Is Hobgoblin a Real Ale?
As an expert sommelier and brewer, I can confidently say that Hobgoblin, the flagship brand of Wychwood Brewery, is indeed a real ale. But what exactly does that mean?
Real ale is a term used to describe a type of beer that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the container from which it is served, typically casks or bottles. This natural process of conditioning gives the beer its unique flavors and character. Unlike other types of beer that are pasteurized or filtered, real ale is alive and continues to develop and mature over time.
Hobgoblin fits this description perfectly. It is traditionally brewed using a combination of malted barley, hops, water, and yeast. The yeast plays a crucial role in the fermentation process, converting sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide, while also imparting its own flavors and aromas to the beer.
One of the defining characteristics of real ale is that it is served without the use of additional carbon dioxide or nitrogen pressure. Instead, it relies on the natural carbonation produced during fermentation. This results in a softer, smoother mouthfeel and a more subtle carbonation compared to beers that are artificially carbonated.
I have had the pleasure of experiencing Hobgoblin on multiple occasions, both on tap and from the bottle. Each time, I was greeted with its distinctive ruby color and rich, malty aroma. The taste was a delightful blend of toffee, chocolate, and roasted malt flavors, balanced by a moderate hop bitterness.
The fact that Wychwood Brewery produces around 50,000 barrels of cask ale each year further reinforces the authenticity of Hobgoblin as a real ale. The brewery is known for its commitment to traditional brewing methods and using high-quality ingredients, ensuring that every pint of Hobgoblin delivers a true real ale experience.
In addition to being a real ale, Hobgoblin is also noteworthy for being one of the United Kingdom's largest brewers of organic ales. This means that the ingredients used in its production, including the barley and hops, are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. This commitment to organic brewing further enhances the appeal of Hobgoblin for those seeking a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly beer option.
Hobgoblin is indeed a real ale. Its traditional brewing methods, natural fermentation, and lack of artificial carbonation all contribute to its status as a genuine and authentic beer. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with hearty pub fare, Hobgoblin offers a rich and flavorful experience that embodies the essence of real ale brewing.