Windermere Pale includes Goldings and Citra. Really pale gold with a thick white foam. Citra jumps out first with that pungently sharp grapefruit, pine and orange character, then the bitterness is like a steam roller, hitting the tongue and growing and growing and never giving up but never getting too much. Something peachy pokes through then come grapes and elderflower and a big fruit bowl of other delicious things. The doesn’t interfere with all those hops, which is a good thing.
Cumbrian Five Hop includes Fuggles, Citra and Amarillo. It’s darker than Windermere Pale, pouring an amber colour. Lush apricot-like Amarillo comes first, then juicy tangerines, then some earthy, herbal stuff in the background. The malt is more bulky in this, giving a more rounded texture and some tangy caramel to hold everything together. Where the bitterness in Windemere Pale hits and grows, this one hits and hangs around throughout. For me, it doesn’t have the impact of the other two, but it’s still damn delicious.
New Zealand Pale Ale is Green Bullet, Motueka, Riwaka and Nelson Sauvin. Those names alone are enough to get my thirst raging. I might not have smelt a more awesome beer this year. Oranges, tangerines, pineapple, perfumy grape flesh, nectarines – it’s like fruit juice and I love that. The colour is right between the other two and it holds a beautiful foam throughout – the foam on all these beers is excellent. The body is big but somehow doesn’t have a noticeable malt profile – it’s just somehow there holding the hops up onto a big platform for them to holler out loud. Bitterness kicks on the way down and just makes you want to drink more. Beautiful.
A showcase of hops and a showcase of great brewing – these three are really excellent. They are all made on cask as well, though Windermere Pale and Cumbrian Five Hop are both much bigger in bottle. One complaint, which is pedantically minor, is that I want to know all of the hop varieties used in each beer not just two or three of the five. At least the NZPA tells me everything that’s in there.
I don’t drink enough Hawkshead beer. I need to drink more because they make very good beer.