Brewer in Focus: Wychwood

There’s a few familiar faces whenever you go to the beer aisle in a UK supermarket. Old Speckled Hen, the once-proud brand now just a face for the grotesque Greene King behemoth. Tanglefoot, the pleasant but uninspiring output of Badger. And, of course, Wychwood’s Hobgoblin.

At £1 a bottle in Aldi, Hobgoblin was my drink of choice all through university. Following a few big marketing campaigns it’s gained a bit more respectability, with some questionable east London pubs choosing to serve bottles of it straight from the fridge. Regardless, I still have a soft spot in my liver for that particular beer.

Beyond the supermarket shelves and pub chillers, however, there’s a range of other fun Wychwood beers to try. At least the labels look a lot more interesting.

I especially like how they’ve used Magic: The Gathering card artists to design the labels.

Dr Thirsty’s No.4 Blonde

I’m not sure if it’s the wild, gleaming eyes, the evil laughter, or the ridiculous hat that makes me instantly distrust Dr Thirsty. At the very least, I’m questioning his qualifications.

Image result for i don't think that man went to medical school

As for the beer, the No.4 Blonde is dirty gold, with no hint of the shimmering effervescence promised on the bottle. There’s a fair bit going on in the aroma: peaches, orange rind, dark, toasty malt.

Creature – Human Trickster. 4B, tap to transform into Shambling Drunk. 2/1

It’s a different story when I taste it though. There’s a hint of orange rind bitterness, with a little of that peachiness from the bouquet, but it’s bland and disappointing. This beer tastes like it’s been stretched too thin.

It’s not a bad beer. But it’s not really a good one either. 3/5

Imperial Red

Creature – Human warrior. First strike. 3/2

This ruby ale has a bit more flavour to it than Dr Tasty’s, and a little more body too. There’s a lot of tasty, malty sweetness, though without some bitterness to balance that out it’s a little overpowering.

Decent. I’d have another. 4/5

Black Wych

Planeswalker – Liliana. I’m not the only person who sees that, surely?

After a couple of beers with less flavour and body than I really wanted, this 5% porter filled me with hope.

But after a few beers suffering from a lack of hops, this one goes too far. There’s no flavour to balance out the bitterness. It’s like drinking cold, crap coffee. The caramel sweetness promised on the label? Nowhere to be found.

If I wanted crap coffee, I’d have gone to Costa. 2/5

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