A quiet weekend around here as I was off in central New York state picking up some more beer to keep your insatiable appetite for my views on brews fed...or at least watered. Also quiet because I've been muttering under my breath about another digital camera that has died on me. For the short term I will be being a little creative on the visuals. Like today with the brewery's logo for Hop Wallop Ale from Victory Brewing in Dowington, Pennsylvania.
I picked this up at the ever reliable and interesting Finger Lake Beverage Center in Ithaca New York whose selection of products on the shelf is quite stunning. I was asked by the staff which shops I would be hitting while south of the border and I said just theirs as I have yet to run out of things to write about. I really have not looked at their German or UK stock and I hardly had the nerve to go too heavily into the Belgians - though I picked up a few Christmassy ones for a month from now. I did ask if they had any Victory Storm King Imperial Stout and was told, no, but that the "Hop Wallop" was in.
Well, I am not one to see that one door opening usually means another closes...or...whatever...but I was quite impressed with this brew - especially its label. And not for Yosimite Sam or whatever they are calling the old miner guy but the style "very hoppy ale". This is quite a relief. Not an IPA or a double IPA or an ESB or one of the other structured and recognized style but simply "very hoppy ale". Not even VHA. When you look at the ingredients this level of heresy goes deep: an 8.5% with imported german malts and american whole flowers in a pale ale. Sounds simple enough but what is it? Too hoppy for Kölsche, too Teutonic for best bitter, too pale and light for an India Pale Ale.
This ale pours golden straw with a snow white head. I imaigine it wouldn't be that different from a Canadian macro ale if I had one around to compare it with. On the mouth there is no doubt it is not with a cream, hop and heat in quick succession and a long drying finish. It is a spectacularly well made brew hiding the level of 8.5% better than maybe any other ale I have tried. The malt is slightly sweet, some notes of pear juice and grainy in the style of a real pale ale. There is no raisiny crystal malt or notes of other roastier malts added for texture and complexity. This is simpler ale, showcasing a large body of hops over plain bread-crusty barley. The hops are green and then citrus and then spiced in clear sequence. Only then the heat comes through opening and sustaining along a long drifting conclusion.
Loverly. 98% of BAers approve but those who do not find a pineapple smell.