As if I hadn’t reminded him lately that he has always been the best gift-giver on the face of the planet, The Korean Lover recently lugged an assorted six-pack of brews from the New Glarus Brewing Company all the way back from Wisconsin for my tasting pleasure. From now until Jesusmas, my tasting pleasure will become your tasting pleasure. Before this week, I’ve never had the opportunity to try their beers, but I’ve always heard good things about New Glarus Brewing. Their Wisconsin Belgian Red comes in at an impressive number 42 on BeerAdvocates top 100 beers list.
Five beers down and not a single one with any hop characteristics worth mentioning. That is not an indictment of New Glarus’ abilities, but it is noteworthy considering what an unabashed hophead I am. My obsession with the humulus lupulus waned slightly after leaving Oregon, but I was jolted back on track after attending the recent Rogue Rodeo at Summits. Rogue brewmaster John Maier is truly the master of the hop, and I would toss his salad to be able to utilize alpha acids half as well as he can.
Needless to say, I saved the Hop Hearty IPA until last for a reason. Onward!
Color: Deep, scorched orange. Like the others, quite clear despite the deeper color. Pours with a medium, off-white head. Heavy lacing.
Aroma: Very hoppy aroma, but with some strange goings on as well … is that chocolate? Smells a lot more roasty than I was expecting. I don’t know how to decribe this, but this IPA smells like it’s going to taste a lot more bitter than it smells. Discuss.
Flavor: I was right. Bitter city, which is okay, but I like a little more hop flower and citrus and a little less searing roasted bitterness than this beer is giving me. But since the bittering hops largely outweigh the flavor/aroma hops here, the roasted malts add a nice complexity. Long, bitter finish, like a relationship that should have ended 6 months ago.
I’ve read a lot of Hop Hearty reviews that are exactly the opposite of mine–lots of flowery citrusy hops, big malty sweetness–but I’m calling it like my tongue sees it. Hopheads will have their alpha acid deficiencies met with this beer, but I would only consider this a session beer if my tongue were made of belt leather. On hoppiness alone, this one gets the 3rd slot on the arbitrary list.
In subjective order:
1. Spotted Cow
3. Hop Hearty
5. Fat Squirrel
6. Native Ale