Hogsback TEA (Traditional
Review Date 7/16/2003
Are you a beer
drinker? If not, you’re missing out on a wide and wonderful world of
flavors. Perhaps, when it comes to beverages, you prefer tea. Personally, I
enjoy both. Maybe it’s just the Englishman in me, but at times I like to
have the best of both worlds of British beverages and have TEA while
I’m drinking beer. No, I’m not mixing a cup of Earl Grey with Bass Ale; the
TEA I am referring to is actually a beer, Hogs Back Brewery TEA.
In this case, TEA is an acronym for Traditional English Ale, a smooth, drinkable, and delicious bottle-conditioned English ale from Tongham, Surrey, England and imported by Beverage United of Redding, Connecticut. You won’t find an imported English ale of this quality very often here in America, and even then rarely outside of a pub.
Besides winning kudos for its wonderful and authentic flavor, TEA also deserves accolades for its beautiful packaging: a formidable half-liter bottle with a decorative label festooned with bright gold lettering. A regal neck label of the same color completes the air of elegance. Of course, all of this wouldn’t mean anything if the beer wasn’t so good; rest assured, it is.
Don’t want to take my word for it? Its OK, I can back this up. TEA was a Champion Beer of Britain at the 2000 Great British Beer Festival, winning a silver medal in that category and a gold medal as “Best Bitter” in the land. The beer has won other awards, too, and this is all the more impressive when one considers the brewery itself is only eleven years old. Hogs Back is an English microbrewery if you will, and Americans are fortunate that its beers are being imported by Beverage United.
Here’s what Hogs Back has to say about their beer:
Enjoy TEA, a full-flavoured smooth ale. Brewed for a balanced flavour from the finest malted barley and the best whole English Hops. “For the taste of yesteryear still enjoyed today”.
The ingredients they refer to, by the way, are Pipkin pale malt along with some crystal for body. TEA is hopped with Fuggles.
Hogsback TEA pours to a delightful ruby red color with a thick and creamy head formation and a slightly sweet malty nose. The palate is very smooth with a dry and fairly clean body that hints slightly at licorice and vanilla, there’s also a wonderful spice cookie-like maltiness as well that slowly yields to a gentle but balancing hop finish. A very dry ale all over all that I think would pare well with most dishes, but I enjoyed it as a before dinner drink where its delicate complexity could best be enjoyed.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.