As Irish readers will know all too well by this stage, getting one's hands on something fresh and hoppy is not an easy (or cheap) feat. Irish brewers at the moment seem tentative with their hop additions, while the American imports suffer the effects of being imported all the way from America.
So, when Sierra Nevada's Hoptimum reached our shores in the past few weeks, I was excited - not only to see that it was relatively fresh, but to see that we're getting some of the more 'special' beers from this brewer. I was unsure of spending my money on a single bottle though, before a great article from the Beermack convinced me. I actually tried this over two weeks ago, before my holiday, but planning got in the way of posting, so here are the notes.
No, really. It smells bitter, pithy, zesty, piney and a bit oily, with dots of juicy citrus and spice notes here and there. Below the pungent stuff there's a cool, herbal quality, while the whole hop profile is nailed down by some sweet honey, caramel and candied pineapple notes. Give it time and it will start to smell like a Christmas tree. As expected, the taste allows more of the warmth of the beer to come through, creating a smooth and seamless transition from bitter fruit to nettle and mint to warm syrupy orange toffee.
Intense and satisfying, Hoptimum is a real treat. It's still listed on Drinkstore, and I know Bradley's were due a second delivery of it (though that may have passed while I was away), so I urge you to try it if you can. Well worth the fiver.