sticky sweet

19 May
There's a place in my life for all kinds of beers...even the really hoppy ones.

There’s a place in my life for all kinds of beers…even the really hoppy ones.

There’s been a recent kerfuffle regarding the Slate article that tackled the idea of hoppy beer being a turn-off for American craft beer drinkers.  The author takes the stance that all the focus on hops these days is turning off the average, or run-of-the-mill craft beer drinker.  It has spurred a post here, and I am sure there are more to come.  Not sure I want to wade too deep into this issue, but there has clearly been a shift to more aggressively hopped beers in the industry.  I have to say though, that it was pretty prescient to read all this discussion as I got ready to open a beer called Sticky Hands.   A Block 15 creation, Sticky Hands is billed as a part of their Hop Experience Ale Project.  The label is pretty cool, with a hop bud cupped between two hands with a warning that the beer is “so hoppy your tongue will slap your face”.  Along the side of the label it says: “Keep cold. Best before yesterday”.  Nicely done.

The beer?  Pretty good, I have to say.  Not sure it lives up to all the hype on the label, but it’s good.  It isn’t labeled as a Double/Imperial IPA, but that is clearly what it is.  I was struck immediately with the color.  It’s bright and pops in the glass.  A little orange and a little gold with a nice head on it.  The malt profile is big, with lots of sweetness and a thick, luscious mouthfeel.  The hops work their way from beginning to end on this beer.  I wouldn’t say the nose is all I thought it would be, based on the label, but it has some nice herbaceous and piney notes.  All the citrus flavors are found in the taste, and they are impressive.  Love the way it finishes on the tongue, with a crisp bitterness that you don’t often find in a big Double/Imperial IPA.

Block 15 always brings the ruckus with their beers, but this one comes up just a bit short of that for me.  I wouldn’t make a special trip to Corvallis to get this (note: I do for Pappy’s Dark) but would buy it if I found it in Portland.  I believe this beer will be released frequently, with new iterations, at the brewery this summer. It might be a good idea to get down to Corvallis and try in on tap if you’re up for a road trip.  As for big-hopped beers, I am a fan.  Really, hoppy beers are like anything else, though…you gotta be in the mood.  They don’t work all the time, nor should they.  I’ll let smarter people than me argue about hops and if the industry is leaning on them too much.  I’ll just keep enjoying the beers that are made with this lovely little flower, which includes just about every beer out there.

And Mike?  Yeah…beat you to it, buddy.


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