Friday, 30 July 2010

Now Drinking: Moylan's Hopsickle

Look, I'll be totally honest here, the food in this video is what Alfred Hitchcock would have referred to as "the MacGuffin". I happened to be cooking the food that features in the video (yes, I know it seems like a eat merguez more often than is healthy, but I don't), and I happened to have a bottle of Hopsickle. And happily, they happened to be great partners (although the courgette fritters were a bit soggy - too much parmesan, I think).

I'm not really sure what to make of this beer. As you'll see in the video, the first sip goes down OK, and then about 5 seconds later, KABOOM!, a massive wave of bitterness comes out of nowhere and makes me go 'whoah!'. That's what this beer is like - it's one long 'whoah'. It's a 'w w w h h h o o o a a a h h h' of a beer. It's the antithesis of balance and elegance, it's a boot to the olfactory bulb and a punch to the fungiform papillae. In fact now I think about it, Hopsickle has all the grace of a couple of pool balls in a sock, as demonstrated by the young Ray Winstone in "Scum". You can see that scene here, but I warn you, there's an awful lot of violence and bad language in it.

I'm being a bit harsh there. Moylan's Hopsickle is a hell of a lot of fun to drink, but each mouthful stops just short of a physical assault. There is an initially sweet malty hit, then the chocolate/coffee notes hit from the malt (maybe crystal malt, but it tastes much darker). Then you get a burnt Seville orange character, then a wave of bitterness that is almost sensation rather than flavour. It's one of the hoppiest beers I've ever drunk - and that's not meant to sound like bragging, it's just a statement of fact. It's only just all in balance, but then I guess it only just needs to be.

Stand down Ray Winstone - Moylan's Hopsickle is the daddy now.


  1. A friend visited the brewery earlyer this year. Its housed in a wierd faux Irish Pub. The beer sounds horrible. Pliny has great ballance I think.
    I think you should ring out the zuchini before adding it, in a teatowel if necasary. You will find the fritters alot less soaggy then.

  2. I had a few Moylan's beers in the US and they don't hold back!! Sometimes it's good for a beer to grab you around the face and give you a bit of a thrashing, I say, there's too many nicey-nicey beers around that are just too gentle with your tongue and face.

  3. Kieran - I wouldn't say it's horrible, but it was certainly pretty chewy. I'm not sure what the emotion was when I got to the end of the bomber, but it might have been relief. I certainly didn't think "damn, I wish I had another of those"

    Mark - I agree - variety is the spice of life, and all that. Although this could've possible finished off some of the more conservative beer drinking public.

  4. Well, I don't know about anyone else but I certainly want to try it after that description!

    I guess it's like super hot food. In the back of your mind, you're always thinking "surely it can't be that hot ... I'd be able to handle it ... what's wrong with them". :P

    Then you get the chance to try it and realise you should've known better.

  5. Mark - it's a lot of fun and you shouldn't take my off-the-peg opinion - it's certainly worth trying.


Sorry about the word verification - the blog was getting spammed to bits.