By Iron Chef Leftovers
It is strange that I had a bottle of fresh hop beer sitting in my fridge for several months without having opened it or even realizing it was there. That is what happened with the my 22 oz. bottle of Port Brewing High Tide Fresh Hop IPA. The beer was fresh hopped with Centennial and Simcoe hops and came in at 6.5% ABV. Because it had been sitting for a while, I figured that I would have pretty low expectations of the beer, and honestly, figured that all of the hop flavor would have been dead by this point. I am happy to report, I was wrong.
The beer pours golden in color with a hint of orange and an off white head. There is significant hop character on the noes with strong notes of citrus and citrus peel with light notes of grain and resin. A major citrus bomb on the palate – the beer starts off with a slightly tannic dryness before quickly switching to hops, and lots of them. There are strong notes of citrus peel and grapefruit before finishing off with more citrus peel and a pleasant lingering bitterness on the front of the tongue that keeps going for quite a while. Well balanced and higher alcohol than most fresh hops, it goes down smooth while displaying nice character.
Port Brewing High Tide Fresh Hop IPA cycles in with 3 ebb tides out of 5.
By Iron Chef Leftovers
For our loyal readers, I am going to take us back on a trip to January in my beer of the year post:
This really was a challenge – I had about 15 beers that I scored 5 points so I took down my list from there to 4 contenders for the best. It was actually going to be 5, then I realized that the one that would have been in the 5th spot has not yet had a review posted, so, it is an early contender for 2014 (and no, I won’t tell you what it is).
Well, I am ready to reveal what that 5th beer is since this is the review for it. In some ways it is better that the review slipped to 2014, it would not have won in 2013, but it is really the front runner for 2014’s title of beer of the year.
From the NW Peaks website:
Cave ridge, fresh hop, rye. Cave ridge rye features fresh simcoe hops, imparting a beautiful/delicate piney aroma and acidity in the beer. To feature the simcoe hops, we put the hops on top of a light, dry pale. We used ~35% rye, which aids in drying out the beer, but also adds a little complexity complementing the simcoe. Some might find this a strange pairing, but they work really well together in Cave Ridge rye.
The beer pours a very pale yellow in color with strong notes of berries, grain and mild notes of rye on the nose. The beer starts out quickly with a quick hit of hops showing some light resin and pine before moving into heavy rye notes with a mild fruitiness before finishing off with a tinge of very pleasant bitterness, pine needles and more rye dryness at the very end of the beer, showing notes of raspberry on the finish as the beer warms. Layered and complex, the beer doesn’t have the strong bitter/citrus hop character of most fresh hopped beer, but is much deeper and show how the hops can play with several other complex players, making a the hops an important member of the symphony rather than the star of the show.
NW Peaks Caver Ridge Rye stirs the cauldron and makes a prediction of 5 oracles out of 5.
By Iron Chef Leftovers
Today’s beer takes us in the way back machine 6 months to a warmer and sunnier time in Seattle – June, specifically the summer solstice*. I had forgotten about these notes as they are buried in the middle of my notebook, but Populuxe brewed a pale ale to celebrate the Fremont Solstice Parade, with the beer aptly being named Solstice Pale Ale.
The beer pours hazy yellow in color with light orange and citrus peel on the nose. The initial taste yields light notes of grapefruit followed by mild grassy/resin notes from the hops (they used Chinook and Simcoe) before finishing with a pleasantly light bitterness. The beer has great hop character on both the nose and palate, but that character is restrained wonderfully giving you just small amounts of bitterness and a nice complexity that allows you to appreciate the grain character of the beer and pick up on the subtle flavors the hops are providing. Very easy to drink and a beer you could easily have more than one of, it was clean and refreshing, perfect for a nice summer day.
Populuxe Solstice Pale Ale strips down and rides in with 4 naked bicyclists out of 5.
*if my memory serves, it was cold and foggy the morning of the Solstice, but did become nice in the afternoon.