Hoponius Union - Jack's Abby Brewing

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Hoponius UnionHoponius Union

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

2,283 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,283
Reviews: 341
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 8.45%
Wants: 349
Gots: 366 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Jack's Abby Brewing visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Lager |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mschofield on 08-07-2011

This lager harmoniously combines lager yeast fermentation and west coast IPA hops. Our India style Pale Lager is like a traditional IPA but with a twist - it’s fermented cold and aged for extended periods. A blend of classic American hops creates a huge tropical fruit and citrusy hop aroma. A dry finish accentuates the pleasant bitterness and hop profile. Hoponius Union uses locally grown dehulled spelt from MA.

65 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,283 | Reviews: 341
Photo of jlindros
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Armsby Abbey

Big creamy 1 finger head, lots of lacing, crystal clear pale yellow golden color.

Nose had fresh hops, resins, hops oils, bit musty, some fresh citrus fruit and grapefruit, almost no lager or malts.

Taste explodes with fresh citrus hops, grapefruit and tropical fruits, light hop resins and musty fresh hop oils, a bit oily, then some light lager fruits and light pale malts, some sweet toasty malts. Light sweet honey like flavor. The it gets very bitter and slightly astringent, the hops way overpower the lager flavors and gets a bit overly on the finish, dry and very bitter finish with lingering fresh hops and citrus, light pine as well, and has a weird sticky almost creamy feel.

Moth is med bodied, decent carb.

Overall good, great hop flavors but overpowers the nice lager underneath, and a weird finish as well as a bit astringent.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I was caught completely off guard in finding this beer. Thankfully the place I went to brings stuff over from the east side of the state. Really excited to try this one.

Nice citrus tones. Really smooth beer. Hops bring all the suave and none of the abrasive character. Love it. I would drink this all day and all night. Great beer.

Photo of Rifugium
3.46/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Reservoir, Waterbury, VT.

Clear golden pour, with a nice, thick, foamy cap of white head; nice retention and some patchy lacing on the glass. Aroma was very light, notes of herbal hops, and biscuity malt sweetness. The taste was mostly sweet up front, biscuity malts, toffee, fruit punch, giving way to toasted grains, and a lightly bitter, herbal hop finish. Light-medium body, moderate carbonation, pretty easily drinkable. Overall decent, especially for a lager, but still probably not something I'd go for again.

Photo of MasterSki
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to AutumnBeerLove for making the trek to pick up this growler. Served in a Surly Darkness glass.

A - A finger of white foam settles to a near-complete cap, thick collar, and stray splotches of lace. Transparent golden body.

S - Massive aromatic hops here - very floral, with orange blossoms, pine, faint herbs, and a faint chive note I sometimes get from Citra hops. Some nebulous sugary malts in the background.

T - Taste is a bit less sweet, with more pine and a more bread-heavy malt character. Plenty of pine and citrus hop flavor, with mid-level bitterness and a crisp, clean lager finish.

M - Pleasant moderate carbonation, medium body, smooth texture, and no alcohol presence. Dry finish with a bit of residual oily hop texture. Easy to drink in large quantities.

D - It's a slightly smaller Humulus Lager. I'd never heard of Jack's Abby but this beer is for real. We obliterated the growler in record time. I would order this all the time if it was local.

Photo of mdfb79
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 08/17/12 notes. Had this on tap at a bar right outside of Boston. Served in a pint glass.

a - Pours a clear amber color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks pretty good.

s - Smells of citrus hops, pine hops, fruity malts, floral hops, and light biscuit. Very nice and hoppy, almost like an IPA. Very nice nose.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, resin, pine hops, tropical fruits, grapefruit, fruity malts, floral hops, and light herbal notes. Even more fruit and hops than the nose; outstanding taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Light bitterness but not much at all. Very easy to drink; feel like I could definitely have a few of these.

o - Overall I thought this was a fantastic hoppy lager. I've been pretty impressed with their beers and this might be the best one I've had so far. Tons of hops and fruit in the nose and taste, and pretty easy to drink for 6.7% ABV. Would love to have it again.

Photo of smcolw
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, golden color. Clear. Excellent chunky lace from the modest head.

Fresh, but quite strong, grapefruit like hop smell. Very similar to a hoppy pale ale.

This is a very smooth lager with a strong hop bite, which takes this beer out of the style. Nevertheless, this is an exceptionally easy-to-drink beer. The aftertaste Is a long lasting bite of bittering hop. The body is rich for a lager, but the carbonation provides decent balance.

Photo of drabmuh
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Thorpe, at the time of this review, this is the #2 beer on the "Top Beers - Dortmunder / Export Lager" list on beeradvocate.com.

Beer is yellow with a mild haze, wispy white head, minimal lacing.

Aroma is quite hoppy, sweet, fruity hops, a mild yeast presence.

