The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar 2014 Day #4 – Hop Blanc White IPA

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The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar 2014 Day #4

Hop Blanc White IPA – Peak Organic Brewing Co.,6.4% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Portland, ME, USA)

from their website:

“Hop Blanc is a heavenly White IPA. Local wheat and Belgian yeast give this beer a soft mouthfeel, while Centennial, Simcoe and Citra hops provide a bright rush of tropical and citrus flavors up front. This beer is the cheery, angelic cousin of the more sinister Hop Noir.”

  • Style: (coriander) Spiced White IPA
  • Taste: Smooth fizzy peach-wheat coriander soft-hopped
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes way

Visual: Pours almost clear golden yellow with a smallish head, a thin layer of retention, lots of fast steady streams.

Nose: clean fruity peach with light sourness. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: ultra-crisp, cream-fizzy

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) peach, wheat malts, yeasty

Finish: coriander, soft subtle bitter hops, lingering light hopped bitter

Summary: Really not that hoppy for an IPA. Fabulous fruity peach-wheat profile, easy to enjoy and organic to boot. Simple yet solid.

Root Beer Liqueur Round 1 – Phillips VS Blackmaker Liqueur

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Here we go! I love root beer. Even as an adult, I can’t enough of the stuff. But I’ve since graduated from the HFCS A&Ws, Barqs, Mugs, and onto the finer Virgil’s, Boylans, and various Orca beverages. Heck I even brewed a few bottles of my own (without much success due to not having sassafras). Anyhow I’m excited to get started as this head-to-head contains two things I love dearly – ROOT BEER + ALCOHOL!

1) Root Beer Schnapps – Phillips Distilling Co.,15% ABV – 750ml, (Princeton, MN, USA), $21.50 CAD @ BCLiquor Stores

  • Ingredients: water, sugar, alcohol, natural flavour, citric acid, glycerin, colour
  • technically a “liqueur” since it has sugar added
  • cheap bottle, plastic cap, gaudy sticker label
  • the recipe on the back says it all:

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2) Root Beer Liqueur – Blackmaker Brand – White Rock Distilleries, 35% ABV – 750ml, (Lewiston, MN, USA), $29 (w/ 10% off) CAD @ Sherbrooke (EDM)

  • HEAVY duty bottle, coat of arms on the back, classy artistic label
  • ingredients include: ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and sweet birch (via BevMo)

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Criteria

Nose: Phillips has sarsaparilla/caramel that you typically find in sodas; alcohol detection surfaces in the mid to finish. Light-medium pungency, clean, not offensive. Blackmaker (BM), wow huge burnt caramel/toffee, cinnamon, clove, almost nutty, with birch poking through in the finish. Med-high tingly alcohol nasal burn, bearable. Phillips = stereotypical root beer soda, BM = naturally spiced caramel. Phillips is much more approachable, BM is way more complex.

Taste & Texture: 1st sip of Phillips, big sugar rush… Lighter viscosity, compounding sugars each subsequent sip. Tastes pretty much as it smells, but cut abruptly by the cloying sweetness and alcoholic warmth. Definitely not a sipper. BM is in an entirely different class. Thicker but not syrupy, the flavours come in alternating waves of spices and alcoholic warmth. Lots of spices here including cinnamon, clove, birch, ginger, licorice/anise, caramel, fading out with lots of alcoholic throat warmth. The sweetness is well masked by the torrent of spices and high ABV but you can feel the sugars tingling on your teeth. Not good if you’re prone to cavities. Still, perceived sweetness is much, much lower than Phillips. Phillips = light root beer+SUGAR, BM = spices+alcohol HEAT

Final Notes:

  • Blackmaker for sophisticated, flavourful cocktails
  • Phillips for “Root Beer Barreling” (shot dropped into beer, chug), batch cocktails

WINNER = Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur