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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Bust Out Your Hop Czar

Back in the summer, I picked up a couple bottles of BridgePort's Hop Czar. Generally speaking, you shouldn't age hoppy beers. Hops contribute evanescent flavor and aroma, and like fresh fruit are best sampled at their peak. Hop Czar, though, was one of those big beers I found extreme to the point of distortion, particularly the hops. I decided to gamble and see what six months would do. Turns out, a good throw of the dice.

Everything has come into balance--and focus. It's a beautiful beer, bronze and frothy, and the aroma is spicy and citrusy, with clearer, more articulated notes. Six months ago, it was a muddle. Chinook hops have both a citrusy note but also a wonderful earthy, spicy quality; in the greener version these were lost in the din of bitterness. The alcohol, too, was a little overpowering. Now they're all hitting at the right level. If you've put away a bottle, I'd consider breaking it out. Maybe for the Super Bowl?

(BTW ... go Steelers.)

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