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Excuse the tabloid hyperbole and screamy capital letters, but I donít think enough people have said just how good Thornbridge Halcyon 2009 is yet (only Zak Avery, Hopzine, Reet Good Leeds, Real Ale Reviews 'an Innocent smoothie on acid', and The Ormskirk Baron [baron rating of 5/5]). Itís a beer bloggerís dream: limited release, once a year, hotly anticipated; green-hopped with new season UK Targets (forget the US C-hop, itís all about the UK Ts on this display); a dangerously beautiful 7.7%; a sexy new label (featuring a sneaky peak of bust); a stream of updates - promises - from the brewery on its progress: weíre brewing it soon, itís been brewed, itís in the conditioning tank, itíll be a few months yet, itís almost ready, itís tasting great, weíre almost there, bottling Halcyon soon, bottling Halcyon now, so close, just a little longer, it tastes amazing, itís ready to go, YOU CAN BUY THEM NOW... itís beergasm territory, get Ďem while theyíre HOT.


Remember Fruit Salad sweets? Thatís what it smells like first, then pineapple, then mango, then a little grassy and floral, then a tangy, pithy, resinous bitterness stomps on through. One line of the notes has both ďMmmĒ and ďYumĒ on. The hops are super fruity and unexpected; juicy and delicious. It could threaten to get a bit sweet but the bitterness rips through and itís all backed up with a stiff malty backbone to keep it in shape. A knife-edge balance, perfectly executed.


Itís hyped-up and laden with heavy sacks of expectation, but the beer smashes through that (I imagine it does so with a look to the skies, an impassioned roar, a paw at the chest). Big green hops, super fruity, full-on bitterness, but always just lip-smackingly good. Itís up there with the best IPAs this year (and Iíve had some shit hot IPAs this year).


Iíve got a mixed 12-pack of this and St Petersburg (another great beer, deserving of its own upper case exclamation, no doubt Ė imagine you BBQíd a bar of dark chocolate and then blitzed it up with some coffee, and loads of earthy hops, itís real goood, in a dirrrty kind of way, like eating in bed) but Iím seriously tempted to go back to myBrewerytap and order some more (especially as theyíre now selling Marble, too).



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