Graphic design is a funny thing. Something about the label of Hobsons Old Prickly – or perhaps its description as a ‘Snuffly Hedge Grog’ – made me think it was a cider, and I haven’t been a great fan of cider since a certain … ahem … episode at University.

But no, it’s definitely beer. A golden ale made with Columbus and Lubelski hops.

It smells wonderful – both bitter and sweet, with a fresh, honeyish overtone.

The famous Maris Otter malt gives a fresh bread base over which the hops donate a citrussy bite. It’s much bubblier than it looks in the glass and ends with a juicy hop finish. Given that it features hops from the US and Poland, it’s a surprise to find that it tastes so classically English.

Hobsons donate to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) every time they brew this beer, and have raised over £43,000 for the charity since 2012. They’re also one of the most sustainable breweries in the UK, with their own wind turbine, solar panels and heat pump.

Taste and ethics. You’ve got to raise a glass to that.

Written by Richard Salsbury

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