Beer Review of Hook Norton old Hooky
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  • Beer Review of Hook Norton old Hooky

    Grabbing an old hooker? What’s this – a nice, clean-living boy like myself indulging in sordid sex-for-sale scenarios?
    Or is it just a cheap and cynical attempt to get more reads by slightly misspelling the name of a beer and pampering to the voyeuristic tendencies of the majority.
    Yep, I’m afraid it’s a review of a beer called Old Hooky – so the pervs can leave now … seeya doc!

    Right, that just leaves all you nice sensible people still reading…both of you.

    The Hook Norton Brewery was formed in 1849 in Banbury, Oxforshire. They use traditional brewing methods to produce a selection of mostly cask conditioned ales – only around 5% of their output is bottled. They use Maris Otter Malt, English Fuggles, Golding and Challenger hops; and all their beers are dry-hopped and brewed using water drawn from the wells beneath the brewery.
    Hook Norton is one of the few remaining, independent, family-run breweries still operating in the country. The present building is a tower brewery dating from 1899 (the raw materials begin at the top and gradually transform into beer as they make their way, by gravity, into the cellars). On the ground floor of the brewery is a unique, 25hp steam engine which supplies most of their power needs.

    THEY SAY:
    “A well balanced and full bodied beer demonstrating fruitiness, with the Crystal Malt content being distinctive. The hoppy mouth gives way to a sweeter finish.”

    Old Hooky pours a slightly hazy, bright amber/copper colour which is crowned by a light tan-coloured, rocky head that lasts forever and leaves sheets of lace all the way to the bottom of the glass. It’s an attractive and inviting pint
    The aroma is mainly of sweet malt (caramel and toffee) with a touch of honey. There’s also some bready qualities and a faint fruitiness in the background. There’s not an awful lot coming from the hops – perhaps a slight tea-like note.

    It’s full-bodied and has quite a soft, creamy mouthfeel. The taste continues on the creamy theme, with a soft fruitiness of summer berries, oranges, and a banana tone as well. There’s lots of caramel and toffee from the malt varieties, making it sweet, but not cloying, and a late flourish of leafy hops just manages to keep it in balance. It finishes slightly dry, not too bitter, and leaves somewhat tangy aftertaste.

    The Verdict

    At 4.6% ABV, I thoroughly enjoyed this ale. It’s tasty and interesting but not overly complex, making it a perfect session ale. It’s not too strong either, so you could quite easily sink a few and still walk straight.
    Again, as it’s not too complex, I could see this going well with any number of dishes (preferably with food on them), especially pub grub. However, I was only drinking and can only guess at that last statement.
    Overall, I’d recommend Old Hooky to anyone who has a penchant for a maltier brew – very nice.

    I drank this as a guest ale at my local Wetherspoons where it cost the fantastically good price of 1.49 for half-an-inch short of a pint.
    It’s also available in 500ml bottles from most supermarkets at around 1.70.

    Would I drink it again? – I’d have to be kooky not to drink an Old Hooky