Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hopdaemon for the Soul

Another of the Kentish breweries I was keeping an eye open for in the shops when we were in Ashford was Hopdaemon. Started by a Kiwi with a love of English ales, I was very happy to find a few bottles sitting in the Ashford Tesco - just a quick side note, I am sure lots of people complain about the big supermarket chains dominating the market, but when they also source local products then they are to be applauded, so well done Tesco.

The Skrimshander IPA is a light orange colour, which had a thinnish white head - my brother conveniently has a nonic glass which I commandeered for the duration of our visit. Again this is a mobile picture so the quality isn't as I would like. I found the nose rather subtle, definitely citrusy but not overpoweringly so, which I liked. Drinking wise, this I enjoyed muchly - it is quite bitter and that light citrusness kind of catches the back of your throat but then gives way to a soft sweetness. The finish was very dry and coupled with a gentle carbonation makes this nice, refreshing beer.

The second of the Hopdaemon beers I got was a darker strong ale called Leviathan. When I poured this I was put in mind of Hobgoblin, especially as it was a beautiful ruby colour, there was however very little head to speak of. The nose was dominated by cocoa and an almost Christmasesque spiciness, both of which came through in the drinking. I am assuming however that something had gone awry with this bottle as I found it a bit thin in the body and it was rather flat and lifeless. A shame really because the nose had promised much.

The brewery only started production in 2001 and has already garnered a collection of local awards as well as creating waves nationally. From an artistic side, I also liked the quirkiness of the labels on the bottles and the brand names as well (a scrimshander for example is a whale bone carver - hence the picture on the label). Having thoroughly enjoyed the Skrimshander I am planning to try the rest of the range, and of course to find out if it was just a bum bottle of Leviathan (I wonder how much it would cost to get some sent to Prague?).


  1. Skrimshander is a really good beer in my opinion. Good balance of malt sweetness and fruity hop bitterness. I haven't had Leviathan though, I'll look out for it next time I'm in the local Tesco or farm shop.

  2. I certainly enjoyed the Skrimshander, that's for sure. If I had more time when I was over I would have sought out the pub in Ashford that has it on draught.

  3. There's a great pub near me in Rochester that serves 5-6 Kentish ales on hand pumps; I'm not sure if I've had it on draught yet though, I certainly haven't since I've discovered its bottled glory!


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