beer reviews

A British answer to Great Divide Yeti?

Oakham Ales‘ Hawse Buckler is just the thing for a cosy pub on a chilly autumn evening.

Thanks to the handy colour coding chart in the Helter Skelter in Frodsham, Cheshire, I spotted that it was the only black beer on offer and ordered a pint before I’d clocked the strength – a not insignificant 5.6%.

It was black, with a beautiful tan head, which I’m always pleased to see on a dark beer. The first sip was one of those rare moments where a smile spread across my face before I’d even had chance to engage my brain. I was instantly reminded of a beer which seems to divide opinion — Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout.

Oakham reckon HB is a porter, but it’s got enough body to justify calling itself stout. It’s got all the coffee and chocolate flavours you’d expect up front, followed by a massive smack of citrusy, sharp, grapefruity hops. These flavours don’t work together, but they sure as Hell contrast nicely. It’s like drinking two different beers at the same time and therefore an extremely stimulating experience.

Yes, it’s a bit extreme, and, no, I couldn’t drink it all night, but it is exactly what it claims to be — ‘a special’. I’m not surprised it won best strong dark ale, best dark ale and was a contender for the world’s best overall ale at the World Beer Awards this year.

Maieb is also a fan of Hawse Buckler. And Beer Justice answers our queries about why the Helter Skelter isn’t in the Good Beer Guide here.


4 replies on “A British answer to Great Divide Yeti?”

Yeti once threatened my marriage. Musta been a bad day, but my wife was downright perturbed that I had such an elated facial expression and gush of raw vocal emotion of delight the first time I so much as sniffed that beer. Perturbed because I don’t react the same way when she walks into the room. I write the different response off as familiarity. When I first saw her, I had a similar reaction, but she was paying probably paying attention in class.

Like you, I understand the concept of beer variables not working together. I hated the first few American-hopped stouts I tried. I still don’t prefer them, but Lost Coast’s 8 Ball Stout made me understand them, much the way that larb made me understand Asian heat. There was a point, after all. I now love Thai food, but generally refrain from ordering a something like a Victory Storm King. If I do, I know what to expect, and am prepared to enjoy it.

Had a very pleasant Sunday lunchtime on the Hawse Buckler last week. Thankfully I had a roast dinner to go with it, I still wobbled out the Flowerpot though. Good in the bottle but phenomenal on cask and proof positive that Oakham aren’t just a one-hop-trick pony.

sounds interesting…i guess with enough refinement, anything’s possible. its is in food, so why not in Beer? and Haddonsman – yeah, i agree. I’ve been impressed with Oakham’s recent output.

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