Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Hop To It
Taste is a highly subjective thing, of course, and you can't expect everyone to be on the same page when it comes to perceptions of the palate. Some people are apparently not a fan of aggressively hoppy beers, and that's fine, I suppose, it's their loss.
But what puzzles me most is that certain cross-section of society that claims to like hoppy brews, but then is hesitant to roll up their sleeves and fully embrace it - you hear some say things like "well, I like hoppy, but you know, not too hoppy. It can get to be too much." Like this review of De Ranke XX Bitter Golden Ale which expresses excitement at its reputation of being "the hoppiest beer in Belgium" and yet then decides in the final analysis that the beer is "over-hopped and unbalanced". (*headdesk*)
Too much hoppiness is never enough, if you ask me and I know you didn't.
I'm all about the hops, and that they make their presence so vocally known in my beloved Duvel is key to my worship of it. And yet, do a Google search for "hoppiest beer" and you'll find a debate raging endlessly over the desire for uber-hopdom. One guy in the New York Times even says the quest for the hoppiest beer is "a fairly idiotic pursuit, like a chef saying, 'This is the saltiest dish.'" Stanford-Binet test fail - hops are not to beer as salt is to a meal.
For the unsure or the in-between palate, let me go on record as recommending Schlafly Dry Hopped APA as a good place to start and get your feet hoppy. Mr. Manley also speaks highly of this brew, but the collective beer-snob hive-mind over at Beer Advocate only give it a B minus. (Then again, if you read all their reviews, you find that the descriptions vary so widely that you'd be hard pressed to tell that they're all talking about the same product - further evidence that the old traditional model of winespeak/beerspeak is uselessly arbitrary.)
- - JSH