Ever since one Mark Nixon left Trouble Brewing to head out Howth Way to take over the brewhouse at young brewery, Hope Beer, the man has been relentless in his creation of special beers. As someone who has followed this young man’s progress very closely, & seen him become one of the elite group of young head brewers in Ireland who are at the vanguard of Irish craft beer. And experiencing the creations from these young, hungry brewers has been a priviledge, as has picking their brains. As Summer 2017 starts creeping way, Hope have staked a claim to ‘beer of the Summer’. And they’re one hand on the flag with it.
For the last number of Summers, my ritual has been to do a stock-up on Brooklyn Summer Ale. I have considered it quintessential for Summer supping. The Cascade/Amarillo combo in the beer areso well in tune with each other that they scream Summer. That was until Hope decided to brew, bottle/keg a pineapple tropical island fruit bomb of a session IPA.
Sure, last year at the RDS kegged up a pineapple IPA bomb with Yellowbelly for serving, but it never went beyond the keg. And with the series of special beers, Hope have been racheting up the level of impressiveness non-stop. And that’s down to a head brewer who isn’t about quirks, but about pushing the boundaries around maximising the flavour extraction from his raw materials.
You crack open the Summer Session IPA, & straight away it’s tropical island territory. Full on hardcore Moana-in-a-bottle. And its incredible. We’re not talking chewy-fruit-salad sweets, we’re talking sweet finned fruit salad. Pouring in the glass, it’s a fantastic pineapple juice colour. And that aroma just keeps on coming.
First taste is a crisp, with a lovely fruity bitter. And it has a creamy texture without that horrendous NEIPA uncooked-flour aftertaste, which I canonly attribute to the oats & the spelt in the malt bill. And its glorious in how it goes down. It’s one of those beers that just works as a sipper & a crusher, which is rare. As many beers today struggle to walk that line as well. What a beer!