Little Looks are the reviews of brews that may be new to me or to the market, a local beer I want to shout about, or simply a classic revisited.
Wye Valley Brewery takes its name from one of the most dramatic and beautiful locations in Britain, situated on the Anglo-Welsh border, Wye Valley has been home to the brewery since 1985. Set up by Peter Amor after leaving Guiness, it is known for its traditional beers brewed using locally sourced English hops and is quickly establishing a reputation for being one of the most environmentally mindful breweries in the country (something you can read more about in my next article for Beer Imbiber magazine).
HPA – Hereford Pale Ale- is of a similar breed to the likes of Hophead and Ranmore (Surrey Hills); two beers I regularly enjoy on cask; it’s the restrained session strength (4% abv) and the full flavour combo that does it for me, and this too would be good on cask- sometimes you can just tell. Biscuit-like malts mingle with a citrus twist in what is a very straight forward and well balanced, clean tasting beer. Citrus is also present, and pleasant, in the aroma. It’s perfectly golden and should be filed under ‘Ideal Session Beer’, with none of that glass bottle off-flavour which some bottled beers seem to carry.
This beer is not a firework show but not all beers have to be. Instead, this is a good example of a quality beer that does what it has been designed to do- be an understated yet flavourful session beer. It’s easier to hide behind generously hopped hype juice but brewing a clean, well balanced, good drinker like this is, to my mind, a trickier thing to do. I cut my teeth on beers like this and consider good examples to be the backbone of the modern UK beer scene. HPA should be considered one of them.
Disclosure: This beer was sent free to me by a representative of the brand, however, I do not believe this to have affected my opinion.