The Ilkley Brewery doesn’t just happen to come from one of the most beautiful areas in Yorkshire, but they have a tried-and-tested history of producing a range of quality beers, often going in for more unusual ideas alongside the more standard long-running classics such as Ilkley Gold, which is enduringly popular. They run a fair few seasonal beers and one-offs too, and unfortunately for other beer drinkers, the Hickory Redcap I had at the Bristol Beer Festival last weekend is one of those one-offs. Maybe they could be convinced to make some more of this one in future, though, as it’s a solid little porter with a lot going for it.
The scent of this beer was the first thing that hit me – not in terms of it being strong in any way, but just because this has a really fresh, sweet-smelling aroma generally. A porter which pours good and black with a clean glass (no lacing on my pint) gives way to a very flavoursome beer, with notes of sweetness as you’d expect or hope from the first impressions it gives in the aroma.
In terms of the pecan nuts which form part of the brew’s ingredients, well, for me these were very subtle indeed – not much more than a hint in the sweeter flavours of the beer. Personally I’d have loved a tad more of this, but of course pecans aren’t hugely flavoured anyway. In fact, in amongst everything else I even got some liquorice hints from the beer as a whole – a well-rounded beer, I’d say, with a mesh of interesting tastes going on. As one-offs go this is good work.