Seventh time in nineteen days that I’ve had a different bottle/can to the one being tasted in the video for the official Beer Hawk case! The most annoying thing being they’ve got a dark beer and I’ve not. And I was certain whoever curated this case had to have included at least a … ? Dark IPA, an Imperial stout, a porter perhaps? Well they have, and it’s a bottle of Two Roads Espressway, an oatmeal stout brewed with roasted coffee beans, in the ‘official’ case that is, just not in mine.
My spirits fell even lower when I thought I’d just got a bottle of Anchor Steam Beer (£1.99 a bottle in Tesco). Closer investigation revealed that, although it was from Anchor, I’d got a bottle of Dry Hopped Anchor Steam Beer (£2.85 330ml, Beer Merchants). I’d never seen one of these? Reason being, I discovered, that they were first brewed in 2016 and are only available between September and December. Now if the Anchor website is to be believed, and I do, that means I must have one from a very early batch of this brew. Like many other beers in this case it has come via importers James Clay, and the date on the bottle confirms my thoughts with it’s BBD of August 2018.
The bottle and label will be familiar to those who’ve had an Anchor beer before. It’s just got ‘Dry Hopped’stamped over the normal label. Other interesting features on the bottle include – ‘Use Opener’ printed on the crown cap! How else you going to get it open? You can only do it with your teeth for so long before the old molars start to crumble.
The beer? I quite liked it actually. It’s a take on the California Common, just a bit more extreme. The beer is a deep Amber and is slightly hazy. You get a nice head on it as it pours and a malty aroma. It tastes malty, almost malteser malty, along with some juicy ripe fruits. It’s quite sweet until the end when a quite strong bitterness takes over. You really have to let the bitterness subside between sips, otherwise all you would get is the hoppy bitterness.
To be fair, I quite enjoyed this beer. It might not be an esoteric one, but it’s certainly pleasant, in an undemanding, yet nicely bitter way. Craft beer? Best ask those who reckon they know. It’s certainly a slightly different take on a recognised, traditional Californian style. All I will say is that Anchor have been making beer in San Francisco since 1896.
Verdict – Please, please Beer Hawk, tell me you have put at least one bottle of dark beer in my case?