Beer of the Week: NW Peaks Single Hop IPA with Crystal

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitle8dKeeping with a theme of single hop IPA’s, NW Peaks released one also recently, this one done with Crystal hops. It was a new beer for the crew down at NW Peaks and an IPA, so it was definitely on my must try list.

The beer pours hazy pale yellow in color with notes of lemon and lemon peel and touches of grain and grassy hops. The beer starts off with a strong grain profile with just a touch of sweetness before quickly moving into a mild bitterness showing hints of lemon peel. The beer finishes long with notes of lemon juice (without the acidity) and a pleasant bitterness with just a touch of astringency (surprising but not unpleasant) and hints of grassy notes giving the beer a bit of a bite. The beer drinks fine and is a nice use of Crystal hops, but it lacked a great depth of flavor that you would normally expect from an IPA and it seemed just a bit unbalanced.

NW Peaks Single Hop IPA with Crystal goes into the china shop like a bull with 2 horns out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Crystal Pale Ale Cask

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Cask beer really affords the opportunity to understand exactly what a specific hop does to a beer, especially if you have the opportunity to taste the base beer side by side with it. Pale Ales tend to be great vehicles for this so it was nice to see Populuxe doing a Pale cask with Crystal Hops. What exactly do Crystal hops do to the beer? From beerlegends.com:

Crystal Hops was born in 1983, created in Corvallis Oregon. Drink a Rogue Brutal Bitter, and say colchicine induced tetraploid three times. This type of Hallertau was crossed with USDA 21381M, which is resistant to downy mildew.

Out comes a hops variety, which is a half sister of both Mt. Hood and Liberty Hops.Crystal Hops bears a low alpha acid rating of 3.5%-6.0%, and carries a relatively high myrcene oil content. This combination makes it ideal for aroma additions as it bring with it a mix of woody, green, some floral and fruit notes, with some herb and spice character. Crystal Hops lends itself to a number of beers like Light Ales, such as Goldens, Pale Ales, Aroma for India Pale Ales, and even Stouts and Lagers.

imagesCAAR87MMThe beer pours hazy orange in color with significant amounts of citrus and notes of spicy hops on the nose. The beer drinks light on the palate, starting off with light grain before moving into hints of hops and resin and finishing off with a nice citrus fruit and mild citrus peel bitterness that lingers pleasantly for a long time.

Very easy drinking and approachable, a great beer for just kicking back and drinking on a lazy afternoon.Populuxe Crystal Pale Ale Cask runs through and doesn’t break anything with 3 chandeliers out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Cask Beer Snob Brown

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMIf you are free on Thursday nights, you should head down to Populuxe Brewing for their cask night. Yes, you will see a number of pale ales and IPA’s on tap with a variety of different dry hops (and they are fantastic), but the guys at Populuxe aren’t afraid to give the cask treatment to their other style of beers. A few months back, the Beer Snob Brown was the candidate – not too many NW breweries do a brown and even fewer do it on cask (this one was done with Crystal hops), so this was definitely a must try beer.

The beer pours a nice solid brown in color with really nice chocolate on the nose and just a hint of citrus from the hops (think a chocolate bar with orange peel). The beer starts out with a pretty heavy dose of coffee and chocolate before yielding into the addition of hops – slightly floral and citrusy/orange. The beer then fades quickly in a burst of chocolate, coffee and malt before disappearing completely off the palate. Giving the Beer Snob Brown the cask treatment highlights the deeper roast flavors in the beer, almost turning it into a liquid chocolate confection without the sweetness. My only complaint about this beer is that the hop character starts to disappear the deeper you get into your pint and is overpowered by the darker flavors in the beer – it does not cause the beer to become unbalanced at all, but it does lose that layer of the flavor.

If Beer Snob Brown makes another appearance in the cask rotation, you should drop what you are doing and head down to Populuxe.

Populuxe Beer Snob Brown on cask thumbs its nose at you with a solid 3 silly English Kn-iggits out of 5.