The Hobgoblin Ale is undoubtedly one of the coolest looking beer labels around– in fact, that’s what caused me to consider picking up a few the other day. But, like a book, which cannot be judged by its cover, one should also judge a beer for its character only.
The Hobgoblin pours a nice dark brown color and reveals a wonderfully thick head that dissipated slowly over the course of a tasting. Its nose revealed sweet malts with an essence of dates, which had me quite excited to take a taste. Indeed, the ale’s taste was initially quite nice as there is an elegant hoppy bitterness; however, that’s about all there is. The finish is noticeably absent and aside from a nice hoppy mouth feel, there isn’t much more to this beer. Perhaps the combination of a slick label and wonderful nose had me quite excited for a bold taste, but there isn’t anything there.
The Hobgoblin makes for an excellent label and emparts a pleasant nose, however, its taste is rather bland and frankly, underwhelming. If you see one in a store, pick it up and take a look, but put it back and grab a case of Ridgeway Bitter for something with a distinctive character.