Beer is light in body and a little sweet, moderately bitter on the finish and quite hoppy in the midpalate. I really like this beer very good. I'd have a lot more of this if available to me.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Picco in Boston. Review from notes.

A: Served in a pint glass, the beer was orange in color with a small white head that formed a nice cap on top. Moderate lacing, but very sticky.

S: Nice and citrusy! Some orange, orange rind, a little bit of pine, and some floral hops.

T: Again, more citrus with more pine than in the aroma. Some grapefruit, orange, and orange rind with a bit of grassy hops as well. A little bit of pale lager malt

M: Medium bodied, extremely crisp and drinks very smooth like a lager. No sign of the abv whatsoever, could drink this beer all day long.

O: Loved it, very impressed. Had been hoping to try this beer for sometime and jumped at the chance when I saw it on tap and was not disappointed.

Photo of stakem
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into a snifter. The brew appears a clear orange with a finger of white frothy. Patchy legs of lace stick to the glass and the cap displays decent retaining powers.

The aroma is tropical with hop character. Somewhat herbal with pine, rind and pulp to zest of something like oranges or grapefruit. A mild inclsuion of supporting fruity alcohol.

The taste is surprisingly toasty with bready malt. Considering the aroma, I was expecting a hoppy assault right upfront but instead its quite grainy. Toffee mixes with sulfur and a bit of a cheesy hop flavor mixed with herbs towards the back.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is earthy herbal and cheesy with plenty of bitterness and a veggie hop flavoring. I would have this again if the opportunity presented itself.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is clear and golden hued with a small head that leaves sparse lacing on the tulip. Lots of fresh hop character in both the nose and taste. This drinks much more like an IPA than a German lager. And while this beer is tasty, it does lack the distinctive characteristics of a Dortmunder lager. The body is light and the finish is dry, offering a hint of lager yeast. Overall, a tasty brew. Easy to drink and flavorful, just don't expect an authentic example of the style. I would definitely have this again.

Photo of woodychandler
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The bottle backlog here at Chez Woody is not entirely of my doing. Sometimes, people bring me beer as though I need more and then I become overwhelmed by it all. This is one of those instances. The Great Bottle Eradication of 2014 continues in earnest and unabated!

From the bottle: "Jack's Abby Brewing's goal is to create truy remarkable beer that combines the strict standards of traditional German brewing with the innovative approach of American craft brewers. We specialize in lagers, which take longer to brew than ales but yield exceptionally rich flavors and smooth, crisp taste."; "All Jack's Abby lagers are unfiltered and unpasteurized. Sediment in the bottle is normal."; "Hoponius Union harmoniously combines lager yeast fermentation and West Coast IPA hops. Our India style Pale Lager is like a traditional IPA but with a twist - it's fermented cold and aged for long periods. A blend of classic American hops creates a huge tropical fruit and citrusy hop aroma. A dry finish accentuates the pleasant bitterness and hop profile. Hoponius Union uses locally sourced ingredients."

I made a solemn promise to The Old Lady last summer that if a beer in any way indicates that it is bottle-conditioned, I would treat it as gently as I would her. The fact that she would beat my ass within an inch of my life if I ever mistreated her notwithstanding, I went with a VERY gentle pour. I have said before, she is as tough as nails, which is part of the attraction for me. I got a brief skim of bone-white head across the top of the beer before it faded into mere wisps. Color was a sunshine-yellow (SRM = 4) with just the faintest of haze visible in the glass. I promise you, I was extremely gentle, but there may have been something in suspension. Nose smelled deeply of citrus-grapefruit rind hops. Wow! As a lifelong Pennsylvanian, I know the difficulty behind making a Lager and to make one that comes off with this level of hoppiness is just amazing. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium. The taste was all hops and for a hophead, that was just fine by me. I cannot say that I would have identified it as a lager of any stripe, but perhaps that is part of the mystique. I do know that the light, spritzy mouthfeel made it very easy to drink on a Summer day, where an AIPA might have been more to handle. The finish was extremely dry and I really had a tough time believing that this was a lager. I had put the remainder of what was left in the bottle back in the reefer to settle and when I went to pour some more into the glass, I noticed that the haze had cleared! Impressive. Warming, I got some of the honey notes that I always think of as characteristic of well-made lagers, but the hops continued to carry the day.

Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

Pours near clear early, then clouded by the last pour, fluffy and light eggshell head

Mild nose with a hint of hops

Hops up front here, with a hit of lime on the back of the throat. Aggressive hops all over this one. Crisp, citric, tasty and quite dry.

Well worth a try

Photo of yourefragile
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler shared by Thorpe.

Pours a clear golden amber with a thin white head, quickly fading to a thin collar and no lace. Clean, dry aroma with a subtle hop bite, mildly fruity, with light yeast. Medium thick body with soft carbonation and a bready, biscuit finish. Slight fruity sweetness from a strong hop bitterness. Not quite a real dortmunder, but an expectional lager/IPA hybrid. Really enjoyed this.

