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Dark Star Brewing, Hop Head

We’ve featured the Dark Star story before. Twice in fact. In case you missed both, here’s a recap...

Dark Star Brewing Co first appeared in 1994 from the cellar of the Evening Star pub in Brighton. Founded by three friends and initially using little more than a glorified home-brew set up it was a hobby that simply got out of control.

Fast forward to the present day and Dark Star is a force to be reckoned with. Operating out of their 16,000 square foot brewery in Partridge Green (about 30 minutes north of Brighton) they’ve now got two established pubs, a third on the way and a rather impressive range of core and seasonal beers. Not to mention an awards cabinet for their beers that must be full to bursting.

This week’s beer is Hophead. It’s a really easy drinking pale ale that comes in with a delightfully sub-4% abv and in a larger bottle. Super nice.

What we get most from this beer is a lovely whiff of elderflower. Enough to remind us all that spring is coming and summer won’t be far behind. Not that we’re wishing our lives away, but we all need something to look forward to. Drinking this, on cask in a beer garden somewhere is on our to do list every summer.

But what’s great on cask doesn’t always translate to an equally good bottled beer. Some of the nuances that really make the beer can somehow get a bit lost. Not in this case though and that’s no accident. Although this is one of Dark Star’s flagship beers, it has only been available in bottles more recently. And only when they were happy with it, according to James Cuthbertson the brewery director.

“We’ve been brewing Hophead, well forever really, but we’ve never really been happy converting what some would say is our flagship beer, into bottle. For years we’ve been quietly working behind the scenes to make this happen, but only now do we feel we have been able to convert the beer into a bottle that we’re really pleased with. Anyway. Who cares what we think, it’s what you think that counts.”

We applaud that sort of sentiment and attention to detail here at BeerBods.

Incidentally, we’d hoped that Dark Star was a reference to to the cult 1970s science fiction film of the same name but it turns out if reflects one of the founder’s long-haired hippy days where he named the eponymous brew after the music of The Grateful Dead. Not that we are complaining.

“Dark Star is named after the music of the Grateful Dead rock band… and just like the band, what we do is our hobby. They did it for the music, we do it for the beer.”

@darkstarbrewco (Twitter)


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