Join me in my love of St. Louis beer.
Last January, I got the chance to sit down in the back offices of 4 Hands Brewing Company with owner Kevin Lemp. I had to promise not to write about all the secret plans I could clearly see written on whiteboards, in return for some current breaking beer news.
The news, I broke that day, was that one of my favorite locally brewed New England style IPA’s, Scale of Complexity was being added to the breweries year-round portfolio, but with a bit of a twist.
That May, and henceforth every 4 months, 4 Hands brewers will take a look at, and change the hops for the next batch of Scale of Complexity. They will be looking at what is called the hops terroir, or the set of all environmental factors that affect a crop’s phenotype, including unique environment contexts, farming practices, and a crop’s specific growth habitat. In other words, the hops’ character.
At that time, the Hops Terrior is from the southern hemisphere and featured hops from New Zealand, Galaxy, and Matoueka. Around September, the hop will change again. Right now all we know is that they will use an experimental hop from an “interesting growing region.”
The most second run, Experimental Hops was brewed with experimental hops HBC 344, HBC 522, and HBC 692 from the Hop Breeding Company. The result was a delicious, and sensuous hazy IPA with layers of grapefruit, mango and peach.
Now, it’s time for Citra, the third in the rotating series. This version is heavily dry-hopped with Pacific Northwest Citra resulting in a beer with lower bitterness, but massive aromas and flavors of grapefruit, lime, gooseberry, and passion fruit.
Now, admittedly, Experimental Hops has been my favorite of the three, but this beer will suit me just fine for the rest of this summer. Grapefruit dominates here. It’s a burst but then settles back nicely. The total absences of bitterness, is what makes this IPA so unique, that I’m actually wishing for just a bit.
I wish I had saved some EH, to do a side by side, so now I’m on the hunt. Enjoy.