Photo of smakawhat
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle at Smoke & Barrel as part of the first DC bottle share/tasting. Sample pour into a large snifter glass. From notes.

A pale orange amber body, with faint very light tan off white bubbles. Minor head produced but quite thick bubbles for a collar that is left.

Nose is quite hop forward, and I guess expected. A good airy light citrus hop front, with a mild malt presence. Clean, surprisingly smells like a solid IPA. Kind of jarring but real impressive.

Palate hits with a thick pine resin, and a good mild sense of sweetness. Like a solid lager it finishes quite cleanly, almost like as if an IPA were missing something. Malt backbone seems to be missing a little but it's sort of something you don't seem to care about on this first sip. No sweetness or heat present either, or sugar rush.

Overall, a real memorable and impressive take on a style, worth trying again. Quite enjoyable would love to have more of this.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep golden clear body. Small head. Wisps and some lacing.

Smell - Pine hops. Musty. Faint grapefruit. Slight sweetness to the pale malt.

Taste - Brighter citrus, but still has a lot of pine and resin. Bitterness builds quickly, faster than the sweetness. Finishes dry and bitter.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy and medium carbonation. Moderately bitter.

Overall - Not as good as it warmed. Better cold. Good all around.

Photo of HopHead84
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

8/15/2013

Bottle from gn0sis, thanks! Poured into a snifter. The beer is burnished golden orange with two fingers of soapy white froth. Lots of lacing clings to the glass. The nose is clean with a pleasantly bright hop fruitiness that's dripping with tangerine, mango, passion fruit, and orange redolence. Warming brings out herbal and floral character with a touch of spiciness. Malt presents no sweetness and brings to mind saltine cracker and maybe a touch of biscuit. The flavor catches your attention immediately with a firm but gentle bitterness that's accompanied by orange pith and flesh, grapefruit, herbal and floral notes, and a light mango presence. There's less hop fruitiness in the flavor than in the nose, with the herbal and citrus pith being more dominant. The finish is clean, bitter, and quite dry, with a hint of alcohol. Excellent stuff. I'd drink this often if it were fresh and available around here.

Photo of biegaman
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hoponius Union has such a well polished golden tone it could fit in at Europe's most majestic cathedrals (probably museums too). It has a bright and angelic aura with pristine clarity, calm bubbles and a thin white head that appears to be soft as fleece. An immaculate appearance.

The effects of lagering are most appreciated in the mouthfeel; while this process removes a lot of the fruity esters that are by-products of fermentation, it's not always obvious from smell alone whether a beer is a lager or an ale. In this case it's even more difficult because of the abundance of hoppy citric and tropical fruit flavours and the fact that much of its 6.7% alcohol can be detected. The smart money would be on ale.

Of course, you'd be wrong. While this recipe uses the same zestful varieties of American hops as an IPA, it is in fact fermented at a cold temperature (as opposed to warm) and aged ("lagered") for an extended period. Why does this matter? Well, it has evidently led to a 'smoother' beer, one with a tighter and cleaner flavour profile (think of it as a song played with minimal distortion, or hearing that song through speakers that have minimal static).

Otherwise, however, I am inclined to say it doesn't matter much (after all, some people prefer loads of distortion). This beer offers much the same biscuity, lightly nutty maltiness and toasted bread flavours, as well as all the mango, grapefruit, lychee, and tangerine one could ask for in any hoppy beer. There's plenty of tree resin, bubblegum, and citric acidity too - IBUs aren't affected by lagering. It makes no difference to hops what temperature you ferment at.

Indeed, the only difference between Hoponius Union and a West-Coast IPA - aside from the fact that it's brewed in Massachusetts - is that it's been lagered. This offering only further reinforces my opinion that people (beer educators specifically) put far too much emphasis on the 'lager vs. ale' comparison; there's obviously so many more important factors that distinguish a beer.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with my brother.
Pours a fairly clear deep golden color with a decent sized creamy white head that dissipates rather quickly. Aromas of sweet bready malty with hint of spice and fruit with a light spicy earthy hop aroma to round it all out. The flavor holds a creamy bready malty taste with lots of spicy earthy hops to balance it out. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a slick almost sweet mouthfeel. Another great brew from Jack's, but not one I would seek out again.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap and served in a tumbler pint, the beer is a slightly hazed, steadily carbonated, copper-golden coloring with a low profile, thin, off-white filmy coating. Aromas of resiny hops, with basil and hemp characteristics, as well as a slight peppering. Flavors are hop forward, with that heavy pepper/basil combo blasting the tastebuds. Light toasted backbone supports the hops presence, and the beer is light bodied and smooth in mouth. Great cling along the glass as you go. The aftertaste is light and bitter, with a slight floral highlight. Resiny, bitter finish, with the clean feel typical of a lager. Very tasty.

