Happy Hallowe’en readers!
As it’s the season of tricks and treats it was only appropriate for me to ‘treat’ myself to some seasonal beers. During the month of October I had been keeping my eyes out for some brews that I would be able to enjoy on the 31st.
Once fully decorated with animatronics, ghouls, zombies, witches and demons, the house I share with my partner is certainly the most noticeable on the street… We have life-size witches visible from the outside, cauldrons-a-plenty and scary clips projected on the windows for passers-by to endure!
I managed to purchase a variety of beers with a Hallowe’en theme from a couple of supermarkets and slotted them away snugly in my beer fridge – I allowed them their own dedicated shelf.
The 31st of October came, and Hallowe’en had descended upon the neighbourhood. It was a night with lots of frights via our decorations and sugar for the local trick-or-treaters (we had SO many, we were answering the door to a variety of weird and wonderful costumes asking for free stuff). Some say Hallowe’en is for children, but I defy anyone to disagree that Hallowe’en-themed beer is the best way for an adult to celebrate the spookiest night of the year. Combine these seasonal brews with a movie that my partner and I turned into a drinking game and you have got yourself a pretty good night!
First up was a beer I have previously enjoyed. Its full review is found within the beer playoffs. The reason I bought it once more is because I found it at the beginning of October and noticed the limited-edition Hallowe’en design on the bottle. Pumpkins and dark, mysterious woods set the scene and the Goblin’s axe was switched with a pumpkin wearing a jester’s hat. At the base of the bottle the tagline read “the season of mischief”.
This is a great beer; I much prefer it to the original ‘Hobgoblin’ beer by Wychwood brewery. With an ABV of 4.2%, it’s not overwhelming in strength and pours a light colour. It has a great mix of malts and hops, with a taste of caramel to go with it. Having had this beer before, I knew it was going to be good and it continued to deliver.
Rating: 4.25/5. ‘Hobgoblin Gold’ continues to be a fantastic beer and will be enjoyed many more times – special packaging or not!
This beer was a standout on the supermarket shelf; with the Grim Reaper as the primary logo and a tagline of “Inspired by Belgium, Made in England”. The name ‘Trooper’ comes from the band Iron Maiden. The lead singer, Bruce Dickenson, is a real ale enthusiast and helped develop this beer with Robinsons brewery. With subtle notes of lemon, this deep ale comes in at an ABV of 6%, meaning that you instantly get a taste that this is a strong beer. Interestingly, there was also a hint of banana.
Rating: 3.0/5. ‘Trooper Hallowed’ is a lovely beer, though probably not one that I would ensure I’d drink again. It’s a deep ale, slightly bitter for my taste buds, but I’m sure it will be enjoyed by many others.
LITTLE HORROR OF HOPS
This is a 4.9% ABV hoppy IPA which stood out clearly on the shelf due to its horror-themed packaging; a colourful label, with droplets of blood coming from the feature image. A beer promising a good hit of hops usually bodes well for me and this looked like it was going to be a great beer, but it was also described as a ‘rye beer’. I’ve had my fair share of ‘rye beers’ – a rye beer is where at least some of the malts is from the rye grain. Compared to a similar rye-less beer, ryes are often spicier, with a touch less bitterness. I’ve had mixed experiences with rye so far – so I was uncertain in the direction this beer was going to tilt.
I popped the beer cap and poured it into my Game of Thrones, Targaryen glass (which instantly makes any beer look even better). It poured a deep amber in colour and citrus aromas came from the glass. Hops were plentiful in this beer and the citrus flavours crept through subtly too. Spice was limited, and a slight bitter edge was present, creating a balanced, well-rounded IPA.
Rating: 3.75/5. Best new beer of the night and will keep my eye out for future Shipyard beers – great Hallowe’en design too!
The final Hallowe’en beer of the night – by this point I was asking myself “Why is all the beer gone?!”. By Greene King, Westgate brewery. The logo and artwork for the bottle was brilliant – a ghoul with a tankard of beer! What better way to make friends with scary creatures at this time of year, than by sitting down and having a drink with them? That wasn’t necessary in this case though, as the green ghoul on the bottle actually looked quite friendly.
Dark as a swamp, this beer poured with little head and little scent. It was bitter. Unfortunately that’s about all I can comment on. Not a beer for me; the depth of flavour was lacking and there were no contrasting elements. Awesome seasonal design, but lacked imagination on sampling.
Rating: 1.5/5. For the ‘novelty’ factor, I’m glad I’ve tried it this Hallowe’en, but I won’t be looking out for it next year. I’ve had some other good beers by Greene King (they do a smashing IPA), so I’m not losing faith in the brewery – just this one wasn’t for me.
I hope you had a spook-tacular night and I am looking forward to hearing about any Hallowe’en beers that you found! Send me a message about your scary beers!