It was the Good Beer Guide Selection meeting on Saturday at the upstairs room in the Baum in Rochdale still, for a couple more weeks or so, CAMRA's National Pub of the Year. Over 45 people attended and as usual, Simon, the owner, had a great selection of beers for us to help the deliberations.All were in tip top condition and we drank at least one of them dry and probably knocked a big hole in several more. I stuck to Mallinsons at first, but when Hawkshead Cumbrian 5 Hop came on, I knew I had a date with destiny. It is truly irresistible. The brewery describes it as "A thoroughly modern beer made, as is our way, with a blend of traditional English and modern American hops, five varieties in all.” The result is a superbly drinkable beer which as full bodied, clean and crisp, but with layer upon layer of hoppy delights. It is typical of Hawkshead, whose standards and attention to detail are hard to equal.
I should say too that the preceding beers from Mallinsons were no slouches either with the Herkules Centennial, double hopped with the hops of that name, being delightfully bitter, but again precise and clear and very drinkable. Motueka provided some Southern Hemisphere fruitiness and complexity which was just as appreciated. It was a long meeting, but nonetheless buoyed up by great beers from great brewers, a few of us lingered over a few more pints of 5 Hop afterwards.
Who could blame us?