I’ve been a bit tardy in getting these Great British Beer Hunt reviews up on the blog, and have a bit of a back log, so here goes. I wasn’t planning on cracking into them last Thursday, but I had an enforced cycle home, due to the car having to stay in the garage overnight, while they source a replacement part. By the time I got home, I was utterly shattered and decided that I was going to have a beer.
I’ve not had many beers from the Cumbrian based Hawkshead Brewery, but what I’ve had from them has been pretty good. So I decided to start my reviews of the twenty finalists, with their Windermere Pale. It poured a deep straw colour, or a light burnished copper amber if you prefer, with a good white fluffy head.
It smelt absolutely lush, with tropical fruit notes and that definite overly ripe mango that you get from Citra hops; which were just the right side of the cat wee notes you can also get, if you use rather a lot of it. In the mouth it was perfectly pitched body wise, neither too full, nor too light; perfectly quaffable infact. It didn’t feel overly bitter, as there wasn’t a massively bitter bite to it, the bitterness built and lingered the more you drank.
I’m sure some people will find it massively bitter, but it’s more of a flavourful bitterness, rather than a tooth enamel stripping bitterness. This is a seriously nice beer and I’d be very surprised if it wasn’t a contender for the overall win. What a beer to start off with!
I mentioned earlier that I’d had an enforced cycle home. This wouldn’t have been an issue, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’d already swum 4.8Km that morning and cycled 27Km that lunchtime, so I was a bit knackered. I was also suffering some serious DOMS from a gym session on the Tuesday night, so I headed off to have a rather hot bath with a bottle of Williams Brothers Gonny No Brew That!
It was at this point, that I realised just how bitter the Windermere Pale really was, as the Gonny No Brew That! pretty much tasted of nothing but some red fruits. I was slightly disappointed, especially given the back label proclaiming it contained "hops, hops and more hops!". As my bath progressed though, the beer revealed itself more and more as my palate slowly adjusted.
Anyway, it poured a every so slight hazy copper colour with an slightly off white head; which dropped fairly quickly to a thin covering. The nose was initially a bit subtle and hard to pin down, but then after you’ve been sniffing a Citra laiden beer, that’s no great surprise.
It felt quite full bodied for it’s strength and tasted mainly of a fruity red berry flavour. It wasn’t overly bitter, to the point where I mused on my Untappd checkin about the lack of hops. Chris Williams replied, saying that it’s massively dry hopped with Amarillo and they kept the kettle hops low, to keep the bitterness low. All of that said, it did taste bitterer the more I drank, so it was most likely the influence of the Windermere Pale. So I have to reserve judgement on this one, it’s possibly good, just how good I’m not sure. I have another bottle, so will update this post when I’ve drunk it.
So I’ve tried another bottle of the Williams Brothers Gonny No Brew That! and I have to say, that it’s less a case of Gonny No Brew That! and more a case of Gonny Brew Rather A Lot More Of That Please!. It was like a totally different beer, so I’m not sure if it was just the Windermere Pale or actually a bit of a duff bottle.
The aroma still wasn’t overly powerful, but it did have some nice subtle orangy notes to it; which is at least consistent with being hopped with Amarillo. It was also had a nice bitterness to it, right from the off and lingering into the aftertaste. It was just a really nice, pale and hoppy beer and I could quite easily drink a lot more of it.