Fresh Hop 2008 - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
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Ratings: 5 | Reviews: 5 | Display Reviews Only:
4.7/5 rDev +4%
Shiny pumpkin with butternut borders. A lack of hop particles leads me to look inside the growler for the single hop cone that has been added in years past. Nothing in there but beer. The lid is a masterpiece. It's the color of pearls bathed in soft orange light and is astoundingly sticky. The lace is fine and delicate in spots, thick and chunky in others.
Anyone who loves the aroma of Cascade hop cones turned into beer will love what Fresh Hop 2008 smells like. I must have had a reason to give the 2007 version (also Cascade) a less than perfect score, but this one earns it with ease. Each sniff results in a tremendous amount of fresh grapefruit, juicy orange, ganja and that funky cheesiness that I always thought was due to aged Cascade. Here's hoping hops dominate malt just as completely on the palate.
First impression: FH 2008 isn't quite as hoppy as FH 2007 and is nowhere near as hoppy as the hoppiest beer in the history of craft beer, FH 2006. It's still fantastic and makes me glad to have made the trip to Town Hall following Darkness Day. It's highly doubtful that two weeks in the growler would have blunted the resinous much at all, so maybe Hoops just decided to back off a little this year.
Like all great single-hopped APAs/IPAs from Town Hall (and there have been many), the focus is squarely on the flavor and bitterness of the hop in question. That might sound painfully obvious, but if it's so easily accomplished, then why can't more than a small handful of brewers create beer this juicy, this delicious, this compulsively drinkable?
The amount of malt is perfect for the style, and the flavor of that malt is slanted heavily toward pale (with a nod toward caramel). As in the aroma, the spotlight is fully occupied by massive amounts of humulus lupulus. Other than ripe apricots, the flavor pretty much mirrors the description of the nose. Why can't other brewers wring this much depth and complexity out of a single hop?
Admittedly, FH 2006 was geared toward only the most hopheaded among us. FH 2008, on the other hand, is surprisingly balanced. The malt sugar bottom end of sugar cookies and caramel (think Twix candy bar) provides plenty of support for the hop juicy top end. Now that the second pint is well underway, my tongue is alpha acid tingly, but is in no danger of being completely obliterated.
For some reason, the mouthfeel doesn't push that 'perfect score' button that we all have. The beer is at least medium-full, is as smooth as silk, is lightly hop oily, and is pretty close to ideally carbonated. No major flaws.. yet... not quite flawless.
Fresh Hop 2008 is another amazingly hoppy, astoudingly well-crafted American pale ale from one of America's best brewers (the hugely talented Mike Hoops). It may not have the in-your-face, merciless, unrelenting lupulin attack of 2006, but it just might be the most drinkable version yet. I plan to do everything humanly possible to keep my Fresh Hop streak alive. Looking toward 2009, Columbus or Simcoe would be great.
10-26-2008 16:03:40 | More by BuckeyeNation
4.68/5 rDev +3.5%
I don't know if you know, but I loves me the Fresh Hop!
This year, again 200 pounds, Centennial, I was told. I might be wrong.
Brilliant golden amber hue, huge head, enormous creamy froth.
Pithy piney aroma...and, yes, hopdragon, cat piss, there ya go...tropical fruit, pineapple, grapefruit, mango & more...
Tasting it...fat smnack of hop bitterness. Nothing but. Don't need to go too deep, this is a minor-malt, lean bodied, highly hopped, big smacking bruising bitter brew.
You've got to want that attack, and have to desire it's effect. Bitter flavor dominates, dry aspirin-y feel takes control,..and, man, I love it!
It's big, and it's bold, it's fruity and fresh, it's bitter and brash, and yes, it still tastes like love.
10-14-2008 09:18:04 | More by feloniousmonk
4.5/5 rDev -0.4%
Copper body. Slightly hazed. Thin dirty white head. Retention is quite good as is the lacing. The aroma couldn't be better. Literally smells like hand picked cascades. Fresh, vibrant and green. With big whiffs of pungent grapefruit rind and lemon zest. The palate comes through with some great juicy hop flavors and a near scathing bitterness. The main player is lemon. Lemon zest, lemon rind, etc.... It comes through bitter and refreshing. I also get some of that requisite grapefruit pulp from the cascades. And green, grassy notes as well. The bitterness lingers a long time. There's some body and some malt base to this beer as well. Without out it, this beer would really be out of whack. The caramel and toffee like tones provide just enough of a counterpoint to the 200lbs of wet cascades. As usual with Town Hall brews, the body, viscosity and carbonation are spot on.
11-01-2008 03:15:30 | More by Bighuge
4.5/5 rDev -0.4%
One of my most anticipated beers of the year. I love finding that wonderful hop cone in the growler. This year the hop is cascade and it works nicely.
To me this feels like a double ESB (minus the mineral laden water)...I get a lot of spicy hop aromas and flavor...there is some unsweetened grapefruit/orange peel bitterness to this but even more it lends a spicier feel that I love in ESB's...
I am also impressed with the body and balance to this beer. While the hop impressions are highlighted, the malt load is equally impressive...not so much in that it jumps out at you, but more so because it complements the hops....a mild sugary feel to the malt...along with some toffee.
Good strong dry bitterness on the finish...worth the wait...very well done...
*This has been in the growler for about three weeks. Thanks to BigHuge for securing this for me but we weren't able to close the four hours between us until last weekend. They do a nice job with their growlers at TH and this one has abundant carbonation. I'm guessing it could have sat for another month no problem.
11-20-2008 05:40:24 | More by ZAP
4.2/5 rDev -7.1%
I'm assuming that this was the one on tap as of 10-24-08...
Pours like a regular IPA. Dark hazy amber, medium head that's fairly retentive. Nice but nothing spectacular.
Smells pretty spectacular, though. GREEN. The Greenest smell beer I have ever come across. Like a marijuana-grapefruit-catnip forest right after a rainstorm. Living green. Grass stain green. There might be a little dirt and some chunks of bugs in there but you just do not give a shit because the green is blowing your ass away. No malt, but none's necessary. The hops balance themselves.
While the odor was pleasantly hoppy, the flavor is a just a bit too intense. The massive greenness is still there, along with every last flavor of cascade you can imagine. Starts off piney, gets citrus with heavy nodes of grapefruit There's no malt balance, though, and that's actually needed here, since for whatever reason the balance in the nose just ain't following over to the flavor.
10-28-2008 15:30:01 | More by mynie
Fresh Hop 2008 from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
- out of 100 based on 5 ratings.