For the Tenth Beer of Christmas, we travel 225 miles south east of Dublin to the Wychwood Forest and the brewery that shares its name.
The half liter (16.9 oz) bottle poured out with a quickly growing
head. I had to be careful not to overflow the glass. The head
dissipated slowly with a light, lush smell. Chocolate, toffee, and
coffee with a bit of malty sweetness. I sat here for a long time just
inhaling the scent. The best description I can give is that it was as
welcoming as the smell of my grandmother’s kitchen when she wasn’t
cooking. My grandmother was the best cook I’ve ever known. When she
was cooking, the kitchen smelled like heaven. In between meals, the
lingering aroma whispered a promise of bliss. Hobgoblin whispers, too.
Pour a glass, hold it to your nose with both hands, inhale, enjoy,
The ruby brown ale delivered on that promise. Full bodied, with a
silk smooth feel, Hobgoblin carries the chocolate and coffee into the
taste, along with a clean, almost subdued bitterness from the hops. One
thing I found particularly interesting was that the pleasant bitter
aftertaste came as an echo, several seconds after the swallow.
The Fourth Beer of Christmas, Flying Dog’s Classic Pale Ale, was
dubbed “my favorite so far.” While very different in taste and
structure, Hobgoblin just surpassed it in this year’s list. But the
great news for Flying Dog is that Hobgoblin is $4 per bottle while
Flying Dog is about $1.50. Ounce to ounce, Hobgoblin (in a bigger
bottle) is twice as much.
If you get a hankering, grab your 20-sided dice and head over to my
house. We’ll break out the Hobgoblin and storm the gates of Mordor. I
get to be the ranger.
Brewer: Wychwood Brewery
Location: Whitney, Oxfordshire, UK
Style: English Brown Ale
Alcohol Content: 5.2% ABV
Interesting Note: The website includes a fun and highly interactive
design. Animated hobgoblins (the larger cousins of goblins, of course)
and page turning spell books full of lore and history dominate the
site. However, the odd “forest sounds” coming from your computer
speakers might drive your dogs a little crazy.