I made my own honeycomb once (not real honeycomb – I mean the hokey pokey stuff inside a Crunchie), but I think I cooked it for longer or hotter than I was supposed to†. Instead of being light gold, it was a deep amber colour. Instead of being crunchy, it was stick-in-your-teeth chewy. And instead of a crispy sweetness that floated away after a few seconds, the sweet toffee taste was intense and there was this dark caramelised bitterness that just lingered and lingered.
Well, that’s basically my description of this year’s Barley Wine from Cupitt. I’ve found previous years’ versions to be all dried fruit and spice, but this year’s is homemade honeycomb taken to an intense place. It’s not one-dimensional – there’s also some floral aromatic hiding among the booziness, like a delicate Lowland single malt whisky – but the lasting impression is the stick-in-your-teeth toffee with a dark caramelised bitterness.
And here's another beer Cupitt’s have returned to but with a difference: the latest batch of Hoppy Haze. This edition looks to Galaxy, Sabro and Simcoe hops for its juiciness.
A hazy yellow-gold. A heady aroma of ripe tropical fruits edged with vanilla. A pleasant surprise when those fruits are joined with citrus in the mouth, with the vanilla replaced by a background of coconut and a touch of understated bitterness. And a little too easy to sink gulp after gulp.
†I’m not good at following recipes. This is why I’m not a brewer.
Cupitt's have two other limited releases out which make use of the fact they also make wine; read about them here.
- Barley Wine & Hazy IPA
- 11.2% & 6.5%