Sunday, May 09, 2010

Ass U Me

I notice that the good folk at the Reading BF list one of our beers as:
West Coast Blonde 4.4%
Pale beer brewed with West Coast USA hops?

Now, I know that they're very busy people, what with trying to ensure that their enormous range of 500 beers is in good condition (good luck with that), but why make up that bit about USA hops? Will it help sell the beer? Surely US hopping has become a real cliché in English micro-brews of late? I'm sure there's now a generation of drinkers who think that beer is supposed to smell like grapefruit.

For the record - there's only one beer in which we're currently using a US hop - and it's not this one. The contents of our hop store (it's a big chest freezer actually) include:

  • Northern Brewer - great quality - resinous and slightly citric, nice clean bitterness

  • Challenger - crisp bitterness, I find that some straw and grass comes through. Nice.

  • Hallertauer Mittelfrüh - also great quality - lightly floral, fresh.

  • Goldings - Used pretty much exclusively in our "milds". I've never really got on with Goldings (which must make me a weirdo)- there always seems to be a sort of cold stewed tea tannic quality if we use a lot of them in the boil. In a lightly hopped beer though, this works for me, while the bitterness may be quite low, the quality of the bitterness keeps it interesting.

  • Odds and ends of various "Styrians"

  • Bobek! Boss! Unlike the other "styrians", this isn't (I gather) a fuggle variant - has it got Northern Brewer in it's ancestry? Or something. Citric yes, but not grapefruit - it's orangey / lemony - tangerine perhaps.

  • Amarillo- Stinks of cat p*ss & mango. Revolting? But leave it to air for a few hours and the cat creeps out, then some distinct minty notes come through. Fascinating. The catty stuff doesn't seem to make it into beer either - but I'm inclined to let it breathe before using it for dry-hopping. The bitterness is good and all kinds of nice orangey tastes come through. Definite tropical fruit used late. Great example of how the smell of the hop in the hand is not what comes out in the beer.

And where did the "e" come from? It's blond, not blonde. It's the name of the beer, not the lady on the clip.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Interesting stuff about the US hops - they must have thought it would help! Good point about them not being needed; the permutations of hops out there are endless - you can make IPA withough C-Hops,as you know!!