As has been the norm for the past few years - come the end of November my beer fridge starts to fill with all sorts of magical wonders that I've been stashing away for the festive period. To consume whenever I want to whilst I'm away from work for a few weeks.
The problem is that I'm shit at leaving beers sit in the fridge chilling for weeks and weeks. I just buckle under the pressure of merely seeing them. I can easily cave in and open one up.
That is exactly what happened recently when I found myself staring a Wychwood King Goblin in the face. He was literally at my eye level and we'd been staring each other out for weeks. Enough was enough. He had to go.
I had quaffed many-a-Hobgoblin back in Blighty but only managed to re-acquaint myself with the little rascal during Christmas 2010 when I treated myself to a gift set which consisted of a bottle of the stuff along with a Hobgoblin glass (I'm a sucker for glasses) smartly packed away in a presentation/gift tube (which I've still got because I'm a hoarder of beer stuff).
A very solid drop of beer - which is exactly what I was expecting to be honest. It poured a very deep ruby/copper colour with a fairly chunky head which hung around for the duration (see photo above - click for larger version).
Upon pouring, I was immediately hit with smooth wafts of rich malt which got me drooling as the glass drew nearer.
You can very much tell that this 'Special Reserve' is based on the run-of-the-mill Hobgoblin but the extra fruitiness and those rich malts drive this version beyond the boundaries. The additional 1.4% in alcohol content (this one is a 6.6% abv) shines through and doesn't ruin it at all. More so, it enhances the flavour. Based on flavour alone - if I was a betting man, I would've sworn blind that this was stronger than 6.6%.
Making the 'King' more complex than the 'Hob' are the hints of chocolate and toffee. These faint hints make for a real taste sensation.
It's not widely available (certainly not in Brisbane anyway) but when you do actually find some bottles do yourself a favour and treat yourself.