I have never really got into the whole Halloween thing, with but with the sudden explosion of trick-or-treaters, Halloween parties and stuff getting in on the act, I thought maybe I should give it a try by tasting some 'scary' beers.
Wychwood is a UK brewery with magical-themed beer - 'dreamcaster', 'wychcraft' and 'dragon's bite' to name just a few.
Unfortunately, only a few beers out of their extensive range are available in New Zealand, but boy are these ones good!
Wychwood Hobgoblin 5.2% ABV
When this was first brewed in 1988, the brewery was called Glenny Brewery. But Hobgoblin was so popular they changed their name to Wychwood and started brewing character-themed beer. And it's not hard to see why this built up such a following.
Hobgoblin pours red with an off-white head and smells of raspberries, roasted malt and has a subtle caramel aroma. The flavours are similar - but bigger. Hobgoblin tastes like raspberries and plums, with a slight hop bitterness and a roasted malt finish to create a very balanced flavour profile. There is no doubt that the plum and berries are most prominent though. It is also very clean on the palate, despite the big flavours.
Wychwood Black Wych Stout 5% ABV
As a dark-beer fan, I think I preferred this to the Hobgoblin, but only just.
Black Wych is black in colour (surprise surprise) with ruby edging and a tan head. It has strong chocolate and caramel aromas, with dark malt and a touch of coffee. Despite the sweetness on the nose, it tastes incredibly dark and rich - just how I like it. It has a dark roasted malt flavour - maybe a little burnt, rich coffee flavours and a hint of dark chocolate. It has a bitter finish, and is a very smooth beer despite being a little on the fizzy side at the beginning of each mouthful.
So while I will not be dressing up this Halloween, making mischief or eating waaaay to many sweets, I will be celebrating the 'holiday' by drinking a few of these Halloween beers. And if you come across Wychwood brews in your local supermarket or liquor store, give them a try - they look good, and taste even better.