Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Showdown: Hops: Sierra Nevada vs Lagunitas vs BridgePort

This showdown features 3 different approaches to hops. Each beer is different in brewing style, hops used and even recipe - two are IPAs and one is an IPA. We're hoping to assist you in deciding the direction of your next craving for hop beer.
First we have Lagunitas Brewing Company's Hop Stoopid. Hop Stoopid uses a traditional Double IPA recipe but adds Lagunita's homemade hop extract through the boil to add even more hop flavor. Hop extract actually predates pellets. It is what is sounds like, a resin form of hop. There some flavor and storage benefits to using this extract.

The review
The beer pours an orange-amber color with a decent white head that leaves very nice lacings.  The aroma is powerful. Sweet, fruity hops with notes of pine, and citrus. The taste follows the aroma with big sweet fruity hops balanced by bitter citrus hops with a bitter pine hop finish. Medium to thick bodied and light carbonation. The moutfeel is thick and sticky which is good for a bottle, but it would be tough to drink a lot of these.
Second, we have BridgePort Brewing Company's India Pale Ale which showcases four different Oregon grown hops, which actually have their own state government commission. Their website has sections about how hops are grown commercialy and a discussion on growing hops in your own home garden. Oregon has 35 hop growing businesses, 24 of which are family run. Most of these families are 3rd and 4th generation hop growers.

The review
The beer pours with an hazy orange with a small frothy head and little lacings. The smell is pleasant with citrus and pine hops, with sweet caramel malts. The taste is a balanced mix of citrus, pine and grassy hops balanced by a standard malt flavor. There is not much bitterness bite from the hops, almost all flavor and aroma. Its medium bodied, smooth, and nice bottle conditioned carbonation.

Last we have Sierra Nevada Brewing Company's Southern Hemisphere Harvest which features three New Zealand hops; Pacific Hallertau, Motueka, and Southern Cross. The hops are used within two weeks of being harvested. While New Zealand hops are just now becoming popular, hops have been grown in the Nelson region for about 100 years. My favorite Double IPA, Nelson, is named not only after the region, but after the flagship hop variety, Nelson Sauvin. New Zealand is a great place to grow - the climate is perfect and the island's isolation kept pests that eat hops away. The lack of pests and the development of disease resistant varieties has allowed New Zealand hop growers to grow spray-free or organically.

The review
The beer pours a clear amber with a  thin white head that slowly dissipates and leaves decent lacings. The aroma is subtle with hints of tropical fruit, citrus, spicy and pine hops and caramel malts.The taste is complex with the sweet caramel malts and citrus hops upfront followed by notes of tropical fruit, earthy, floral and spice hops. It's medium bodied, less carbonated than your average IPA, smooth but complex flavors, and very drinkable. The malts are refreshing and tie all the flavors together.

The three of us liked Southern Hemisphere Harvest the best. It was very unique and drinkable. It wasn't thick like Hop Stoopid or subtle with no bite like BridgePort. However, Hop Stoopid is really good with BIG hop flavors, but it's tough to drink a lot of. Bridgeport had good hop flavor, but no hop bite. It might be a good IPA for someone who doesn't like bitterness.

1 comment:

  1. Hop Stoopid all the way man. The Hoppyness is really strong and great on it. I love Hoppy Beers so I love it. Try Port Brewing Company Mongo: Double IPA, now there's some serious Hops and it's unfiltered, yum.