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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Too Many Hops

Thinking that this might be a bit controversial, hops are seen as good right? Always more hops, needs more hops, if only it had C-hops…. Is that always the case though? I was drinking some new (to me) beers on Friday night, one of which was a complete hop bomb. It wasn’t particularly high ABV, but was incredibly bitter, with a huge hop profile. I felt as though I had had my mouth scoured by a grapefruit flavoured brillo pad. Now I know there will be people who love this kind of beer, lap it up whilst shouting ‘More hops, never can have too many hops’.

I love hops, I adore the different scents you get, I like the citrus, the pine, the earthy flavours. That resinous mouth feel, the kick of bitterness to counteract the heady aromas. I may have been guilty of saying that you can’t have too many hops in the past, but these beers changed my views. It turns out you CAN have too many. This beer was almost sour – not in the vinegar sense – but in the just bitten a lemon sour. It wasn’t just me, those who I was with all tried it, and we all felt the same. It was too heavily hopped. There was no malt flavour to balance it out, and nothing from the yeast either. If there were notes in there at all from the yeast and malt, they had been steamrollered by the hop character.

I am reminded of a quote of Garrett Oliver in this blog from Tandleman  equating over-hopping beer with over-salting food to the point of it being inedible. Well I found my over salty beer I am afraid. Now, is it just me? How many others have found beers hopped to the point that you’d rather not drink them? Or are you still firmly a believer in never having too many hops?

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Comfort Beer

It really shouldn’t be the time of year for this kind of post, but as the rain is lashing the windows, a huge storm predicted and thunder rumbling about outside, sod it. I’m sat here with a bowl of soup. It’s not even chilled. Along with a big wedge of thickly buttered bread. Comfort food really.

I’m full of cold, and rather run down. I’m feeling the need for the kind of beer you can nurse in front of the fire, curled up on your favourite chair with a quilt on your knee. Comfort beer. I really am feeling like an old woman’s granny today.

So, what have I got in mind? Something dark, all about the rich roasted, vanilla, coffee and chocolate flavours. Not too bitter, but maybe a nice touch of  fruity hop – something along the lines of  candied peel in a fruit cake.

I tried Norwich Bear Coconut Pawter last week, a special beer produced for City of Ale which at first I thought might be a little too sweet. Described as a Bounty bar in a glass (I hate Bounty bars – mainly due to the texture than the flavour). But no, this was delicious. Helped as it was paired with dark chocolate truffles and blue cheese. A deeply satisfying hit of cocoa in there, coffee to balance and the coconut on the finish. Reminded me of the smell of Hawaiian Tropic… yearning for a holiday in the sun, can you tell?

Green Jack’s Lurcher Stout would be another contender, a little variable in the past, but has been good the last few times I’ve tried it. All lovely roastedness with hints of vanilla. A good satisfying pint.

One that isn’t about at this time of year is Adams Oyster Stout. A really great pint, in good condition I can not fault this at all. Inky black, smooth and creamy, enough coffee flavours to stop it becoming cloying.

I am sneakily hoping that by positing this we’ll get a heat wave and everyone will laugh and ask ‘what storm?’ So then, tell me, what’s your go-to comfort beer, and if we do suddenly hit 28 degree temperatures, what will be in your fridge?