Friday, September 25, 2009

87. Port Brewing Hop-15 Ale

Our first beer from Port Brewing in San Marcos, CA. Port Brewing opened in May 2006 after Pizza Port acquired the old Stone Brewing facility in San Marcos.

Hop-15 is a hazy golden orange-brown with a creamy off-white head; the malt nose is bready accompanied by citrus hop aroma. Starting creamy sweet but sharp, Hop-15 quickly moves into a spicy and resiny hop bitterness—the creaminess doesn’t get much chance to hang around, as the large and aggressive hop quickly profile overwhelms it—before ending with a clean malt profile that links a lingering dry hop bitterness with some slightly astringent flavors. Mouthfeel is thick, heavy, and sharp, with a decent carbonation bite in the middle-to-end of the beer; it is not a very rounded or smooth beer—while not unpleasant, it is aggressive across the palate. The malt profile comes across as more English than American; there is a lighter sweetness, more breadiness than caramel, and a dryer finish. Small amounts of alcohol warmth also emerge as the beer warms. There is a decent amount of tongue curling from the bitterness, but we both found that appealing—while Hop-15 is a bit unrefined, and we could easily see this scaring away novice drinkers, the hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma make it well worth revisiting, especially if you like your hops ....

From the bottle: “Our beer oozes all the hop goodness you would expect to find in a double IPA. In your nose, you will experience a citrus hop quality which is balanced by a slight malt sweetness. The essence of a great double IPA is hops and as such the beer finishes with a pronounced spicy hop bite. Thankfully, for all of us hop-heads, we have decided to brew this beer more that once a year. Look for Hop-15 to make an appearance from time to time when space permits us to brew this, one of our favorite ales.”

From the Port website: “Welcome to San Diego—Home to Hop Heads on every corner and THE best place in the world to live if you enjoy Humulus Lupulus and the smell of a well hopped beer. This is Southern California, it’s the place where Blind Pig started the Imperial IPA revolution and San Diego Brewers have continued to be at the forefront of its’ evolution.

Today, fans of Double IPA come from every corner of the globe in search of many of the world’s best and most incredibly well hopped beers. It’s no secret that you can find many of them at Pizza Port as well. Like you, we love these beers and mostly we enjoy the happiness they bring us. So we brew all kinds of them. Beers like Hop 15, Lou P Lin, Hop Suey, Poor Man's IPA and Doheny Double IPA. We even buy kegs of other Double IPA beers because we love hops so much. Since the very first batch of Swamis IPA hit the taps back in 1993, we have had a love affair with these resinous green cones. They inspired us to brew Hop 15 and since that original batch was tapped, this has always been one seriously hoppy beer.

First brewed in 2002 to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Pizza Port in Solana Beach, Hop 15 was imagined and designed by Tomme Arthur and Jeff Bagby. It was to be a celebration of 15 years of ‘Good Beer Brings Good Cheer.’ So there are 15 different hop varieties that are added to the beer every 15 minutes. Over the years, Hop 15 has racked up numerous accolades. It has won two silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival. It also was named Alpha King in 2004 and received a first place award at the Bistro Double IPA beer festival in Hayward, CA. Hop 15 remains won of the stickiest most resinous beers we have ever tasted and for that, we are thankful it is on tap at our brewery each and every day.”

ABV: 10%
Malts: Two Row and English Light Crystal
Hops: We use 15 Different Varieties on a strictly don’t ask don't tell policy
OG: 1.086
FG: 1.014


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