Hole Hearted by Oakleaf Brewery

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Beer Name: Hole Hearted

Brewer: Oakleaf Brewery, Gosport, England

Date Sampled: 7th August 2016

ABV: 4.7%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

So here it is, my first beer review! Obviously it's not the first time I've tasted a beer, but it's one of the first times I've really stopped to try and appreciate the various flavours, smells and feel, as opposed to simply whether I liked it and whether I wanted another one (usually yes and yes).

Starting with an Oakleaf beer was a conscious decision; it's a local brewery and you'll find their beers in a lot of the local ale houses, but sadly last week they announced that they are going into administration. One online source suggested that the rise of the microbrewery was key in the problems for Oakleaf. I don't know how accurate that is, but whatever the reason, losing Oakleaf will leave a gap in the local beer marketplace.

Hole Hearted is one of their signature beers and in the past my experiences had been mixed; my first taste was from a barrel that had 'gone.' The barkeep explaining that it had been a particularly lively batch and that several had gone the same way. My next was whilst drinking in The Hole in the Wall in Southsea; the pub that the beer was actually originally brewed for (hence the name). There the beer was an absolute joy and I remember thinking at the time how easy drinking it was.

I haven't tasted it since, as I'll always look to try something new when out and about, but when I saw these bottles in the local Waitrose on the same day that I'd read about Oakleaf's problems I just had to snap them up.

From a bottle the first pour took me straight back to that summer's afternoon in the Hole in the Wall, with the floral nose giving you an early indication of the tastes to follow. Then what the beer lacks in body it makes up for in flavour. The strong hoppy hit of the first mouthful is very welcoming but this almost immediately dissipates into a refreshing grapefruit like sharpness. What remains is an aftertaste that whilst bitter, is anything but unpleasant, and simply encourages you to sip again.

It's not the most complex of beers, but then I don't think that was every the intention; it's a simple beer done very well.

On a any day, in any location, this brew is an absolute joy.

But as this beer seems destined to that dusty cellar in the sky, summer days on the South Coast will be that little less sunny.


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