BeerCast #62 – Hardknott Showcase

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in BeerCasts, Brewery Showcase, English Beer | One Comment

The leap from enthusiastic homebrewer to full-scale production is one that happens with some regularity in the world of beer – but there are other routes available. Making the switch from owning a pub to owning a brewery is rarer, and no less difficult. Dave Bailey, landlord of the Woolpack Inn near Boot in Eskdale is such a brewer. Wanting to increase traffic into the pub, and with some empty outbuildings, back in 2005 he set about producing his own beer to supply his regulars.

Five years later the Hardknott Brewery (named after the Hardknott Pass, behind the inn) were doing so well that Dave reluctantly sold the pub to concentrate on the brewing. Now located on an industrial estate in Millom, the distinctively branded beers are now being seen with more regularity around the country. We haven’t seen any north of the border as yet, but a trip to London gave us the chance to buy four of Dave’s beers for a brewery showcase. On the panel today – Richard, Shovels and Blair, making his second and last BeerCast appearance…

1. Dark Energy (4.9%abv)
Hardknott Brewery, Millom, Cumbria.
500ml glass bottle

What They Say
“Dark, fruity, bitter, spicy. Galena and Willamette hops are added to a grist mix as complicated as an astrophysicist’s equation.”

What We Say
Blair – I like a lot of the tastes, but it maybe lacks body
Richard – High carbonation and sour finish, has a lot of good properties but some unusual ones
Shovels – Dry prune taste, little bit of smoke, sour aftertaste 5

2. Infra Red (6.5%abv)
Hardknott Brewery, Millom, Cumbria.
500ml glass bottle

What They Say
“This IPA is not particularly Pale. In fact it’s a deep ruby red. Based on a modern American style beer from Oregon using Cascade and Centennial hops in appropriate proportions, for bittering, aroma and dry hopping balanced with a strong Crystal malt backbone.”

What We Say
Richard – Really nice, great bitter hop flavour coming through 8
Shovels – Good hop flavour, but better beers out there for this style
Blair – A little bit more floral or citrus would be nice, but I like it 7

3. Queboid (8.0%abv)
Hardknott Brewery, Millom, Cumbria.
500ml glass bottle

What They Say
“A double IPA. Strong and flavoursome.”

What We Say
Blair – Even-keeled beer, Belgian influence on an American style
Shovels – I’d like a bit more hops in this one 7
Richard – Sweet at first, then dry when the hops arrive 7

4. Granite 2009 (10.4%abv)
Hardknott Brewery, Millom, Cumbria.
500ml glass bottle

What They Say
“Created using natural Lake District water extracted from volcanic rock. The heat of our copper drove the malt sugars to twice the concentration producing a burnt toffee flavour.”

What We Say
Blair – I’d call it an imperial smoked porter, but I really like it 9
Richard – Alcohol but no sweetness, it’s really interesting
Shovels – To be honest, I like it because it doesn’t taste like a barley wine 7

– (clockwise from top left) Shovels, Blair, Richard

BeerCast panel verdict
Hardknott Granite 2009 (23½/30)
Hardknott Infra Red (22½/30)
Hardknott Queboid (21½/30)
Hardknott Dark Energy (18/30)

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    Stay tuned for our 63rd BeerCast, as we assemble the London chapter for another Brewery Showcase. Our Southern branch will be tackling the beers of the Knops Brewing Company – no strangers to our Edinburgh team – but how will Rob’s beers go down in the other capital? Find out in a few weeks…
    Hardknott Brewery website

    1 Comment

    1. Craig AS
      June 23, 2011

      Yay! Go Cumbria!

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