Friday, October 12, 2012

Fresh Hop week at Town Hall (Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN)

Surly Wet w/ walleye and fries
Arrived a bit early, so I started with the Indeed Fresh Hop contribution to wet beers. Stark white over a pale yellow ale the looks watery but has a full mouthfeel. Sharply bitter with lots of citrus, lemongrass and a slight green taste. Clean and crisp, but I wouldn't say it's a fresh hop beer just from the taste. I'd put it as pale ale strength; however, lots and lots a pretty, pretty hops on top makes me happy.

Town Hall Fresh Hop 100

Next, on the list is the evening's goal: Town Hall's Fresh Hop 100 for 2012. The 100 is for 100% fresh Simcoe hops--nothing else.  Off white head over a dark amber ale. Straight Simcoe hops come through as fresh, clean spice and earthiness. Strong caramel and toffee flavors with a full, robust mouthfeel. Chewy maltiness more than supports the big hop; guessing the IBU is higher than it tastes.  Simcoe covers the palate but isn't overwhelming. Another great Town Hall beer and glad I got my two growlers to drink at home.
Indeed Fresh Hop

The other advertised wet hop I wanted to try, Lucid Wammo, wasn't on tap until later in the week, so I "settled" for Surly Wet, only one of my very favorite beers.  I was chatting and eating dinner with this pint, so didn't get any impressions down.  I've been drinking the canned version of Wet at home this week; while the draft was very good, the nose and bite of it seems muted compared to the can.

Tonight's epiphany--fresh hop beers have come a long way baby.  If memory serves, proto-versions of fresh hop beers tended to be grassy and a bit hop stupid.  Since they were the only game in town, any fresh hop beer was a fun treat.  However, they tasted a lot like my homebrewed version that needed six months to settle before the cut grass flavor dissipated.  While still full of aromatic, fresh, beautiful hops, tonight's drafts have a sophistication and range that goes far beyond a novelty act.

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