Monday, August 3, 2015

In Praise of Bitterness

For some reason I seem to have garnered a reputation for not being a hop-head. I am really not sure where this perception has come from, oh that's right, I don't rave on and on about the latest, greatest method for getting hop flavour and aroma into my beer, such as these ridiculous hop tea bags which Arthur highlighted on Stonch's blog today. I am also not an enthusiastic drinker of IPA in general, there are a couple that I like and drink fairly regularly, but most IPAs leave me cold. I guess that means I just don't like hops.

Well, that's just bollocks. Sure I might not cream my undies for beers hopped with Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo, et al, but I love a good hoppy beer that uses hops like Goldings, Saaz, or Tettnang. I just don't particularly enjoy the cats piss, grapefruit, and pine resin thing of many an American hop.

One thing though that I do like, regardless of the heritage of the hop, is bitterness. I like a bracing, almost tannic bite that cuts through the sweetness of the malt. Perhaps this is one reason why I love a properly made Czech pilsner as the Saaz delivers a firm, dry bite, or a good Goldings dripping best bitter. Sure there is hop flavour and aroma in mix, but the bitterness is up front and central to the beer, and I love bitter beers.

In recent years several beers that I used to enjoy have been 're-formulated', a word that strikes fear into my heart, and become 'smoother', less bitter, more approachable. Invariably, to my taste, they have became blander, less interesting, and quite frankly disappointing, leaving me longing for a good dose of bitterness to cleanse my palate in preparation for the next mouthful.

1 comment:

  1. New Mexicans love their hops. My friends are confused at the term "Extra Special Bitter (ESB)." I think the term "Bitter" throws them off.


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