Total Score: 6.6/10
So Little Creatures are not the same brewer that they used to be what with now being owned by Lion/Nathan, which is owned by Kirin – it’s like being bought by a macro that was bought out by a macro – I’m sure that there’s a little-fish/big-fish/even-bigger-fish analogy in there… anyway, point is: When a powerful brewer that makes its money from margins buys you out you are now beholden to their “making money from margins” philosophy – it’s totally anti-craft. Craft beer is about quality at almost any expense. So how does this relate to this “Hotchkiss Six”? I guess we’ll soon find out [spoiler: not well!].
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Presents with a deep opaque cola body and a foamy tan half centimetre head – for something brewed with oats it is suspiciously thin overall – not even close to looking as good as any other Oatmeal Stouts I’ve tried (have a look at a Samuel Smiths or St-Ambroise and you’ll see what I’m talking about). 5/10.
S: Aroma is more laudable with notes of coffee cherry, dark chocolate and chicory upfront – this is right there in Stout territory with roasted goodness. Hints of smoky/earthy notes too – not bad at all – though still detectably thin. 8/10.
T: An easy going Stout with almost no challenge whatsoever – a far cry from the original Dreadnaught [seriously just bring back original Dreadnaught already f*^kers!] – flavour is a sort of nebulous sweet/sour/bitterness that is difficult to describe due to the lack thereof. It’s like death by a thousand hints of chocolate/coffee cherries/chicory with a floral/earthy/tobacco hop kiss – which sounds awesome but it’s really not because of all the wasted promise. 7/10.
M: Wow, no detectable oat texture – a wafer-thin (alright mid to light but given the style wafer-thin) body with a flat UK pub carbonation. 4/10.
D: Little Creatures have, as expected by their macro overlords, played it safe with this one. Too safe? F#&k yes! Really it is to be expected by a craft brewer being bought out by a macro brewer but nonetheless disappointing because (on a personal level) Little Creatures Pale Ale was the craft beer that got me into craft beer – without it I may never have written an incredible 265,000+ words on the subject of glorious beer, and yet here we are: 2016 and Little Creatures are releasing this pile of average on us, seems a shame to see the once-mighty reduced to a macro mediocre. 6/10.
Food match: Roast beef, roast potatoes, carrots, broccoli and Yorkshire pudding.