Photo of plaid75
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Prohibition Pig, Waterbury, VT.

Poured a shiny brass hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured piney, resinous hops and a grainy pale malt.

The taste consisted of waves of balmy pine and grapefruit with a clean, tempering pale malt.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

Overall a tasty hop forward lager.

Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

Poured into a Squatters True Pint glass a very nice cloudy dark golden yellow color, very nice carbonation, with a nice one-finger white creamy head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, malty, with a nice citrus note. The taste is hoppy, nice little touch of malts, and some citrus notes. Medium body, with a nice slightly dry/bitter finish. Overall a very nice brew. Thanks Bill!

Photo of kscaldef
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into an imperial pint glass. Clear golden with a respectable, head of fine foam. Some lacing, but not a lot.

S: Floral and spicy aroma. Very fresh smelling. Reminds me of a good English style pale.

T: Clean, smooth, and balanced; with solid, but not overwhelming, bitterness on the finish. Leaves a lingering flavor of biscuit malt. A blend of piney and floral hops.

M: Medium-high carbonation. Medium-light carbonation.

O: Very impressed with this. This is my first beer from Jacks Abby and I'm really happy to have gotten to try it. One of the most interesting "yellow fizzy" beers I've had.

Photo of dcmchew
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy golden, one finger fluffy white head, with nice strips of carbonation. Looks like a lager indeed, but not entirely.
Great smell! Nice balance of citrusy green hops (tropical notes too) and caramel biscuity malts, like in a Munich helles. Hops are aromatic, not overwhelming. Should be great.
Okay, so, the malts are light, with some caramel and biscuit notes, and not as robust as an ale would be. Still, rich, but rather "fluffy", like boiled grains. Sweet hoppy fruitiness, with sweet oranges and tangerines, mild grapefruit, tropical lychee and pineapple, big floral notes and also prickly spicy hops. Great green leafy finish, with pine, mild bitterness.
Light body, but not watery, actually very very smooth, again, "fluffy". Dry finish with a green fresh hoppy aftertaste. Also, 6.7? Where?!
Overall, feels like a more crisp American IPA, with a German malt base and perfectly balanced hops. Extremely drinkable (watch out for the abv) and tasty.

Photo of beerthulhu
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

-spiegelau ipa glass. ipl.

A: Hazy princeton orange coloring with a creamy, froth head of one inch, dirty bone white, with a solid retention rate that only adds to the lasting visual. Moderately paced glass consuming effervesce, lasting coverage, decent coverage rate on the vessel.

S: Nice wiff of dry pineapple-orange, good level of awareness. Some fresh green melon sneaks in along with wet citrusy notes. Crisp pale malts lets the hopping speak for itself with some tropical nature, very clean. Deep down some fresh apple-pear yeastiness comes to light. Good complexity for an ipl, duration is good, awareness is generous, whats not to like.

T: Citrus, semi-dry, followed by a grassy hopping. Solid level of bitterness, light flowery piney-orange, dry whole grains with a decent lingering after fade of citrus-grass on the swallow that is lightly dry and begs for the next sip. Crisp lager like flavor, generous american wet coast hop addition with a strong level of hoppiness well balanced with malt aspect.

M: Crisp and tight mouthful, bubbly and sharp, just like a good lager should be. Medium bodied with a touch of creamy nature.

O: Overall beautiful presentation with a well lasting capping only leads to a lasting impression. Lightly cloudy orange coloring with a crisp carbonation rate dances in the glass with healthy hop loads, cleanly brewed, with a lingering dry hopping afterwards that certainly won't dissappoint even the most stubborn of hop heads. Citrusy fade. Had this after a 90+ day mowing the lawn and this hit the spot perfectly, to bad he didn't bring along more friends, only had one. Clean lager brewed with american hop influence just as the label claims is spot on. 6.7% feels more mid 5ish. 6 pack worthy. Hop levels worthy of mid entry ipa status with a cleanly brewed background makes this a must try per style (pale lager). There is a lot to say about this beer, it starts with the the brewery's focus on one style (lagers). Nice to see other states outside pennsylvania focusing on this underappreciated german style and bringing some respectability with an american twist and influence. Rated as an american pale lager.

Photo of vfgccp
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Loosely bubbled white head pours low with ok retention and lace. Medium orange gold body.

S - Nice bright pine and woody hop cone nose.

T - Opens with green plant flavors. Very herbal. Smooth white bread and light caramel center. Lemon and pine bitters balance the backend.

M - Smooth, medium-full frame with nice carbonation.

O - A great session beer; smooth, full flavored, well balanced, easy drinking.

Hoponius Union from Jack's Abby Brewing
95 out of 100 based on 2,283 ratings.