I've talked a lot about a precious ruby ale that hails from England. I've always said "You want to try a new brew? Check out the Hobgoblin!" It gave people weird impressions, and some of them just gave me weird looks. The reason why I'm posting this is because I haven't had one in awhile, and it's definitely one to blog about.
I popped the top on this 330mL bottle, which by the way, has a really cool look on the front. Great visual art. The pour is great as well, a dark amber ale by the looks of it. They call it a "Ruby Beer", and after looking into it, it's actually part of the ESB (Extra Special/Strong Bitter) branch. I would have considered it otherwise, seeing as it didn't really taste like an ESB to me.
As seen in the picture, it pours with a solid half-inch of head, and it doesn't dissipate as other red or amber ales do. The nose gives off malty smells with hints of toffee, and perhaps even chocolate, but hardly if so.
On first sip, I immediately notice the texture before the flavour. It gets full points for mouth-feel and carbonation. I taste malts, combined with little hints of toffee and it truly is bitter-sweet on the tongue. Mainly bitter, of course. It has a nutty-malt, and lots of malt. It's not the easiest to explain, but if you had a sip then you'd understand.
The main reason why I recommend this brew is because it could be looked at as a gateway beer to determine what kinds of beers you may like in the future. I've recommended this beer to many friends, and some of them, depending on their taste buds, have narrowed down their tastes to find particular beers that they like. Some of them have found they like ESB brews, some have found Weizens (by the dislike of this brew), and some have found comfort in the red, or even dark ales.
It doesn't have the best taste in the world, but it is great. It can definitely be put in the ring as a beginner's brew. It's not going to taste like any econo-beer you've tried, but it gives that different taste which you will like at least parts of; if you like none, you'll probably like a Weizen (wheat beer, just ask for recommendations).
There you have it, solidly satisfying.
The Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin gets a classy 7.5 / 10