Welcome back, my spooky bunch of craft hooligans. You’ve survived the first night of the 13 Beers of Halloween. That’s great! I’m not saying any of these beers will kill you. But I’m also not saying it won’t happen. Tonight, I’m shifting away from the Devil’s personal beer, Maudite, to another form of evil. Something more..down to earth, if you will. It’s Wychwood’s King Goblin, which is what happens when a batch of Hob Goblin is brewed under a full moon, and a jar of trickster evil is tossed in for good measure. So, everyone grab a pitchfork, form a mob, and let’s go catch us a goblin.
The initial smell is a sweet, malty richness that continues strong and full. There’s a hint of tang at the tail end, but the malts are the major player here. Compared to the super complexity of Maudite, the minimal offering of this King Goblin aroma is a full 180 in style. And trust me, so far it isn’t a bad thing at all. Sure, it’s not a million different scents bombarding you at once, but the sweet, tangy malts that are blooming up out of this bottle are perfect. There’s also a feeling of warm comfort that goes along for the ride. It’s odd finding an aroma of general happiness on a beer chosen for Halloween, but who ever said Halloween had to be about gloom, doom, and 117 Paranormal Activity clones? Besides, maybe this Goblin King is just a normal guy, once you get to know him…
The first taste from the bottle is made up almost entirely of malts. Sweet bread malts and roasted toasty malts mingle with brown sugar and sweet plums to create a wonderfully drinkable and tasty beer. The breadiness and heavier roasted flavors mix and create a tasty representative of malty deliciousness, while the sweetness from the bread malts and the plum fruit swirl across your tongue, pushing the flavors to linger as long as possible. At the tail end of each taste, a faint touch of citrus appears, not as biting as an orange, but more like a peach, without that overtly “peach” taste. It sticks to the back of the tongue and stays there well after you’ve finished drinking. Also buried within the flavors are hints of earthiness, almost like dried straw. I know, straw seems like an odd, maybe even horrible flavor to experience, but it’s really just the essence of what straw smells like. It simply adds a touch of earth to the overall combination. Think of it as a fun little oddity within the midst of a jovial presentation. Much like my new friend, the Goblin King. Sure, he may be ugly and live in the woods, and maybe he’s killed some people, but he tells the best stories. And he brought his own beer!
Poured into a pint glass, the aroma is of sweet, earthy malts, laced with notes of flowers. These scents make up the entirety of the poured aroma. The bouquet is fairly subdued, but shows up enough to keep you hooked. Kind of like the Goblin, who has now lured me out of the house. He said we’re going to a bar, but he won’t tell me which one. He just keeps dropping hints about good times and tasty beer. The beer itself pours a healthy deep brown, with a thick, creamy head that lasts a while, clinging to the glass as it fades.
The taste from the pint glass is similar to the bottle, but…more. The sweetness is still there, but it’s fleeting, appearing briefly like a quick flash of a smile. The rest of the flavor is comprised of heavy, roasted malts that contend with toasted bread for the major flavor. Plums and peaches still jump in and out from the sides, but they leave fairly quickly, as if they know that something is about to go down. By the way, we’re still walking to this bar. We’re on this dark forest trail that he told me was a shortcut, but now I’m not so sure. Anyway, the earthy straw notes from earlier return, potent and more up front this time. It’s as if pouring the beer brings you to the Goblin’s domain, deep within the heart of an old, dark forest. The aftertaste is super pleasant, made up of long-lasting bread malts and a touch of fruity sweetness. There’s a bit of a potent edge under everything, like a warning bell within your mind, but it’s pushed away quickly. Hey, why are we climbing into this hole in the ground?
Overall, this beer is a representation of simple tastiness, with a hidden touch of darkness; the same darkness that lured me to the Goblin King’s lair, and has me tied up to a table made out of bones and petrified wood. The taste starts out friendly and wonderful, but once he has you in his clutches, his sly darkness shows, and you’ll soon find yourself following along behind him, tasting that growing earthiness as the sweet malts continue to lull you into a false sense of security. By the time you realize that there’s much more to this beer than you originally thought, you’re already alone, trapped deep underground with only the scraping of a grind stone to keep you company. This beer lasts forever, remaining sweet and bready on your tongue well after you’ve finished drinking. It goes down super smooth, hiding a potent kick until it’s too late. Added bonus flavors of plums and sweet, citrusy peaches seal your fate and deliver you completely into the claws of the King himself. Beware, it can be a tad pricey, but he’ll try his hardest to pull the wool over your eyes and convince you to bring him home.
My suggestions for this beer are on a fall afternoon, with a new friend who seems awesome, but a little…off at the same, especially once you catch him praying to some eldritch pagan god in the basement. My horror genre recommendation is the “dark fairy tale” category, which include horror-esque spins on anything from Grimms’ fairy tales, and the awesome “Troll Hunter”. Finally, if anyone happens to be reading this, let my family know I didn’t make it. And, whatever you do, never trust a goblin, no matter how delicious his beer is. Wychwood’s King Goblin earns a wonderfully devious A.
Lasting Strength: 10/10
Overall: 9.4/10 A