97. Hobgoblin

Posted: April 13, 2011 in ale, International beer
Tags: , , , , , ,


Company info:
Wychwood Brewery Co.
Oxfordshire, ENGLAND


Bottle size sampled: 500 mL

Alcohol: 5.2%
Standard drinks: 2.1

Cap type: Non-screw

Cost: I picked this up for $7.99AU

Label info: ‘Full bodied & well balanced with a chocolate toffee malt flavour, moderate bitterness & a distinctive fruity character & ruby red glow’

What the label really means: N/A

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I first noticed this beer ages ago, and it stuck out due to the rascally little hobgoblin peering out clutching an axe. He has a massive hooked nose and pointy chin and looks like the type of character that would drop you in the blink of the eye. He has a look that suggests he’s a thief and a liar that would rob you blind (and the $7.99AU price tag has proven this correct! Ouch!). He’s an evil looking fella that ties in well with Wychwood’s evil witch logo. Do I like it? Well, it’s not great – it reminds me of a board game known as ‘Talisman’ (great game but do I want it on my beer?) and perhaps seems a little too child-like. I’m a tad confused.

I give it a label rating of 6 out of 10.

AROMA: A soft, burnt caramel aroma accompanies a bouquet of enticing cinnamon and malt.

Taste: GLASS – Hobgoblin is a robust ruby ale bursting with flavour. It’s smooth, easy to drink and hits with a burst of bitterness that almost seems like an added after taste, rolling across the tongue. It’s a good beer to sit back and mull over.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE –
Hobgoblin is surprisingly just as tasty from the bottle and seems to lose nothing in the experience. Perhaps the only discernible difference to note is that there is a little more of a smokey burnt flavour

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 7 out of 10.

Song of choice: Try this along side Cat Steven’s ‘Moonshadow’

Accompanying food: A delicious lamb roast with baked vegies and thick gravy would make this beer a treat.

Best season to appreciate: Definitely a Winter warmer destined for cool nights beside the fireplace.

All-nighter beer? It’s a bit too heavy for me to drink all night but it’s definitely good for a couple.


  1. BargeDave says:

    I just remembered a fascinating factoid about this beer: British PM David Cameron presented some bottles of this very beer (brewed, I believe, in his constituency) to Barack Obama during a state visit last year.


    • Fran says:

      Interesting. I always heard it was a 40oz of Crazy Horse malt liquor because he wanted Obama to know he had street cred, or maybe it was St. Ides, I forget.


  2. McLean not MacLean says:

    Your review has got me lost in hazy fog of nostalgia…

    Firstly, because it’s been years since I last tasted a Hobgoblin. In fact, I was still living in Blighty when I last had a drop. I’d actually forgotten how much fun it is to drink this stuff – but you’ve brought it all flooding back.

    Secondly, because the Hobgoblin is my absolute, all-time favourite Spiderman super villain. For many people, he’s just a faux green goblin who stole Norman Osborn’s goodies when we all thought Osborn was dead (Marvel actually kept this ruse up for a good few years as I recall. It turned out that Osborn had, in fact, recovered from a serious injury caused by his goblin glider thanks to his super powerful goblin serum. He’d just been hiding out and biding his time “in Europe” for a few years). When ole Norm finally returned he was mighty ticked off with the Hobgoblin and the other of all battles ensued. Classic Marvel stuff.

    …aaaaanyway. Back to the beer. I think it might be time to taste a tipple of this again. And I might dig out some of my old comics while I’m at it.

    My dear Hellcat, thanks for sending me on this trip down Memory Lane.


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      Ahh excellent! Any Spiderman talk is always welcomed on this blog.
      I was going to make mention of Spidey’s Hobgoblin in my review but didn’t know enough about him (my collection only goes up to the second incarnation of Green Goblin by Harry Osborn). So I am very glad to read about the rise of Hobgoblin.


  3. BargeDave says:

    It’s a quality English real ale and as such is definitely worth a sample in my book. Remember to leave it out of the fridge a while before opening to maximise flavour. I agree with Mase that it’s no Old Ruby, nor is it a Spitfire, but it’s a perfectly pleasant drop.


  4. Fran says:

    Thanks Mase.
    Havent tried it but have always been curious. The label is what both made me interested and turned me off from actually making the purchase. However with a 7 of 10 I will drop in and give it a go.


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      Yeah it’s not bad, Fran. It’s not as good as the Old Ruby Ale reviewed a few weeks ago, but Hobgoblin is one to try even if it’s just to tick it off the list.


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