21 March 2013

Admirable of the fleet

I first encountered Hook Norton's Flagship on keg in Against the Grain and was a little surprised that this oh-so-traditional English brewery would have any truck with such a dispense method. Still, it was highly enjoyable and I was happy when I found a bottle of it in the fridge back home.

Though it's bottle conditioned, pouring carefully gave me a pale orange beer with only a slight haze to it. And that could just as easily be hop-derived. While it looks a bit wan and watery, it has been thoroughly infused with a quite uncompromising bitterness, unfolding into an array of orange and lemon pith, with strong jasmine flower and chamomile. Admiral is the advertised hop variety, but I suspect there's more to this as well.

It's really quite wonderful to encounter an English IPA with all the complex hop wallop of its American counterparts, but without the sticky toffee malt notes and in a neat 5.5% ABV package too. Bengal Lancer has perhaps the edge on it for balance, but if you like that balance tipped in a hoppy direction, this is well worth a look.


  1. Admiral is a wonderful hop! I use it, alongside EKG, in my occasional Export India Porter, or 'Original Black IPA' as I like to call it. ;) Perhaps it is time to play with it in a single hop beer.

  2. Better to be Admirable of the fleet than Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas.

  3. I'll be checking this one out. I'm a fan of well-made, UK-Hopped IPA and this one sounds good. Hook Norton almost seem exotic to us in the north - we just don't get much aside from the usual Stout and Bitter.

  4. "Admiral is the advertised hop variety, but I suspect there's more to this as well."

    You're right: Goldings and Fuggles, too.