Sunday, November 21, 2010

430. Caldera Hopportunity Knocks

Thanksgiving week means travel, food, and beer. And while it doesn’t always follow in that order, today it did. Since we were headed to Seattle for the illustrious event, that 6 a.m. flight got everything off on the right foot. And by right, I mean terrible. But all was uphill after that—right off the plane, we headed to Central Market to stock up on food, and, more importantly, beer. Today’s beer was recommended by a random stranger who saw us reading the back of the bottle and said “That beer rules. I’m grabbing one for myself.” Who can say no to that? After all, when Hopportunity Knocks, we’re listening. Caldera Brewing Company is located in Ashland, OR. This beer is part of Caldera’s Kettle Series, which is a limited small batch series of seasonal releases.

Hopportunity Knocks pours a rich hazy dark caramel; there’s a bit of copper to it as well, via the browns in the caramel, but it is more caramel than copper. The head is creamy, eggshell, and generously laces the glass. Aromas are an abundant caramel mixed with hops—the nose alone tells me we are back in the Northwest—we’ve got bread and caramel malt with some creaminess mixed with pine and resin hop aromas. I’d say the nose has almost a chewy component to it, but that would seem slightly oxymoronic. Flavors start dry and bready, but also with a fair amount of caramel flavor, although not as much as the nose might suggest; caramel sweetness and hop bitterness come into play in the middle—big hop bitterness—although some of the sweetness is mitigated by the drying character of the hop bitterness. The finish is spicy and dry biscuit with a lingering bitterness that is lightly chalky. Hopportunity Knocks has a creamy rounded mouthfeel; sure, there is big bitterness, but as a whole it is very drinkable. The carbonation is medium with a fairly creamy component to it. Delicious, and very Northwest. When we first started drinking it, the slight hop sourness in the finish was the tip-off that Centennial hops made up a good portion (if not all) of the hop bill—it reminded me of Bell’s Two Hearted—but as the beer warmeth, the richer malt and creaminess in the carbonation cover this over a bit. Nonetheless, a solid beer. It’s good to be home.

From the bottle: “When hopportunity knock, answer it. This ale is Caldera’s rendition of answering the Pacific Northwest calling for a @#!& pile of Centennial hops with a big beer to back it up. Don’t get left out in the cold, open up and fill the void within you...If ever in Ashland, Oregon, come by and check out the Caldera Tap House, located at 31 Water Street.”

ABV: 6.8%


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