Friday, June 4, 2010
Bill was gracious enough to let a scheduling conflict prevent him from attending Hopworks' bottle release party for Rise Up Red, their GABF gold-medal winning red ale, and deputized me to take his place. This is the third seasonal offered in bottles from HUB, preceded by Secession Black Ale and Ace of Spades. Christian outlined HUB's seasonal release strategy as alternating between sessionable offerings and higher alcohol beers. There was no mention of the recent imperial red, but it sounds like we'll see bottlings of a barley wine and the Abominable winter ale.
Rise Up Red is a solid NW Red; it's not overly malty, letting the bitterness of the hops shine through. I had the cask version today and was blown away by the citrus nose, something I wasn't getting from the bottle and CO2 pours.
Christian gave one the most comprehensive brewery tours I've been on; it was a perfect blend of brewing science and his passion for the craft. Beyond Christian’s animated tour-guiding, the two highlights of the tour were: A) Standing in the cooler getting pours from a pigtail while freezing my ass off, and B) Snuffing crushed Amarillo hop flowers to illustrate how much resin is lost in the pelletizing process. Given Christian’s attention to maintaining a low carbon footprint, I wondered aloud if there was any benefit in shipping the condensed hops: The obvious answer was that weight has more to do with MPG than volume, and the main benefit of pellets is shelf-life. He also brought up that the only organic hops are grown in New Zealand and Germany, and that to brew a truly organic beer would result in a ridiculous carbon footprint.
Another highlight was meeting HUB’s graphic designer, Astrogirl, who was also on hand at the release party. She is the creative genius behind the Hopworks identity (see Beervana’s excellent dissection here).
Thanks to Christian for being a gracious host and putting up with my less-than-intelligent questions. The delay in getting this post to press is entirely my fault (I’ll still find a way to blame my children for it).