I have often met people who are looking for a good bitter, this in itself seems like an easy task – surely one of the classic British beers should be easy to find? sadly it quickly becomes apparent that this is one of the harder quests which a beer drinker may take on.
The classic bitter is actually quite hard to find in the midst of every brewer trying to create their own take on brown beer, often it is those that go back to basics (or indeed have stuck with them) that create a bitter so ordinary that it is worth talking about, Old Hooky is one of those beers.
The nose is a lovely fresh slightly citrus smell with slight overtones of black tea, you can instantly tell with this beer that it is going to be a classic, no nonsence beer. The initial taste is a bit like a well brewed cup of tea and quenches the thirst, next comes the rounded fruity malty flavour. The end notes are more malt leading into a very well balanced bitter hoppyness – not overpowering or sharp but rounded and smooth.
This beer is a real beer drinker’s beer, it is what many expect from a good quality bitter. With all the different styles of beer out there and the temptation to brew something which amazes, the effect of making a beer that is just right is often overlooked. Some of my favourite beers which I have come across at festivals have been those that “tick the boxes”, a beer that is well crafted, balanced and a pleasant drink is often more skillful that something which tastes technical but misses the mark in some way. I have had many a technical beer that although is very clever, I would not be going back for more – Old Hooky is not this beer.
At 4.6% this is a session beer and can be enjoyed either at room temperature or slightly chilled, I would not chill it too far but that really would be to personal taste. The thirst quenching and bitter taste would make this ideal with many foods sweet or savoury and it would not overpower either.
Brewed in Oxfordshire, Old Hooky is amongst a very drinkable selection of beers from the Hook Norton brewery. One thing of particular note in these beers is that they are mostly of a sensible ABV, it takes a particular skill to brew a fine beer with a low alcohol content and Hook Norton manage it. For more information on their selection of beers and where to buy them why not visit their website