After a brief hiatus to take care of exams and being away with work, we are back to bring you the second part of HCBC 4! An absolute stormer in this edition with one beer taking the lead as the best beer we’ve tried so far! To recap on Part 1 click here.
Before we begin, a quick reminder of the rating system can be found here , essentially anything above 50 is decent, 60 is good, and above 70 is great! Also, scroll down to the bottom if you want the shiny graphical representations of these results!
Guavarita Vice – Sour (Berliner Weisse) – 4.7% – Magic Rock & Collective Arts
Guavarita Vice is the part of Magic Rock’s ‘Vice’ series, an is a Guava, Lychee and Thai Basil Berliner Weisse. Coming in at a healthy 4.7%, it’s a light, refreshing and gentle sour that goes in heavy on the fruit and herb notes.
As we see time after time in these reviews – sours are controversial! However, this one is definitely one of the highest scoring sours we’ve ever had, scoring a very respectable 65.6 on average. In fact we had three scores over 70 for this beer, only Alex significantly bringing down the average with a paltry 45. Tom noted ‘If you’re going to go full on South America – maybe try it with Tequila’ – Not sure about this one but if you’re feeling brave give it a try!
This beer scored quite well across the board as well, with no one category standing out as particularly good or bad. Worth noting though that no one scored it below 6/10 in drinkability, which for a sour is a cracking score.
Andy’s Take – Scored it 72 – A really pleasant sour beer that does something different with the peppery herby-ness on the finish. Quite heavy on the lime. All round a nice, interesting beer.
Position on the night – 5th (out of 8)
Disliked most by – Alex
Liked most by – Tom
Favourite of – No-one
Festiva – Session IPA – 4.4% – Shindigger
Shindigger are a brewery that I’ve been a big fan of recently and wanted to get one of their beers into a HCBC session to see what everyone else thought. Up to the task was Festiva, a New England Session IPA coming in at a nice gentle 4.4%.
I’m pleased to report that it lived up to expectations! It finished off with a great average score of 74.4, putting it right up there with some other crackers we’ve had in the past. Very surprising actually that Alex loved this one, he’s normally much more of a dark beer man!
This beer really hit it out the park for drinkability, averaging a whopping 9/10! Other than that, it was nice high scores across the board, very consistent. The main feedback all highlighted what a great beer it would be to have on a sunny day (how we could do with one of those right now!)
Andy’s Take – Scored it 68 – Supremely drinkable and smelt fantastic, the hops are quite gentle meaning the fruitiness takes centre stage, though I would have maybe liked a touch more bitterness, but still a lovely beer!
Position on the night – 3rd
Least Liked By – Me
Liked Most By – Alex
Favorite of – No-one
Soundwave Milkshake – Session IPA – 4.5% – Siren
Siren have taken their normal soundwave beer and applied a bit of milkshake magic for this one. A variant on the ever popular IPA, this one comes with added lactose to give it that creamy mouthfeel expected of the relatively new ‘Milkshake beers’.
Not quite as strong a score as I would have expected, with an average score of 53.2. Still decent, but not quite as good as we thought it might be. Scores on this one didn’t vary too much, with most of them in the mid 50s. The highest score was only 60.
Two categories in particular let it down, Appearance and Aftertaste which both scored pretty poorly, however decent scores in Smell and Drinkability balanced that out.
Andy’s Take – Scored it 59 – It wasn’t particularly creamy for me, I expected it to have a much bigger milkshake feel to it. It could also have done with packing a bit more of a finish into it. A drinkable if uninspiring beer.
Position on the night – 7th
Least Liked By – Alex
Favourite of – No-one
Liked most by – Andrew
Deeper Water (Chocolate Orange Edition) – Milk Stout – 5.1% – Left Handed Giant
Now we get to the real showstopper. Think way back to the very first HCBC. In Part 2 we sampled a delightful beer called Deeper Water – Salted Caramel Milk Stout. This is another variant on it, and I could not resist getting it to see how it compared to what is one of the best beers that we’ve tried here at HCBC. This one was a Chocolate Orange Milk Stout
Well, move aside all other beers because this one takes the crown (for now!). Ending up with an absolute monster of a score, 84.6%. This comfortably outstrips the Salted Caramel Deeper Water (which got 72). The lowest score here was 79, which really shows you the group opinion towards it!
The standout category was smell, with every single one of the 5 samplers scoring it 10/10, but it obviously performed brilliantly in every other category too! Drinkability was it’s lowest with an average 7.6/10, but that’s still a good score!
Andy’s Take – Scored it 81 – It’s an unbelievable beer, the smooth mouthfeel from the lactose, the chocolate and orange notes come through so naturally that none of it tastes artificial, and to top it all off somehow its only 5.1%. If you see this beer for sale, buy it, it won’t disappoint.
Position on the night – 1st
Most liked by – Alex
Least liked by – Sam R (though that was still a great score!)
Favorite of – Alex, Tom, Andrew, Andy!
Well we’ve seen the crown of top beer taken twice in this edition of HCBC, so lets look at a few of the awards;
Best Beer – Doesn’t really need stating does it? Deeper Water Chocolate Orange Edition is one of the best I’ve ever had.
Strongest Opinion – Alex managed to record a crazy swing of 92 for his most liked beer to just 11 for his least liked!
Beer Junkie – Tom takes the title for beer junkie this week dishing out a grand total of 592 points, 44 more than anyone else!
‘Beer Isn’t For Me’ – That 11 clearly brought his total score down massively, and its Alex who was least generous this week giving out a measly 437 points in total.
Least Divisive – Very tight this week with Festiva, Nitro Milk Stout and Deeper Water all challenging for it, but in the end its Festiva with a divisiveness of just 11 points!
Most Divisive – It’s almost always a sour that is most divisive and this time it was Gintziki with a swing of 65 (from Tom) to just 11 (from Alex) giving it divisiveness of 54.
The updated league table therefore looks like this, with 2 news beers right at the top of the leader-board, and a quite pleasant split between all the different categories!
Cheers for reading Part 2 of HCBC 4, coming up next is a interview with Mark from Crosspool Ale Makers Society ahead of their launch next week!
As always, see below for a gallery of graphs showcasing the results of this session! See you soon!