Wychwood Brewery - Hobgoblin Ruby
- ABV: 4.5%
- Bottle Size: 500-ml
- Serving Temperature: 48-55° F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Mug
A 2006 World Beer Championships Gold Medal winner and rated Exceptional (91 points) by the Beverage Tasting Institute, Hobgoblin pours a dark amber/ light brown color with an attractive head that leaves good lace. On the nose, rich aromas of caramel, toffee, and maple syrup come forth, along with a bit of true-to-style butterscotch, dark fruits, and a touch of nuttiness and chocolate. There’s also a certain woodiness, as if the beer had been drawn from the cask. On the palate, expect a sweet richness that is restrained and well-balanced by light hop bitterness. Notes of caramel, butterscotch, and raisins are joined by woody, tobacco-like tones, and it finishes with an earthy, almost musty, yeasty character. Wychwood’s flagship beer is quite a treat, and a great rendition of a dark English ale. We recommend pairing it with a snack of red grapes and cubes of cheddar or cotswold cheese. Cheers!
Wychwood Brewery’s history begins in 1983 when Paddy Glenny, an English brewer who had lived and trained in Germany, decided to start a brewing operation in Witney, an historic market town amidst England’s Cotswolds. It is said that Witney is famous for its 3 Bs: bread, blankets, and beer – as brewing has been conducted here for hundreds of years. Paddy bought Clinch’s Brewery, which had been founded in 1841 but closed since the 1960s, and set to work. He called his new brewery the “Eagle Brewery”. A small operation, the brewery originally produced only about 800 barrels per year. In 1985, Paddy was joined by Chris Moss, and the pair set about ramping up production.
In 1988, a local landlord hired the brewery to craft a special beer for his daughter’s wedding (an opportunity no brewer should pass up, considering Oktoberfest began in a similar fashion). Chris accepted the challenge and produced the famed Hobgoblin Ale (which we have to assure you did not bear that name at the time – imagine the bride’s reaction if her celebratory wedding beer was called “Hobgoblin”!). Some ale remained after the wedding, which was sold to the public and was an instant hit. Chris and Paddy brewed more, and “legend” has it that a sketch of a hobgoblin was left on a firkin of the beer when it was out of the brewers’ sight. The name stuck, and the brewery embraced the theme, renaming the operation “Wychwood” in 1990 after the local Wychwood Forest. In that year, Paddy sold his share of the business to Ian Rogers, who sold his home to join the business with Chris. Together they expanded the business, including the creation of a chain of 40 pubs specializing in authentic English cask-conditioned “real ale” and tied to the Wychwood Brewery. Today, the Hobgoblin line features the original Ruby ale (this month’s selection), as well as Gold, IPA, and King Goblin, a stronger version of Ruby. To learn more about the brewery, check them out at www.wychwood.co.uk.
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