Hockley Amber | Hockley Valley Brewing Co.

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Hockley AmberHockley Amber

Brewed by:
Hockley Valley Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by spinrsx on 06-29-2012

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Ratings: 44 |  Reviews: 16
Photo of biboergosum
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

473ml can, part of a Hockley Taste Pack, apparently only available in Alberta at Co-op stores around Calgary.

This beer pours a clear, dark, glistening copper amber hue, with two fingers of fizzy, tightly foamy pale tan head, which leaves a few lingering islet strings of lace around the glass as it quickly dissolves.

It smells of sweet caramel/toffee malt, some mildly bitter cocoa nibs, a slight oily nuttiness, and rather prominent (relatively) leafy, earthy hops. The taste is more nutty caramel malt, reminiscent of many a recent awkward Christmas cookie moment, a mild eggnog creaminess (there I go again!), but without the attendant spice, and softly musty, leafy hops.

The bubbles are average, and dutifully supportive in that very manner, the body a decent medium weight, but not without a doddering clamminess. It finishes a tad off-dry, the caramel malt kind of giving off a last rites vibe, the nutty contending with the musty, and some leafy, weedy hops playing us out.

Not a bad amber ale, or as they are apparently now called, Canadian Amber Ale, which I wholeheartedly support for inclusion in the new style wars, um, I mean discussions, on this site. There is just something indeterminately unique about the Canadian take on this style - maybe that's just it - not a British Ruby Ale, not a hopped-up Yankee Amber, but something muddled and Canadian. Sounds about right, and so does this offering, for unconcerned Canuck imbibers everywhere. Oh, and go Team Canada Juniors!

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Photo of biegaman
3.82/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hockley Amber is such a polished bronze that I could wear it around my neck as an Olympic medal. It is spotlessly clear and animated by a steady cast of bubbles. It looks like it was first put through the toaster and then passed over with the floor buffer. For all its sparkle, however, it has nothing to look at on the top.

Hockley Amber is a heavily malt-driven interpretation of the style; the aroma is laden with toffee and nutty sweetness. This pleasant bouquet balloons out the glass with notes of marshmallow, graham cracker and caramel, the combination of which reminds me of those delectable caramel macaroon pies you'd find at a good bakery.

The taste also mirrors the caramel macaroon profile, both in taste and because it shares that airy, egg white lightness on the palate. It has my sweet-tooth revving; notes of almond milk, ganache, buttercream, butterscotch, and a spoonful of fig jam all sandwiched between a cookie-like maltiness. Graham cracker and caramel play out in the aftertaste.

For all its surprisingly rich flavours the beer is far from cloying; earthy, pine-y hops aren't easy to single out but serve as the levy that keeps sweetness from flooding. The beer drinks as though it were lagered and shares strong resemble to Vienna Lager or Märzen. Rare to find a beer so malty be so smooth and airy on the palate.

In brewing a lager this deliciously sweet that can be so casually, copiously enjoyed, Hockley Valley might as well have also lit candles and laid rose petals out on the bed because they are clearly after mine own heart. Most people that try this beer will likely find it pretty pedestrian - and to be sure it is - but I've really enjoyed it the few times I've had it.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.15/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

473ml Can from the LCBO Ottawa for 2.65$

Appearance - Clear amber/copper colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an above average amount of carbonation and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for around 2-3 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hay/straw/grass, grains

Taste & Mouth - There is an above amount of carbonation and I can taste hops, malts, and caramel/toffee. There is also a graininess and some herbal/hay/straw/grassy notes. It ends with a grassy caramel/toffee aftertaste with a very light amount of bitterness.

Overall - Not bad I guess.. the mouthfeel seems wrong but it's pretty drinkable. If I'm rating by style, I suppose this is pretty decent. The toffee/caramel flavours are nice. Definitely nothing exciting or something that will stand out in my mind as a 'must buy again'. The beer battered fish recipe on the side of the can is a nice touch.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

473ml can poured into pint glass 12/12/12

A clear light copper with lots of big bubbles feeding a long lasting thumbs width of cream colored foam that leaves a few partial rings of lace

S caramel and butterscotch with a little leafy hops and some nutty coco powder

T not far from the smell but has a slight metallic flavor, tastes pretty faint with not a whole lot going on, pretty basic

M a little thin and almost airy from the bubbles, faint aftertaste of nutty caramel

O OK beer but nothing special, drinkable for sure but I wouldn't go looking for it

just another brew, nothing memorable, nothing offensive, nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing to go looking for

 676 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.69/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Looks good, bright copper with a pale beige cap. Malty aroma, caramel and a bit nutty, plus earthiness and fruitiness from the hops -- very English in character. Perhaps a hint of citrus and grassy notes as well. Nicely balanced flavour -- bitterness, hops, and sweetness really work well together -- same character as the aroma. Medium bodied with average carbonation, off-dry making you want to take another sip. Pretty solid. I could see this being a good go-to beer when looking for something with some character, but still nicely balanced and pleasant.

