Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Now Drinking: Hopdaemon Skrimshander IPA

I love my wife. Well, she's not my wife, but we've been together for a decade, and we have a kid together, so she's as good as a wife. Perhaps even better. I don't know what that means.

She's credited as being 'a reluctant beer expert' in the acknowledgements of my book '500 Beers', which she flatly denies. With characteristic wry humour, she read the dedication and said 'That's nice - I've had very few books dedicated to me. Very few.' She gets to try a lot of beers, and even drinks the ones that she enjoys. One of my proudest moments was when I came home and found her on the sofa drinking Crouch Vale Amarillo straight from the bottle. A mother and a beer enthusiast - such an enthusiast, in fact, that she couldn't wait to find a glass.

Anyway, part of my role as husband and father is to make sure that there is always a beer on hand that she'll enjoy. Quite often, she'll have a sip, wrinkle her nose and say 'I don't like that'. She rarely turns her nose up at good, crisp session ales and lighter Americana, and quite often will refuse beers that are merely OK. There are quite a lot of beers that are just OK, so I actually get quite nervous pouring her a new beer. So it was with Hopdaemon Skrimshander IPA (4.5%abv), a copper-gold beer with a spicy aroma and robust poke of hops in the dry and bitter finish. Happily, the beer passed the toughest test - being enjoyed by someone with a demanding but relatively conservative palate. Even better, I think that it's good too, albeit in a slightly agressive way - the dry rasp of hops in the finish could use a bit more sweetness mid-palate for my tastes, but that's just picking nits. It's worth a few quid of anyone's money.

The downside is that I had to share the bottle. But every cloud has a silver lining - I got to open a bottle of Hopdaemon Green Daemon Helles (5%abv) while she cooks, and I write this. Green Daemon has a lovely tropical fruit sweetness on the palate before a gently bitter finish. Rounded, bittersweet and alarmingly drinkable - to my palate, a very modern, drinkable and praiseworthy golden beer.


  1. Big fan of Skrim here! I think most of it is filtered but Pete shared a bottle conditioned one with me (and others) once. Even better than the filtered version!

  2. I was lucky enough to get a bottle of this from Mark Dredge last year. I loved it, and actually thought there was a nice balance, not at all raspy (you can notes on my blog if you're arsed :)). It was maybe mid last year, so I wonder would there be variations in the recipe, or even in the ingredients over that time, and would they be that noticeable. Or we just have different tastes :D

  3. Chunk - this one was bottle conditioned too - a lot of character for a relatively low abv beer.

    Barry - as I said, I'm being nit-picky - it's a good, flavourful beer, with a prominent hop character, but maybe the Helles had the edge for me.

  4. I had three bottles of this at the weekend, of the filtered variety. I thought it was a most enjoyable quaff. Thankfully the bitterness is not too pronounced in this version.

  5. Ah, beat me to it! Just cracked open a bottle of this last week but not posted it yet. That'll teach me to be tardy with my posts.

  6. Paul - it seems from other comments that not everyone finds the bitterness as prominent as I did.

    Leigh - although some might think otherwise, beer blogging isn't a contest - I'd be interested to hear what you too made of it.

  7. Glad you enjoyed it Zak! The bitterness is bound to be a little variable through the year, although I try to keep it to a minimum.

    To clear things up, all the Skrimshander and Green Daemon available online and in the supermarket is filtered. All the independant stockists sell the bottle conditioned stuff.

    It is purely a question of ease and volume for us. We can only bottle about 1400 bottles a day for the bottle conditioned variety, the filtered can be done at 2000+ bottles an hour. It is is also more user friendly if the bottles are being taken home in the boot of the car, shaken up and served on the same day. They can also be laid down in the fridge.

  8. That's interesting Pete, I didn't know you did parallel bottling. I'm assuming that you prefer the BC versions?

  9. I think that the filtered products are good but the BC versions just add a little extra oomph. The carbonation, although at the same level of saturation is finer in the BC versions adding a smoother mouthfeel. The filtered is a bit more 'spiky' for want of a better word.

    The body in the BC versions it a little fuller too. So yes in a roundabout way, I prefer the BC versions but I'm still happy with the filtered ones!


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