Nebraska Brewing Company - Barrel Aged Reserve Series: HopAnomaly
- ABV: 10.6%
- Serving Temperature: 45–52° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Chalice, Snifter or Pinot Glass
For a deeper look into Nebraska Brewing Co.’s exceptional line of beers, you can’t go wrong with HopAnomaly. We ended up pouring our tastes into the Spiegelau wheat glasses, which are admittedly big spaces for beer above 10%. But they glowed like little orange rocketships.
This special-edition version of HopAnomaly begins as the standard draft version of their big Belgian-style tripel, before seeing six months’ maturation in French oak Chardonnay barrels. The base beers starts out with a lot of citrusy and floral elements, while the time spent inside oak contributes generous degrees of barrel character that work as additional, well-fit layers.
This pours a vibrantly bright golden-orange, deepening to near-amber around the center or so. Firm, bright-white foam caps things. The aromatics offer up a number of different lines of exploration: crystalline sugars, oaky butter and vanilla, earthy and spicy hops alongside a warming channel of vinous alcohol… Soft-edged, assuredly dense, plush and appealing.
Hops employed in this one: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Warrior.
HopAnomaly never feels weighty, but there’s an enormous amount of stuff going on here—from the vanilla influences of those Chardonnay oak barrels, to the time-smoothed hopping layers of earthiness and pine underneath. Notes of almond and denser sugars open up as this warms, with a Russian River Temptation-esque barrel + buttery Chardonnay + vibrant yeast equation playing out here as well. We just loved the different directions this one took, with a ripe melon and apricot fruitiness, plus darker fruits appearing after this had warmed up a bit.
Cellarable within reason, though the remaining hop presence we’d expect to trail off quickly. For pairings: the brewery suggests mushroom risotto, roasted chicken and sweet pecan pie.
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