Tag Archive: Hawkshead


Stewart Hawkshead Margarita Gose
Stewart: Hawkshead: Margarita Gose (Scotland: Gose: 6% ABV)

Visual: Yellowed to lemon juice coloured body. Large off white head. Hazy mid body. Lots of sediment at the base.

Nose: Green leaves. Slight sweat. Thin squeezed lime. Crushed sesame seeds. Thin lemon. Bitty orange juice. Malt toffee drinks.

Body: Slightly tart and sour. Sour cream and chives. Greenery. Tart apples. Sharp lime. Sherbety feel and flavour. Blackpool rock. Wheaty. Malt drinks.

Finish: Lemon. Funky character. Sharp lime. Brown bread. Sour pineapple juice air. Lemongrass. Cane sugar. Greenery.

Conclusion: The observant of you may have noticed that I have not used the word “Margarita” at any point in the actual tasting notes above. This can be interpreted in one of two ways 1) That I am a dedicated tasting noter and as such would not take such short cuts. Or 2) That it has been fucking years since I have had a margarita and as such I only have a vague memory of what they taste like. (Hypothetically there is a 3) It tastes nothing like a margarita, but from the notes you can probably guess that is not true)

Anyway, number 2 is true, I admit. From my vague-arse memories this does take pretty margarita like. So…

Well, for a gose they have worked very well on the body. I’ve had a few gose now, and a thin body seems to be the curse of a bad gose resulting in that terrible sweat sock water style that is the bad stereotype of the style. This pulls forwards a decent body and instead just bursts with flavour. It is a sour, tart base, pushed with squeezed fruit sharp flavours and greenery. This , more than anything else puts me in mind of the first description I ever heard of a gose – like a sour salted Belgian wit. The base really has that Belgian wit texture that is not evident in many of the style I have tried.

As it warms more malt drink notes come out – it makes it more beer like and robust, though that does seem to work against the main margarita conceit. So, rambling aside – is it any good? Actually – yeah it is. Based on vague memory I would say it seems to meet its concept well. As a gose it emphasises the positive of the style and hides the negative. As just a beer it is just beer like enough to feel worth doing rather than just having a margarita itself, it is fresh and refreshing and has a good wodge of tart flavour. Another beer that could have been just a gimmick, but ends up working out much better than that.

Background: Been meaning to try this for a while, recommended by Independent Spirit it is a gose made to try and emulate Margaritas. To do so they have used motueka hops, salt and kaffir lime leaves. In preparation for the soon to be released new Against Me! Album, I was listening to 23 Live Sex Acts album while drinking this.

Hawkshead Wild Beer Oat Wine Cider Brandy Barrel Aged

Hawkshead: Wild Beer: Oat Wine: Cider Brandy Barrel Aged (England: Barley Wine: 9% ABV)

Visual: Deep hazy dried apricot darkened body. Moderate dark brown bubbled head.

Nose: Oily and apples. Hop oils. Stewed apricot. Alpen – with raisins and sultanas emphasised. Dried banana. Raspberry tart notes. Syrupy.

Body: Raspberry. Malt chocolate. Fudge. Apple syrup. Vanilla custard. Hop oils and accompanied bitterness. Alpen. Peach.

Finish: Apple syrup and hop oils. Malt chocolate and fudge. Dry oats. Vanilla and vanilla pods. Raisins. Spicy rum. Greenery bitterness.

Conclusion: Oat Wine! Apple filled oat wine! Now, the original Oat Wine collaboration didn’t really grab me. This is similar, but the cider brandy ageing has had an interesting effect.

That base muesli style and those apricot fruit notes, are still there. In fact the pre hop styling greenery bitterness is kind of still there as well, but leaning towards a more hop oil evident character here.

What is added is a sweet syrupy character, very apple flavoured – though very artificial tasting due to the sweetness. It made me think of apple ice cream syrup, if there is such a thing. I have never encountered it, but if it does exist I would imagine it tastes like this.

Does the beer work? Hmm. Well, while artificial feeling, the sweetness of the apple adds a strong note that does help the beer early on. It adds an easily identifiable element at a point where the base beer was struggling to find itself – this strong character added to the Alpen like base does help sooth some of the flaws.

Later however it does become kind of wearing – the bitterness and oats mix in a slightly leaden fashion. However, overall I will say it is a slight improvement. It still feels like it doesn’t really do enough to leverage the strength of the oat style, but the early,bright, moments are pleasant.

Still weak, but less weak than before. At 9% abv kind of ironic, no?

Background: Not an auspicious start for this one. I had grabbed it at the same time as the standard Oat Wine, a beer which didn’t really impress me. Then I was warned by one commenter to avoid the Cider Brandy barrel aged version. Which I already had. Fuck. Ah well, I oft go against common consensus on beers so let’s give it a go anyway. Drank while listening to New Model Army: Thunder and Consolation. NMA are such a great band.

Hawkshead Wild Beer Co Oat Wine
Hawkshead: Wild Beer Co: Oat Wine (England: Barley Wine: 9% ABV)

Visual: Apricot, hazy bodied and with evident sediment, darkened under its large caramel touched head that leaves suds.

Nose: Peach melba or maybe peaches and strawberry. Creamy. Custard cream biscuits. Muesli. Nettles. Dried apricot.

Body: Thick and oaty. Nettles and greenery bitterness. Dried apricot. Hop oils. Peach syrup. Strawberry. Shouchuu.

Finish Greenery. Bitter. Tannins. Dry. Dried fruit sugars. Peach. Cheap sake. Muesli and sultanas.

Conclusion: Much better than first impressions indicated. Which may be an ominous dooming with faint praise, or possibly a prelude to raving about a new awesome beer. Suspenseful, no?

The aroma sells this as sweet and fruity, peach melba style, which initially isn’t really represented when you reach the body. The muesli tasting base seem to be laden with traditional pre-hop beer greenery bitterness and then leads into a disappointing finish backed by a shouchuu like alcohol character.

So, not good. Though time lets the fruit rise, the oaty base doesn’t seem to play well with it. The thick texture and light fruit seem like two separate entities that never mix or mesh. The best mixing element is where it feels like you get dried fruit sugar notes – kind of dried apricot and peach that seem to match the more restrained and less showy base.

The peach syrup grows late on and as it comes to dominate the beer becomes a thicker and much more fruity medley, but while this improves the beer, it feels like it does so by overwhelming the base rather than complementing the style. So, while it ends up a decent beer when it pushes that fruit up front, it does so by losing what makes it unique, so an ok beer at the end, but doesn’t make use of anything that makes it special.

Background: Now, Wild Beer Co seem to be a bit weak on Barley Wines, and while this is an Oat Wine, it still falls in the same ballpark. Then again this is a collaboration, so may be that they are learning from the main parter in it – Hawkshead. Any which way this was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to Chelsea Wolfe: Hypnos/Flame, mainly because Warren Ellis had mentioned it in his weekly e-mail so I thought I would check it out

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