Today we were given a “Hazy Flight”, as you can clearly see from the picture. The primary objective was to identify if the beer had been dry hopped (yes or no). Wes explained that dry hopping gives the beer a certain “powdery character” – he said he really didn’t have any other way to describe it. The second objective was to rank the beers in terms of alcohol content (ABV%). Seems easy enough, right???
Number 1: This beer was … wait for it … hazy with a slightly white tint to the haze. I got citrus, peaches, nectarines and orange on the nose. It tasted of nectarine, stone fruits, and lemon, with a very light bitterness. I thought I could detect the “powdery” mouthfeel so I guessed this was dry hopped. I guessed this had the lowest ABV. I was right on both counts. This beer was My Stupid Heart which is a pale ale with far more taste than it has any right to have at 3.2% ABV. A perfect beer for responsible drinking on the patio on a hot summer day.
Number 2: This beer was golden yellow with a light haze. I tasted caramel and peach, and thought I detected hints of phenols. I didn’t get any hint of powder, so I guessed this wasn’t dry hopped. I thought it was relatively high in alcohol, so I put it second from the top. My first guess was correct (not dry hopped) but the second guess was wrong. This was Kashmir which is a Norwegian Pale Ale with 4.5% ABV. By the way, I was wrong about the phenols, but this is brewed with a distinctive yeast strain that creates a somewhat similar taste. So, close…
Number 3: This beer had a light yellow haze. The nose was bright with notes of orange and peach. It tasted of orange, peach and stone fruit with a full mouthfeel and mild bitterness. I definitely got the powdery taste, so I guessed this one was also dry hopped. I thought this was relatively high alcohol so I guessed it had the highest ABV%. I was correct about dry hopping (it was) and close on the alcohol. It was the second highest, but the top two were very close. This was Walkin’ On Sunshine, one of the regular beers at Brew Revolution.
Number 4: This beer had a light yellow haze. The nose was also very bright with lots of nectarine. I tasted stone and tropical fruit with a lovely full mouthfeel. I guessed this was dry hopped, but I thought it had the least dry hopping. I also guessed it was a bit lighter in terms of alcohol, and guessed it had the second lowest ABV%. I was right on the dry hopping (it was) but completely misjudged the degree of dry hopping. This beer had the highest dry hopping, and was in fact the only one that still had “hop burn”. Not sure how I missed that. And it also had the highest ABV. Oh well.
I managed to correctly identify all the dry hopped beers (by a whisker) but was so-so on the alcohol estimation. As always, I clearly need more practice.