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The Beer Reporter Sounds Off On Beer !
Festival Review: Rock Hops
Chris Marchio - sounds off on beer!
On August 11th, I had the pleasure of attending a beautiful day of craft
beer and music at the Rock Hops Craft Beer & Music Festival. The day
was a tribute to a beer geeks “drink of choice” and combined with good
ole’ rock and roll was certainly a party.
Considering how much planning and organization goes into an event like
this, dealing with permits and regulations, I feltthe festival went off
without a hitch. The highlight for me was the beer tasting, which sampled
over fifty varieties from breweries all over the country. It was set up in a
hockey arena with individual booths with taps and friendly servers.
Having this much of a variety of draft beer was a treat because most of
these beers are not typically served on tap. After I did my rounds, I was
stumbling a bit and figured I would plant myself near my favorite beer at
the event, Hop 15, from Port Brewing. I had only had this on tap once
before and it is in a whole other league than its bottled brother, which
tends to be hazy in color. On tap, it was as clean as could be. It is an
unfiltered monster at 10 % ABV, fifteen varieties of hops, and is
balanced enough so hop heads can think they died and gone to
heaven. The final product has strong floral, citrus notes, which are
followed by extreme bitterness and the slight boozy after taste. I hung
out by the keg, where the serving woman was more than happy to meet
my hop fix. I am proud to say I got the last cup available at the last
minute of the tasting!
The sheer variety was enough to suit any and all palates at the tasting.
Other beers that stood out were the Weyerbacher Last Chance IPA,
which is a developing a solid reputation among the “hoppy” crowd. The
Dominion Hop Mountain was a clean, solid pale ale that is more
accessible to the common beer drinker. It still had a complex hop flavor
and aroma, but was more golden in color and lighter in taste.
Sixpoint is a rapidly expanding Brooklyn based brewery (say that five
times fast) for a reason. They produce a wide variety of beers to cover
all the seasons and all different palates. At Rock Hops, they had their
favorite brew of my mine, Resin, on tap. Weighing in at 103 IBU’s, it’s a
clean, bitter, refreshing beer that gets the job done. Of all the beers
available, Resin and Hop 15 were at the top of the list for me.
Stepping out of the IPA genre, Victory’s Saison de Buff was another
head spinner. Typically, saison’s are lighter in color and more of a
session beer, but leave it to Dogfish, Victory, and Stone to change the
rules. Being a collaboration, the 1st of its kind, the brew uses
uncommon ingredients such as parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. It
was a refreshing change of pace after a thick film of hop resin had
already coated my tongue. This is also a beer not usually served on tap
so, that made it that much smoother and better.
To round out of the beer tasting, I enjoyed Green Flash Brewing’s West
Coast IPA, which states that it highlight’s the Amarillo hop strain. I can’t
stress it enough… these beers are almost never on tap! Making it an
entirely different drinking experience. It was a well rounded, red &
copper colored beer that was not too bitter, but just bitter enough.
Amarillo has an earthy, almost spicy aroma too it, similar to Simcoe, but
less piney. Having beer highlight individual hop strains seems to be the
future of craft beer, especially when done right.
After the tasting, everyone was in good spirits and had a good buzz on
for the rest of music that was going into the night. Dark Star Orchestra
threw down one hell of a set, leaving all the deadheads happy. The
event was a success and I hope there are many more events like this to
bring people who appreciate good beer and music together, especially
at the 2nd annual Rock Hops.
"The Beer Reporter"
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