Friday, 1 August 2014

Yorkshire Ales Part 4 - Hop Studio

It's been a while since I began my Yorkshire Ales competition.  My illness brought it to a halt and it has taken me a while to get back into it but now it's time to go once more.  For those of you in need of a reminder the three breweries I have sampled so far (and their respective scores) are as follows.  To see the reviews of each just click on the brewery name.

1.  Geeves Brewery 31 points
2.  Axholme Brewing Company 28 points

For round four I am heading to North Yorkshire and the village of Elvington.  Hop Studio began brewing a couple of years ago and this is one brewery I have come across before thanks to my local pub in Pagham selling the excellent Vindhya (6.0% ABV) as a guest one time.  On the back of this I was looking forward to this selection of bottles.     

Porter (4.3% ABV)

This porter looks fabulous and after pouring the aroma gave off distinct notes of vanilla.  It is brewed with American hop varieties Galena and Willamette.  With the first sip it is clearly a very smooth beer.  There are sweet vanilla notes immediately evident but these are joined by a subtle coffee bitterness along with fruity notes of blackcurrant and blackberry.  The finish is bitter and overall there is a lovely blend of flavours here with aniseed popping up too.  This is a winner with my wife too.  A fabulous start and a score of 9/10.       

Blonde (3.5% ABV)

For the next beer we head way down the ABV scale with this lovely looking very pale ale.  Brewed with Chinook, Cascade and Nelson Sauvin hops there are lots of grapefruit, grassy, lemon and pine notes here and it is a beer that is bursting with flavour.  There is a sharp, crisp and refreshing bitterness throughout and I absolutely loved it.  If session beers were always like this I would forget the high ABV stuff (well perhaps not).  My wife is not such a fan of this kind of beer but she still thought it was ok which is high praise indeed believe me.  This  beer scores a 9/10.   

XS (5.5% ABV)

I rounded things off with this 'extra special' beer.  My wife thought it was a bit tasteless surprisingly but once I gave it a try there was no way she was getting it back for a second opinion.  There is an interesting mix of hops in this one with UK varieties Challenger, Northdown and Target alongside the New Zealand variety Wakatu.  It is a complex beer with a rich, syrupy texture.  There are sweet cherry and toffee notes and some bitter orange notes here too.  The bitterness is both earthy and citrussy which lingers into the finish.  It is a highly enjoyable beer and I award it an 8/10.   

My final score is for their branding.  Everything seems to be based on the 'keep it simple' principle.  The beer names state the beer type and the bottle labels are distinctive and have a certain elegance about them and there is a lovely simplicity to the logo design that I like.  The one thing they are lacking is a website as it appears to be 'under construction'.  This marks them down a little and so overall I will give them a score of 6/10.  This gives them an overall score of 32 points which projects them into top place.  I have two more breweries left to go now and next week I will enjoy the delights from North Riding Brewpub.


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