A new Yeastie Boys release is usually accompanied by an informal round of Guess What The Hell The Name Refers To. Ordinarily, it’s something musical — and often something alarmingly obscurely musical, more to the point, so you don’t really feel bad when the allusion sails clear over your head. Guesswork was enjoyably hopeless, here, as they’d changed trains entirely and gone with an old family nickname — “Hold the Wall”1 — for an ancestor who “once held up a wall while his workmates escaped from a collapsing mine”. So, something suitably big, and strong, and full of character, right? Damn right.
But it may well get away from you, this one. A rewarding and enjoyable pint; one you won’t tire of easily, for sure. It’s a beer with legs and which can walk, as one of us at work put it, referring to the longevity its interestingness supplies — provided, crucially, that you remember there are some scary hobnail boots on the end of those legs, because this is a beer which could kick your ass if you forget that it’s 6.8%. Its suitability to the colder turn of weather coinciding with its launch caused a few people to lose track of that fact.
My early reaction to it amused my colleagues as I rode a rollercoaster of big hoppy zing, massive fruity fatness, and delicious malty oomph. They’re all nicely commingled in a proper pint, but in my first tasting glass they conspired to line up in order and take turns slapping silly grins on my face. After a day or two, I usually settle on a super-brief description to give curious customers and my phrase for this evolved quickly into “marmalade on malt biscuits” — another in a long line of Cliffs Notes that sound a little gross when you think about them too much, but which somehow capture the mood, the fun, and maybe the point. And I don’t even like actual marmalade or malt biscuits, singly. But their hypothetical marriage comes instantly to mind with the deliciously zesty hop fruitiness covering (but failing to smother) that hugely malty foundation.
Apparently (as I write this up way too late, with May turning into June), a second batch is on the way and Stu has been nearly-obsessively pointing out that the recipe has changed around quite a bit — which is, partly, just par for the course for these guys if you think back to ‘Pot Kettle Black’ (or indeed anything else that they’ve released more than once). It’ll be interesting to see how it varies, but so long as it still stands up to its name (and namesake), it’ll be worth a go.
Verbatim: Yeastie Boys ‘Hud-a-Wa” Strong 5/4/11 just on tap @ MH, after Kaibosh & Nerding. I had a little taste and loved the hopzing-fruit-malt rollercoaster, so am having a full one before going home. Very clear, gorgeous red-hinted rich dark amber colour. The story behind the name is a good one — and caught us all off guard by not being music-related. Easily straight up with Old 95 or Golden Pride or whatevs. Huge malty aftertaste, like biscuits. Positively oodles going on in there, but stitched very smoothly together. Zesty marmalade on malt biscuits.
1: Rendered in appropriately-old-timey Scots, which our (mostly-Scottish) Overboss at the Malthouse assures me should be pronounced much closer to Hud-a-war than the initially-tempting Hud-a-wah.