Reviews and events

12 Beers of Xmas – De Molen – Amarillo and Hardknott – Rhetoric

Yesterday I unwisely said that my Beer for the day would be ‘whatever I find while out in Whitstable’. I’m not really a fly by the seat of my pants kind of person, I’d much rather have something planned well in advance, but short of necking either of these Beers with breakfast it was a necessary risk.

Despite a lovely meal with great company, the beer on offer in the Restaurant and Pub didn’t meet the mark of the previous two nights – Shepherd Neame’s ubiquity in these parts doesn’t help. So, I’ve decided to give myself a do-over and make tonight a double header.

First up, Brouwerij De Molen’s Amarillo. Double IPA(ish) according to the label, it pours a cloudy amber and although I appear to have lost my sense of smell due to over enthusiastic use of Vicks First Defence*, I can already smell a resinous, jammy quality. First gulp is peachy and strawberry jelly, with a nice puckering dryness on the finish. I had to be careful with the pour due to De Molen’s trademark sedimentary bottoms, but there’s a lasting, if thin, head. This has an unmistakeable Double IPA profile, and with the sweet fruits makes a great winter beer.

Next in line, Hardknott Rhetoric. This is edition 1, brewed back in 2012 as a one-off as part of Hardknott’s concept range. Billed as a Quasi-Bombastic Belgian Quad, it is infused with Star Anise and made with a variety of sugars, resulting in a sweet, boozy, deep red treat. The Brewer, Dave Bailey, advised in a blog that it would be a good idea to age this for a few years, and while two and a half years on the beer isn’t overly showing many visible signs of having improved the beer’s condition, it tastes cherry brandy-like and complex. Again, there are strong preserved fruit flavours, but with a warming boozy aftertaste like a good port.

Another enjoyable night in the parent’s living room with a pair of brilliant beers. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I’m out again, but being in the know about Thanet’s Beer scene I’m predicting better results than I found in Whitstable.

*Disclaimer – I didn’t pay for my Vicks First Defence, and given that it has well and truly fckd my sense of smell, I don’t think it influenced this blog post content


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