Sunday, January 20, 2013

554. Yazoo Hop Project Ale

This beer tastes like victory. I won this six-pack from my friend Bill after we bet on the 2010 Oregon/Tennessee game, which the Ducks won 48-13 in Knoxville. Yes, it has taken a while to pay off this bet. The other interesting caveat of the bet: we determined that pitting Oregon beer against Tennessee beer offered an unfair advantage to Bill, so if I lost he agreed to let me pay him with Ohio beer—both of us agreed that was a more evenly balanced bet. Plus, getting a six-pack of Black Butte Porter would be rough in either Dayton or Knoxville. This is not our first time trying Yazoo beers, although this six-pack is certainly fresher than the last ones we tried. Thus, as we surmised, our drinking experience was much more enjoyable this time around. Oh, and Yazoo Brewing Company is in Nashville, TN. This is also our first beer from Tennessee, which somehow I find shocking.

Hop Project IPA pours a dull luxurious copper with a thick mousse-y white head that laces the glass. In the nose we found caramel, spicy hoppiness—there was mostly spice, but behind that there was a bit of pine—and a bit of bright creaminess. I initially suspected Centennial—the nose has that slight sour tang of Centennial—but there is little to no citrus in the body, and instead comes across more like Chinook or Columbus. Flavors follow the nose quite closely, although there is a good amount of hop bitterness throughout the profile of the beer. Thus, it started out with soft bread dough on the malt side and lighter hop bitterness in the front that gave way to a spicy more aggressive bitterness in the middle, which carried on into the finish. The middle was also malty, with a rounded malt character consisting of caramel and candy with a touch of creaminess. There is a slight shift towards pine in the finish, and an enjoyable lingering bitterness. Carbonation is medium and helps build a rounded, creamier mouthfeel. The body might be a bit sticky, specifically the middle, but the bitter finish is nice, even if it is a tad sharp. We had a pint of this in Knoxville before picking up our winning six-pack, and it is even better on tap than out of the bottle. There is one downside I feel compelled to mention: I love the idea of being able to look up the specific hop blend for the different batches, but as you can see from the above picture, the bottled-on date isn’t as legible as it needs to be to be able to determine the date it was bottled (although, ahem, there might be a problem with this as well—see below). Such a nefarious foil to an otherwise masterful plan! And that was the best one in the six-pack.

From the six-pack holder: “In the spirit of experimentation, every batch of out Hop Project IPA is brewed with a different blend of spicy, citrusy hops. It’s a hophead’s dream, a super hoppy beer that never gets boring! To see what hops we used in this batch, check the bottled-on date and visit our blog,”

I couldn’t find the hop listings for different batches on either their website or their blog, but since the bottled on date was also illegible, this merely makes it the perfect storm of obfuscation. I guess it is an awesome idea only until someone tries to look up any of the information. Sorry for the snark, but I was disappointed. I sent them an e-mail regarding this, but I have yet to hear back.

ABV: 5.7%
IBU: 75 - ??? (and yes, it seriously says that on the website)


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