29 August 2012

Two Bitter Beers

As I grumble and sweat through yet another blistering Memphis summer that never seems to end (the discomfort is a small but annoying price to pay for all the delicious fresh local fruits and vegetables), I find myself turning to beverages other than wine. The simple unsweetened ice tea is welcome at lunch. For dinner, I might want something simpler, more refreshing, and in a smaller bottle. And thus I remember that I've been neglecting beer for a while.

I love bitter beer, and really love something full of hops that bites back at you. As I was putting together the mixed six pack with the recent bottles of cider, I grabbed a couple of hoppy brews to try at a later date. Even though you're occasionally not getting the best deal, those "build your own six pack" kits are wonderful for trying a wide variety of beers over the course of a week, and with new bottles showing up all the time, there's always something interesting waiting for you.

O'Fallon Hemp Hop Rye Amber Ale
O'Fallon, Missouri
5.5% abv.

Slightly musty, buttery aroma with a great bitter rye flavor. Light copper color and very low carbonation . A nutty, sticky finish that stays with you for a while. The brewery is located on the western outskirts of St. Louis and has had some financial struggles recently before being acquired by a former Anheuser-Busch marketing executive.

Yazoo Brewmaster's Series Hop Project
Nashville, Tennessee
6% abv.

There's a citrus note of candied orange peel along with a strong bitter mouthfeel. Underneath some of the rich malts shine through, but the dominant sensation is a lip-puckering bitterness you get from a very strong IPA. Each batch of the Hop Project is different as they try out different combinations of hops. This is batch #66, made from a "blend of Cascade, Magnum, CTZ, and a proprietary blend from Hopunion called Zythos".

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