Dark Star, Six Hop - 6.5%, £3.75
Dark Star, once a small brewery based at the fantastic Evening Star pub near Brighton rail station, have always been the ‘Thornbridge of the South’ in our books. They have established themselves with a range of well-crafted traditional ales and also moved toward keg and centrifuged/filtered bottle products.
This does mean, of course, that a lot of their beer is no longer real ale by CAMRA’s definition, for better or worse, but they are still pretty darn good.
Six Hop is ordinarily a seasonal release in cask, but it’s now part of the brewery’s line of bottled beers – six additions of six hop varieties in a 6.5% India Pale Ale.
Pouring a brilliantly clear burnt copper – it’s pretty obvious this has been filtered – however it also immediately apparent that the hop aroma has not been diminished by this process.
An overwhelming cascade of dried apricots is dusted with pine needles and coconut, with only a nudge of caramel maltiness initially apparent.
The flavour is led by a tangerine and apricot jam, with a thick coating of marzipan. As this hoppy overture begins to fade a treacle toffee maltiness comes through drying out into a resinous pine bitterness.
Despite being inspired by American India Pale Ales the bitterness is soft, tempered by the solid malt backbone. This makes Six Hop rich and hoppy, while remaining perfectly balanced.
As recommended by The House of Trembling Madness, York
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