I bought Hobgolblin IPA from Wychwood Brewery as part of a hops collection from LIDL, at 6 beers for £6.99 I figured I couldn't go wrong and as Hobgoblin IPA was the only Hobgoblin beer I hadn't tried how could I resist? For anyone who don't know Wychwood are based in Witney in Oxfordshire and are one of my favourite breweries as much as anything for their advertising campaign that read 'what's the matter lager drinker? Scared it'll taste of something?' They are always pretty attention grabbing, and I like the vaguely spooky, almost Halloween vibe most their beers have.
Hobgoblin IPA comes in a nice standard 500ml Wychwood bottle featuring a cheeky looking hobgoblin with an axe. The beer comes with a reasonably potent 5.3% alcohol content putting it higher than the gold or ruby version but over 1% less than King Goblin. The IPA pours a clear gold with somewhere between little and no head which disappears almost as soon as it forms. It really looks like a cross between an IPA and an English bitter. There's nothing in the looks to make the beer stand out or to put you off.
The aroma is full of fruity, floral hops, with maybe some grain thrown in there too, but not a great deal else in all honesty. I guess what I'm trying to say is Hobgoblin IPA smells like nearly every other IPA out there. The texture is pretty light and the taste matches the smell. Is it just me who finds the initial taste of fruity/hoppy IPA's have a pretty nasty twang which gradually fades as you drink them? Well this certainly has that twang. This beer has very much all the standard tastes of an English IPA, but sadly very little else.
Now here's the problem... Wychwood are meant to stand out. If your primary marketing campaign is 'What's the matter lager drinker? Scared it'll taste of something?' You really shouldn't be making an IPA that tastes like every other IPA on the planet. A while ago I did a piece on which was the best Hobgoblin beer which didn't include the IPA. Suffice it to say the IPA would have come last. Just for the record the gold won. Hobgoblin IPA from Wychwood just doesn't stand out from the IPA crowd at all, which is a shame as I like the brewery. I'm going to give Hobgoblin IPA a fairly generous 6 out of 10. It's not a bad beer, it's just one that fades meaninglessly into the background.