Hope is the dream of a waking man.
This post is all about hops.
Beer Advocate and The Publick House hosted their 10th annual HopHead Throwdown yesterday. This was my first time going, but I’d heard good things from my friends Matt and Mike who went last year. Matt is (unfortunately) living in Baltimore these days, but Mike and Greg came along with me.
Here’s a list of the awesome beers they had available, bolded are the ones we tried (italicized are the ones that kicked before we got there):
* Allagash Prince Tuesday
* Allagash Ruby
* Avery 20th Anniversary
* Cisco DIPA
* Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
* Green Flash Hop Odyssey Imperial Red Rye
* Green Flash Hop Odyssey Citra Session
* Hill Farmstead/Amager Bryghus Collaboration DIPA – Shadow Pictures Of A Journey
* Jack’s Abby 2nd Anniversary
* Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’
* Port Mongo IPA
* Port Wipeout IPA
* Port 7th Anniversary
* Pretty Things Meadowlark
* Smuttynose/Stone collaboration: “Cluster’s Last Stand”
* Stone Sublimely Self Righteous
* Tree House Sap
* Trillium Dry Stack (Farmhouse IPA)
* Trillium Double Dry Hopped Fort Point Pale Ale
* Trillium Lynn (American Wheat Ale)
* Victory Ranch DIPA (Mosaic, Simcoe, Citra)
Forgive the picture quality, we were standing most of the day and I didn’t exactly have a great way to take a lot of the pictures.
The Allagash Ruby was my first beer of the day. This was very interesting with a lot of fruit character to it. I there was a nice hoppy citrus flavor that meshed well with the Belgian yeast fruity esters. A definite must try.
The Trillium Brewing Lynn was my favorite beer of the day. This was a hop-slap across the face in the best possible way. A good mouthfeel, excellent flavors and a super aroma. If they have this available at the brewery (Update: it appears they do not), I might finally make my long overdue trip down there. I’m really excited about this guys setting up shop in Boston.
Another great beer from Trillium. This is their flagship Fort Point Pale Ale, dry-hopped. This one suffered from being tried alongside the Lynn, but it was still an excellent brew. I like this dry-hopped version better than the original, but that could because I was in a hop-centric mindset.
The Allagash and Rising Tide collaboration, Prince Tuesday, was another great DIPA. It was nice and balanced when compared against the downright chewy Avery Twenty. If I was only having one, I’d probably have the Twenty. This beer was practically a meal in itself. The Prince Tuesday was delicious and crisp.
Dogfish Head’s 120-Minute IPA was an old standby by comparison to all the new brews of yesterday. But old doesn’t mean bad; in fact if this was my first rodeo with 120 I’d have marked amongst my favorites of the day. The other excellent beers we had included Smuttynose & Stone’s Cluster’s Last Stand (unanimous winner of Best Name); Green Flash’s Citra Session, which was the lightest beer of the afternoon and perhaps not coincidentally my least favorite (despite still being really good); Port’s 7th Anniversary which was another chewy DIPA and one of my favorites; and the final two, Cisco’s DIPA and Victory’s Ranch DIPA, were both good if unremarkable in this illustrious field. I’d probably want to try them both again without the outside influence of other hop bombs and the incredibly spicy food. Oh right, the food…
The food was also something to behold (and consume). This was some of the spiciest and most delicious food I’ve ever set eyes, hands or tongue on. I had the Throwdown Chili (’nuff said). Mike indulged in a house-made Whopper with Cabot Habanero Cheese, crispy ghost chilis (packed into the meat patty), and “angry sauce.” And poor Greg made the mistake of ordering the Trinidad Scorpion Pepper jerk wings. Apparently last year these were served with rubber gloves.
These wings were the hottest goddamn thing I’ve ever tasted. I tried to wait out the heat, but ended up downing 3 glasses of water and half a 120-minute before the burning even started to subside. At least I didn’t run out of The Publick House screaming (literally), which is what Matt did last year…
Oh, and that gorgeous Trinidad Scorpion pepper? I made sure Mike got that with the leftover wings because I’m planning to make it into a stout or porter homebrew at some point soon.
Speaking of homebrew; the backyard hops are coming along nicely (I told you this post was all about hops). I don’t expect any flowering this year, but their growth makes me optimistic for next year’s potential crop.
That’s about all I’ve got for today. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Darren’s review of w00tstout!