Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Beer from the Brewing Grave (2)

After I ran out of Hoegaarden (Hoegaarden is my beery dirty little secret) on Saturday night when watching the football, I was tempted into trying the bottle of Rochefort 8 which I mentioned here. E was watching some scabby film or other, so  I sought solace in Twitter, where Ghostie egged me on to do live tasting notes. It was actually pretty good though, with just a hint of staling coming towards the end as it warmed up. It started clear as a bell with perfect carbonation. Light chestnut in colour. Nose was slight, but of perfumed honey. Same perfume in taste - rose petals - with an underlying dry pepper note and alcohol warmth. The middle was spicy and figgy, but still fresh, though a touch thin. Finish was cough linctus with tongue coating dried fruit and alcohol and that's where the cardboard just crept in. In truth it stood up well, but I wouldn't leave it 15 plus years.

Thus giddy with excitement and inflamed by the Hoey, I rooted around and pulled out one of two surviving bottles of Hen's Tooth brewed by the long closed Morland of Abingdon. The brewery was taken over by Greene King and closed, though GK brewed Hen's Tooth for quite a while, though I don't know if they still do. I reviewed this beer here in December 2007 and it was stunningly good. Would it have survived another three plus years? I needn't have worried, though the beer had become a darker brown if memory serves. Here's the notes: Best before 9 Feb 2000. Sharp hiss of carbonation. Clear and properly carbonated with a firm sediment. Russett brown in colour. Caramel malt nose. Slight metallic notes lead to a complex taste of alcohol, vine fruits and malt loaf. Not at all tired, though the Seville Orange I noted then has now matured into raisiny vine fruits. Finishes with plenty bitterness and alcohol. No evidence of staling.

This was a piece of  brewing history. I wasn't too surprised that it was still good, but I'd be pushing my luck to keep its surviving sibling much longer.  All in all I enjoyed my little trip into the past, though of course, I'd rather be tasting a fresh one from a still existing Morland.

Now I know what you're thinking. "Fine for a sad old fart like Tandleman to spend a Saturday night on Twitter, but what the feck was a fine young man like Ghostie doing?" And you'd be right of course.


Ghost Drinker said...

I think I had as good a night as you did on the night in question, but I have no doubt in saying you were drinking much more interesting beers than I was!!

It's always good to have a bit of twitter banter over some, o so very fine, drinks! ;)

arn said...

your little secret has been a recent goto of mine also.
Hoegaarden is also now 3 for 2 in tesco. stock up!

Martyn Cornell said...

Interesting - my personal experience, I have to say, is that the Hen's Tooth from GK was better than it was from Morland's, though it then seemed to go downhill and I stopped buying it, swapping to Brakspear's Triple, which I found more reliable.

Hoegaarden - only on a hot summer's day, thanks …

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

GK do still indeed brew Hens Tooth , at least they do for export to the colonies. I have it for sale on the shelf right now, packaged in a wonderfull clear glass bottle to show off the hue and add that 'imported' character :-)

Tandleman said...

Thanks Kieran. Anyone seen it here?