Hobgoblin is an ale produced by the Wychewood brewery in Oxfordshire in the UK. Hobgoblin is the first ale that I really liked. If you’re starting into ales it’s a great way to start. Of all the ales I’ve tried its one of the few I keep coming back to again and again for a reliable shot of flavour and depth that is not extreme and so can be sipped away at all evening with the last drop of the last pint tasting as good as the first drop of the first. It’s very much an everyday beer and I mean that in the best possible sense.
The flavours are just to the malt side although it’s by no means strong. Hops come through on the aftertaste but without the tangy-flower taste that you can get when the hops are too strong, or at least too strong for my taste.
The Wychewood website describes it as toffee, dry, biscuit taste with a chocolate and toffee-citrus aroma. I don’t get those to be honest, there is a solid but light top note and the base note is refreshing and satisfying but not over powering. There is the faintest hint of toasted toffee perhaps if you go looking for it but it won’t be the first thing that hits you.
It’s not overly strong for an ale at 5.2% ABV but certainly you’ll know about it if you have 4+ of them. Happily though you’ll be able to sleep it off without waking up in the next morning feeling like Michael Flatley has sneaked into your ear before having some form of demented fit in your frontal lobe rendering you unable to think or function for the next 48 hours. Ya know, like what happens when you walk past a pint of Heineken.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the nice artwork on the bottle. It does present itself well on the shelf and stands out from the crowd. The current artwork as shown above is apparently a limited edition but it’s been on shelves for a year or more now.
Hobgoblin is widely available in Ireland but is best brought in Aldi for about €2.10 a bottle. I’ve seen it priced north of €3 (Tesco, I’m looking at you) which to be honest its worth, but why pay that when you can get it for closer to the €2 mark.
Ed Rating: 9/10
The puritans among you will scoff at this score for what is a middle of the road inoffensive beer. I like it though, its unassuming, it doesn’t pretend to make a bold statement about the duality of man or other such horse manure, it doesn’t even pretend to have a deep and meaningful back story. It’s just a really nice beer that won’t poison you and won’t break the bank.