After a day’s wine judging, there’s only one thing to drink. Beer.
Today at the International Wine Challenge, my panel tasted 138 wines. We then retired upstairs (at The Oval cricket ground, where the tasting was being held) for a spot of beer. There were a few offerings, including Chapel Down’s Curious Brew and Brewdog’s Punk, but I chose Dark Star’s Hophead from cask-in-bag-in-box (I don’t know the technical term for this format, but it’s cask-conditioned ale decanted into a bag with a tap on it, inside a box).
I like cask-conditioned ales a great deal, but I usually find the bottle-conditioned equivalents very dull. As long as they are fresh, these mini-keg equivalents work pretty well. But freshness is the key. Dark Star are based near Horsham in Sussex.
Dark Star Hophead Pale Golden Ale
With Cascade hops adding a slightly bitter, aromatic, exotic edge, this is a light-styled ale with lovely fresh citrussy notes as well as some subtle herbal notes. In this format, from cask in a bag-in-box, it just seems to work so well, and is thoroughly drinkable and elegant. 7.5/10