 557 characters

Photo of Molson2000
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of ZachT
4.12/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of thehyperduck
3.34/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

473 mL can from the LCBO; packaged on Apr 7 2012. The Hockley offerings I've had in the past have all been pretty consistently good, so I was (initially) pretty eager to try this one.

Pours an appropriate copper-amber colour, completely clear and topped with one finger of dense, foamy, off-white head. Retention isn't great; it is only able to maintain cohesion for a few minutes, before settling down to a uniform cap and thin collar of lacing. Weak, inoffensive aroma without a lot of characteristics to describe - definitely on the sweeter side, with toasted, bready malts and hints of toffee and honey.

Straightforward flavour that isn't very adventurous for the style. The taste is dominated by lightly toasted bready malts, with a pronounced toffee/caramel sweetness and a faint hint of chocolate. Grassy, vaguely earthy hops come forward toward the end of the sip, imparting some much-needed dryness. Mildly dry aftertaste, without much lingering flavour. Light-bodied, with moderate carbonation and a smooth, pleasant mouthfeel.

I tried this a few days ago and wasn't all that impressed, and this re-purchase hasn't really changed my mind much. I doubt I'll pick this up again any time soon, but it's still a serviceable, if uninspiring amber ale. I would definitely pick Creemore's lager over this, and possibly Barking Squirrel as well, but obviously this is merely personal taste.

Final Grade: 3.36, a B-. Hockley Amber is a decent, well-balanced amber, but in my eyes it doesn't hold a candle to this brewery's flagship dark beers. It's easy to drink and might work fine as a session brew, but I doubt most BAs would consider it memorable, or worth becoming a staple. No reason not to try this one - just don't expect anything interesting.

[Updated Oct. 21 2013]

Picked up another can as part of a sampler pack. This is a quality session amber, the sort of thing I'd be happy to throw back a few glasses of at the pub - but the fact remains that it isn't a particularly creative beer. I'd place Hockley Amber on par with other OCB 'malt-focused' ambers (think Amsterdam's Big Wheel), but anyone looking for an American-style red ale is going to be underwhelmed by this English-inspired offering.

 2,215 characters

Photo of byronic
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

473 ml can purchased from LCBO for $2.65 CDN (if I recall correctly). Served cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - Dark coppery, orange color with some brown and amber hues. Lots of visible carbonation and a nice two finger off-white head. The head slowly dissolved leaving a thin white foamy cloud on top of the beer. Enticing.

Smell - Strong grain aroma and floral characteristics that are distinctly spring like. Molasses backbone makes this definitely a more malt based aromatic beer.

Taste - Malt forward, especially molasses and some toasted grains. Flavor doesn't linger on the palate for terribly long on the tongue but then reappears in the aftertaste. Wish the taste was of a similar strength throughout as it's quite tasty.

Mouthfeel - Lively carbonation, medium-light feel but full flavor. Refreshing.

Overall - While not a world beater, this is a great example of Ontario's craft brewers perfecting their craft. A really solid amber with great malt flavor and and extremely refreshing. This may become a regular visitor to my fridge.

 1,050 characters

Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of SebD
3.03/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: It has a nice golden/amber color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of sweet roasted malts, caramel, earthy /grassy notes and slight chocolate.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a sweet roasted malt character, some breadiness and graininess, caramel, earthy notes and slight chocolate.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a slightly thin but nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with decent flavors and aromas.

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Photo of GoHabsGo
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of RedAleMan
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of Jotora
3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of hopsolutely
3.41/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Although I think this is a well brewed amber ale, I would certainly not classify it as "American", as it's lacking the entire hop portfolio such a name typically entails... Reviewing it as such on principle, but would have rated it far higher in a British or other malt-forward "red" style.

Can pours a glowing amber with a quarter inch of off-white head that has good retention before leaving impressive lacing. A nice beer to look at! Unfortunately the aroma is pretty sparse, with some earthy tones underneath simple malted barley. Less caramelized or roasted notes than I expected. The flavour is better balanced and more impressive. Although malt-forward and less complicated than I'd choose, it leaves a delightfully dry finish from the bittering hops.

Lacking any citrus, pine, tropical fruit or other typical "American" hop elements, but would classify this as a decent British pint and an excellent transition beer for a wide audience. It is literally miles ahead of any macro "red"!

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Photo of rodlavers
3.14/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Pmicdee
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Jaisell
3.69/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of beerhunter13
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of Exeter
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of ThinkAgain
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of korguy123
3.08/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Slightly chill hazed dark copper pour. Half finger, off white head. Lacing is decent.

Toffee, caramel, roasted malts, brown sugar and some slight earthy grains.

Lightly toasted malts, caramel, slight brown sugar. It has a digestive cookie taste. Sort of bland.

Light body, good carbonation.

 293 characters

Photo of DamageCase76
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of Boo-urns
4.18/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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Hockley Amber from Hockley Valley Brewing Co.
3.52 out of 5 based on 44 ratings.
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