About this time every year (in New England, specifically) the harvest has begun. Every seed that has come to maturity will be reaped and enjoyed; used for its specified duty. One bud in particular that we enjoy here (wait for it, there’s a “Duh” and “No Way” moment coming up) comes from the humulus lupulus varietal. Yup, hops. About this time every year growers start picking those little cones with their resiny goodness to be used in a numerous different avenues (if you have them or grow them, try drying them and sewing them into a pouch – BOOM! You have yourself a sleeping mask. The calming and sedative nature of the cones will float you off swimmingly to slumber) but the one we’re most interested in is their relation to making our beers not some overly sweet mess. You see, without hops, all you would have is fermented sugar water. Yes, there are instances where you can have a beer that DOESN’T use hops (Gruits, for example, employ herbs and spices to bitter the sweet wort) but far and large, beer requires these cones to make your experience more palatable. We say thank you, hops.
You’ll say thank you tomorrow night when you come in for one of the greatest musical experiences around. Jay Ekis is a man who clearly knows not only how to play the guitar and sing but he also knows how to keep you (as the audience) in tune with the group as a whole. It’s a pivotal talent to be able to engage the audience and then keep them there. Jay has mastered that. One thing that makes this whole cohesion easier is when he’s playing songs that you know the lyrics to and he’s encouraging you (the audience) to sing along, to join him in the musical journey. That’s what the Super Gold Sing Along is all about. And, it’s here, tomorrow night (Thursday) at 10 PM. Trust me, after a couple of songs, it will be impossible not to join in.
Here’s what to look forward to (beer wise) while being in that group and thanking them hops:
Founders All Day IPA: I think big beers are impressive (like Imperial Bourbon Barrel Aged, et cetera beers). But, what’s even more impressive to me is when you can make an awesome beer and keep the alcohol at bay under 5%. This is an IPA, under 5% and it’s delicious.
Sierra Nevada Slight Of Hand: we love getting goodies from the originators, the pioneers. This is a Belgian Style India Black Ale from their Beer Camp series. Super complex and beautifully contrived.
Nogne O Citrus Hystrix: a wonderful India PALE Ale from our friends in Norway. Hops, meet mouth.
The Bruery Mischief: a superior Belgian Style Strong Pale Ale from California. If you haven’t had anything yet from this Brewery, please allow yourself to do so.
Grassroots Arctic Saison: brewed in collaboration between the brainpower of Hill Farmstead and Anchorage Brewing Company. This rustic saison spent a little bit of life on oak and lived with its pal good buddy brettanomyces for a hot second. It came out better for it on the other side.
Hill Farmstead Abner: I just threw that in there, but I made you read all this up to now so that I could slide it in there and get you excited.
Jack’s Abby Smoke & Dagger: say it with me, “Rauchbier.” When said in a Marilyn Monroe kind of vibe it’s fairly similar to how smooth this smoked black lager tastes.
Ok. That should be enough for this week. We’ve got only a couple of weeks left of IPAugust so be sure to come in and try as many India Pale Ales that you can.
Cheers to you!
Hoppy McHopfenstein (DBA The Three Penny Taproom)