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It feel like an age since I was at the Grand Final of the Sainsbury’s Great British Beer Hunt, which I’ve still not got round to blogging about. While I was there, the delegation from Hunter’s Brewery in Devon kindly gave me a brick of their beers, featuring two each of Crack Shot, Half Bore, Hunter’s Gold and Pheasant Plucker. It was really about time I got round to drinking them and blogging about them.

To be honest, I think the reason that I’ve not had them earlier is due to the fact that I really didn’t get on with, Full Bore, their beer that made the final of the competition. I suppose that I thought that they would all be in a similar vein, overly malty and sweet. I really need to get over these prejudices and start enjoying beer for it being beer…

Hunter's Crack ShotI didn’t realise that these were all bottle conditioned, that’ll teach me not to read the label, again. I didn’t really notice any sediment in the bottle of Crack Shot and it was only while chucking the Half Bore into the glass that I realised my mistake. Anyway, here’s the notes that I jotted down for each beer.

Crack Shot poured a burnished copper amber colour, with a decent, slightly off white head. The head didn’t last and dropped to a thin covering fairly quickly. There was a yeasty hint to the nose, at least, there was a note that reminded me of yeast. Other than that, there wasn’t a lot going on, maybe a bit of malt, but nothing I could pin down.

It was quite lively in the mouth, but not overly carbonated. If anything, I thought the body was a touch on the thin side, but it didn’t really detract. It had a subtle marmalade taste to it, with a drying after taste. It wasn’t particularly bitter, but there was a subtle fruitiness from the hops that balanced the malt well.

Hunter's Half BoreHalf Bore poured a near crystal clear copper colour, with just a bit of yeast haze due to the pour. The head was huge during the pour and nearly jumped out the glass. It didn’t last though and dropped to a few patches after a while. There really wasn’t anything on the nose, maybe a hint of malt, but that was it.

It was quite lively due to the bottle conditioning, with quite a bit of prickle in the mouth before any flavour arrived. It wasn’t that it felt thin, but it had a slightly watery edge to it. I couldn’t detect any honey, which normally leaves a particular flavour behind, it was just fruity, from hops rather than malt though. It wasn’t particularly bitter, well balanced you could say, but the after taste did have a hint of hoppy bitterness about it.

Hunter's Hunter's GoldHunter’s Gold Poured, not a golden colour as I was expecting, but a coppery brown. The head was easily formed, but disappeared completely after a few minutes. I did rinse out the glass between this and the Half Bore, which might have had something to do with it. I didn’t really get anything on the nose, maybe a fleeting hint of hops and yeast, but fleeting at best.

It had a good body about it, with a bit of a prickle from the carbonation. It had an initial malty taste that then turned fruity, before a slightly thin drying after taste. Again, it wasn’t particularly bitter, but there was more hop flavour than malt flavour in the after taste. There was also a bit of a yeasty flavour going on too, even though I’m pretty sure I poured this one clean.

Hunter's Pheasant PluckerPheasant Plucker Poured a deep ruby brown, with a very poor off white head. The head didn’t want to form at all and I had to pour from quite a height, to get any sort of head going. What head I did manage to coax, was formed of very large bubbles and didn’t last long at all. There wasn’t much on the nose, my initial thought was that there was a fleeting hint of plums.

The initial taste revealed a beer that had practically zero condition, it was as flat as a pancake. It was really malt driven, with hardly any hop character. The flavours were all malty stewed fruit, right from the initial taste all the way through the after taste. It needed more condition and more hops.

I have to say that I really didn’t get on with the Pheasant Plucker, as it was far too malty for my tastes. But then it might have just been a duff bottle, I’ll find out when I drink the other one. I quite liked the other three though, they were all perfectly balanced, if a little traditional with the varieties of hops that were used. I’ll probably not rush out and buy more, as they’re not really my cup of tea (the clue’s in the blog name). However, I’d happily drink them in the pub if I ever saw them. So if you’re a fan of traditionally flavoured, well balanced ales, check them out.

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