During my recent (uncharacteristically sunny) half-term jaunt to the Lake District, a moment of madness descended upon me like muggy mountain mist. Misguided as it was, I decided to take my family on a ‘leisure drive’ over Hardnott Pass, – the Lake Districts most precipitous mountain road that connects the Duddon Valley with Eskdale and the icy seaside delights of Whitehaven, St Bees, and, er Sellafield.
Now I haven’t a good head for heights at the best of times, and despite having driven over the pass on numerous occasions, still forget how bloody terrifying it is. With the kids in the back, idly prodding their iPods whilst occasionally pointing out sheep carcasses, I spent the entire journey on the verge of tears, with apocalyptic visions of my brake cables pinging free from their housings, sending the car careering out of control before cartwheeling down the scree to a violent, fiery end.
Only on returning to the calm, flat, normal-sized roads of Windermere was I able to pull into Booths* supermarket, wrench my fists from the steering wheel and head on in to select a suitable booze to settle my nerves. Despite the obscene number of beers on display, one bottle leapt off the shelves – it was a Hardknott Queboid, a Belgian style IPA mashup, and at a punchy 8%**, just the boozy hit I was after.
Hardknott are a progressive, experimental brewery who take their inspiration from Belgian monastic beers (amongst other sources) and Queboid is a fine example of their craft. It’s an abbey dubbel-style booze with the added thrust of west coast American hops – a rich, malty sweet beer, balanced by a citrus hoppy kick which gives way to red berries and the distinctively Belgian hit of ripe bananas.
A quick scan of the Hardknott Brewery website reveals a plethora of funky beers available. I’m looking forward to sampling more of their fine boozes – just as long as I don’t have to drive over Hardknott Pass*** to get ’em.
Brewery: Hardknott Brewery, Millom, Cumbria
Beer name: Queboid
* Booths beer selection is second to none. It’s not really a supermarket, it’s an off-licence that sells bread.
** Sections of Hardknott Pass are at a gradient of 33%. Over to you, chaps…
*** I won’t. It turns out they have an online shop.