Sometimes it takes a beer like this to make me want to learn more about, well…. beer. I picked this one up at the same time as the Rust Belt Blast Furnace Blonde and tried it on a similar day: springtime, warm and sunny, while watching the Reds lose. I was intrigued by this beer because it claimed to be brewed with the four hops varietals that begin with the letter C: Columbus, Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook. What this actually means in terms of flavor profile and scent was and still is lost on me. At the time, all I knew was that it sounded like a cool gimmick and it, plus the fact it was only $3.75, led me to trying it.
I wish I could expound upon all the intricacies that each hop variety brings to this beer. It pains me to say that I have no knowledge of the different scents each hop adds. It is equally embarrassing for me to tell you that this review won’t point out whether this beer succeeds at offering flavor glimpses of all four hops. So, let’s you and I make a deal. I’ll tell you of my experience and the flavors I found, and you guys school me on what exactly I was tasting. I hope that works out for the both of us.
Off the bat, this APA tastes quite a bit different from other hops-heavy beers I have had so far in my tasting life. The first flavor that I noticed was more earthy and spiced than anything. I couldn’t put my finger on what spice it reminded me of – maybe something like a cross between licorice and cloves, with some good old American dirt thrown in for good measure. After that first unexpected taste, I remembered reading in beerbecue‘s Hop-epedia project about how different hops add different scents, so I gave it a sniff. Surprisingly, this beer didn’t smell like anything. Literally, I could only smell the scent of wet glass…weird.
After that, I concentrated my efforts on identifying more flavors in this beer. I noticed next the strong flavor of pine-y wood on the back end, as the beer’s other flavors dissipated into nothingness. While I still don’t know exactly what might give a beer this taste, I know it’s one of my favorite beer flavors, so I spent the next several minutes reveling in the enjoyment I found there. As I continued to taste that lusciousness I began to realize that in the middle of the flavor story I was getting some pretty intense spiciness, and I liked it! I figured that flavor was probably coming from one of the strains of hops, and I really hope someone who reads our little upstart blog can tell me what kind it is because I’d love to be able to actively seek out other beers with that experience in it!
I really liked this beer, because it gave me a new experience in taste, and it has challenged me to learn a bit more about what makes a beer into a delicious beer that I like. So, please ladies and gentlemen, help me out with this one! What might give a beer the earthy, spiced flavors up front, the spiciness in the middle, and the woody pine at the end? Thank you in advance, and thank you so much for embracing our stumbling, flat-footed entrance into the beer blogging world here at The Beer Revue!