Happy new year folks, hope you have a good one!
If you’ve not tried a Hardknott beer before, then my friend you are missing out. Hardknott is about good beer that is unique and different, as the website proclaims, and I’d go along with that in terms of taste. Whenever I try one of their beers in the pub I always take time to read the pump clip, and there’s almost always some pretentious (in a good way) spiel about shaking up the beer establishment and generally shocking drinkers that are stuck in their ways which can’t fail to entice a thirsty Martin.
Where I work we got this great delivery of Hardknott beauties in and I bought Cool Fusion straight away simply because it was the cheapest. When I saw it was a ginger beer I was intrigued, because ginger beers are always a bit odd. They’re either simple and sweet, like Crabbies, or there are some others, like Ginger Grouse, that just aren’t spicy enough and leave you wanting more. How would this offering shape up? Only one way to find out…
- 4.4% ABV (sensible)
- Comes in 330ml bottle
- Pairs well with delicate oriental foods such as sushi
- Brewed in Cumbria, England
It’s a very fresh, almost green taste. You get a powdery ginger taste (like you would with a ginger biscuit), but there’s a bit of a peppery spiciness too which gives it a pleasant warmingness. It’s a pretty ‘simple’ taste, but eminently refreshing and with a decent finish. I certainly wouldn’t like to try it with a spicy curry though – it’d combine to melt your tongue I’m sure – but definitely one of the best ginger beers I’ve had. 7/10
Mmm, you get stem ginger with a decent bit of sweetness and chili pepper. It’s not complex, but it’s bold and inviting. 7/10
The bottle is eye-catching and fits in with their range, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding it on the shelf. There’s plenty of preamble on the label, which to be honest I found a bit contrived. It’s talking about beer solving the world’s energy problems which was sort of a turn off, but the ‘tag line’ of the beer is “Have a beer powered moment” which is cute.
In the glass it has a burning brass colour with a very lively fizz. The gassiness certainly fits in with the theme of high energy, and it’s genuinely nice to study it, before you take another sip. There are bits of ginger in the bottom of the bottle, so you might want to be careful when pouring it out. 7/10
Value for Money
£2.00 for a 330ml bottle isn’t bad for a decently-crafted beer, and when you consider you could pay more for Crabbies it’s not expensive. The whole experience was pleasing (apart from the sediment in the glass); one of the best tasting ginger beers I’ve had – lovely and refreshing. 8/10
They use root ginger and spice which sets it apart from these ‘ginger extract’ and ‘ginger style’ brews, the ones that are just ginger pop basically. I think it’s the ingredients that make it different, rather than the brewing process itself, but it has certainly broken the mold in a good way. 6/10
If you can get your hands on some, give it a go. Even though most people wouldn’t consider this kind of thing outside of the summer season, I’d say this has got enough interesting flavour to be enjoyed whenever and wherever. Enjoy!
Final score: 70%