We like Eden Brewery. They only started in late 2011 but in that time they’ve produced a lot of different beers. Their range of Great British Ales consists of proper old school beer styles, beautifully crafted. If your dad ever grumbles that they don’t make beer like they used to, pipe an Eden Best into his growler and watch him whistle with delight.
Alongside their beers for old-timers sake, they also like to experiment. Their ‘Hop Forward’ range is designed around the best new and old hop flavours and includes a cold fermented lager powered up with American mosaic hops; while their ‘Withnail & I’ range of craft ales, inspired by the drunken cinematic film of the same name, contains an exciting number of experimental ales, including Black Jake, brewed with Seville oranges and coriander, and Antifreeze, brewed with a hop so new it doesn’t yet have a name (it currently answers to the snappy moniker CF-103).
Today we’re trying out the first beer from a new range they’ve called Psycho – “designed to mess with your mind”. There’s a fruit packed “cherry bomb” and an ‘espresso shot’ porter on their way, but first up is a hop-packed hard hitter called ‘hop rocket’.
With American hop favourites chinook and cascade combining with the British admiral and rakua from New Zealand, it’s something of a hop who’s who, but the first thing you notice about this beer is the booze. It’s a hefty 7.8% (a mere warm up for ‘cherry bomb’ which will explode at a mighty 9.4%) and it immediately smells intoxicating. The booziness is there in the taste as well, a lovely thick caramel slab of alcohol, ripping open the senses and delivering an immediate buzz of happiness to the brain.
A lot of modern pale ales have become little more than showcases for funky hop flavours with the malty alcohol bit almost getting left behind in the stampede for bitter benefits. But that’s not the case with this brew, and that medley of hop A-listers seems to infuse an additional narcotic effect into the system above the exceptional taste of beer.
As you would hope from such a global gathering of hops there are plenty of different flavours to pick out – we’re claiming flavour wheel favourites citrus, pine, a touch of tingling spice and good dose of earthy bitterness – but it’s the overall melting pot that matters most: a rounded hop intensity that perfectly compliments the headiness of the alcohol.
Hop Rocket is another reason to like the Eden Brewery and we’ll be only too happy to let them mess with our minds some more…
Brewery: Eden Brewery, Penrith, Cumbria
Beer name: Psycho Hop Rocket
Hops used: chinook, cascade, rakua, admiral
Thanks to Eden Brewery for sending us the beer for review