Weird Beard are part of the growing hoard of London brewers. It was founded by a couple of homebrewers who are pretty much living the dream that a lot of us have, of making our hobby into the day job.
Their marketing spiel is a bit heavy in superlatives, Brewdog-style – and the promise to switch hops with each batch of today's beer to "whatever we think will wreak most havoc on your pallets (sic)" is almost unforgiveable - but I have to concede that the beer comfortably lives up to the hype.
This is Holy Hoppin' Hell, an 8.5% Double IPA that is one of the most honestly-named brews I've enjoyed for a while. I first came across it down at the Reading Beer Festival, and I was blown away.
It's quite a dark amber, with a head that doesn't really linger. The nose is rich and syrupy sweet, with a big belt of blossom-laden, resinous hops and overripe satsumas. It smells deep and complex, but not aggressively alcoholic.
In the mouth, it's initially gentle - orange and sugar sweet - before a deep, warming alcohol slowly emerges. It's big and strong, but without being harsh or overwhelming.
The hops build and build as the beer sits in the mouth - a powerful, slightly citrus resin that brings a deep, lingering bitterness. The body and sweetness is big enough to carry the big, bitter punch and it leaves you breathless.
My tasting notes simply end with the words "almost perfection" – on reflection, I'd struggle to justify the "almost" part of that description. 5 stars. At least.
This review was originally published 29th November, 2013. It was last updated 1st June, 2023.