Fact from the book…
Nobody seems to know how ‘Old Hooky’ got its name?!