Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin Ruby Beer
The Brewery: Wychwood Brewery
The Beer: Hobgoblin
The Brewers Home: Oxfordshire, England
The Alcohol/Volume: 5.2%
The Situation: Relaxing on the couch
Wychwood brewery is located across the Atlantic Ocean in the United Kingdom. It was established by Paddy Glenny in 1983 who purchased an older brewery plant build in 1841. Over time the company changed hands a bit and is now owned by Ian Rogers and Chris Moss. The Hobgoblin beer was actually their first big success and was first brewed in 1988 and first bottled in 1996. Currently, their website (www.wychwood.com) lists 4 production beers and 10 seasonal beers only available at certain times in the year. You can read more about the company and the legend being the “Wych Wood” Forest at their website.
This beer comes in a large 500ml/16.9fl.oz and is constructed with a dark golden colored glass. Around the shoulder of the bottle is an embossed logo of a Wtich flying on her broom, the logo of Wychwood Brewery. Around the base of the bottle you can see “Wychwood” embossed all around. The label has an evil looking Goblin with a bloody axe. The bottle describes the beer as:
“Full bodied & well balanced with a chocolate toffee malt flavor, moderate bitterness & a distinctive fruity character & ruby red glow”
The package I opened tonight was a left-over Christmas pack at my local store. It came in a tall tin canister and contained one glass and one bottle of beer. It was on sale so I couldn’t pass it up. The glass is nice and tall and has a wonderful etched logo of the Hobgoblin.
The bottle describes this as a ‘Ruby Beer’ and this is pretty much dead on. It has a golden ruby hue and is fairly dark. The glass is fully opaque and froths up nicely when poured.
The smell is very refreshing and cool. I’m not detecting any particular aromas other than a fresh, malty beer. I can’t really explain how great it smells but there is definitely an inviting crispness as if it were brewed just yesterday.
The burst of flavor when this wonderful ale touches the tongue is a great experience. There are so many things you can easily detect yet it feels fully balanced and quite enjoyable. The dominant flavor changes a little from sip to sip. One sip has a nice fruitiness to it and the next sip has a malty bitter chocolate sweetness, similar to what you would get from bakers dark chocolate. The bottle describes a toffee flavor but I’m not picking this up. The bitterness is spot on, not over bearing and not too watered down. The after-taste lingers for a short time and leaves a fresh fruity feeling on the palate with a bit of a dry finish. As the beer cooled down the bitter chocolate and malt flavors became more prominent.
The Final Drop:
The beer is wonderfully refreshing but still full bodied, making this a great choice for any season and any time of day. There are some strong notes of fruit commonly found in lighter beers which make it a good change from your typical stout or porter, but also has the bitter chocolate flavor commonly found in some darker beers. It strikes a good balance between two types of beer and I’d consider it almost a hybrid.
The Pairing Possibilities:
At the request of one of our readers I’m adding this section to help give an idea of what to pair this drink with. This is one of those drinks that could possibly be paired with any cigar. It has the light notes that match a mild cigar and the dark bitter notes that typically match a good full bodied cigar. To strike that perfect balance, just as the beer does, I’d suggest picking up a smooth medium bodied cigar. Here are some suggestions and background notes you can read up on for some of the pairings: