The Hop Studio
Let’s kick off the year with a little bottle round-up from a brewery that I’ve been enjoying on Cask around Yorkshire. The Hop Studio caught my eye back in the summer; their sleek black plastic pumpclips adding an almost futuristic/80’s neon vibe to the bar-top. Thier beers seem to be as simple in flavour too; in the best possible way. When you call a beer Blonde, you don’t want any surprises.
Pilsner (4%abv) was the bottle I immediately made a bee-line for, being a fan of all things Pils, Lager and Alt. The nose is all creamy digestive-biscuit malt, with a light body lurking underneath. Poured into a tall glass (of course), those streams of bubbles appeared up the sides in a way that brings a smile to the lips, and the beer itself drinks long and refreshing with the requisite amount of fresh, lemony citrus and the end. The finish could have been a little dryer, and the condition a little livelier, but overall Pilsner is a refreshing beer indeed.
Gold (4.5%abv) pours a vibrant amber and looks great in the glass; clear as a bell and with an enticingly rocky head. A fruity, full-bodied best, there’s that crushed-biscuit body again but this time topping off the package with an altogether fruitier sweetness; think blackberries and plum rather than citrus peel. Packed with flavour, I wish I’d have bought more bottles of Gold.
On first inspection XS (5.5%abv)seems like a stronger version of Gold but a few sips in you realise that’s a bit of a disservice. XS has much more in common with the likes of Coniston’s XB or Theakston’s Old Peculier in terms of being a stronger Yorkshire ale. Chestnut in colour and with tonnes of crushed nuts and brown bread on the nose, XS is a mouthful of brown sugar, raisin and more roasted nuts – with Hazelnut coming through in particular. Strong and sweet on the finish, it’s another one I was pining for once drunk.
Unfortunately, I had to pour my bottle of Blonde away. A light, sherbety pale that I’ve enjoyed lots of in Cask in the past, the condition of this sample was just not up to scratch – flat, lifeless and murky. A shame, but it hasn’t dented my affection for Hop Studio. Let’s hope 2013 sees a couple more beers added to that core range.
Hop Studio are based in Elvington, near York – and that surrounding area of York is proving to be a fertile breeding ground for new breweries. In the last year or so the likes of Treboom (Yorkshire Sparkle is worth seeking out if you’re a Pale Ale monster like me), Brass Castle, and Yorkshire Heart (who, interestingly, also have a Vineyard) have all popped up, muscling in on bars across York. If you want to keep up with the area, I can’t recommend enough the excellent work done by Gavin Aitcheson and the gang over at The York Press. If the last year is anything to go by, there will be lots more to come from one of Yorkshire’s ale hotspots. It’s not as if you need more reason to go drinking in York, is it?
Posted on 01/01/2013, in Uncategorized and tagged Beer, Brass Castle Brewery, Breweries in York, Drinking in York, Real Ale reviews, The Hop Studio, Treboom Brewery, Yorkshire Ale, Yorkshire Heart Brewery. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.