Sweetwater Brewing Company - Hop Hash Easy IPA
- ABV: 4.2%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 55
- Serving Temperature: 42-47° F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Mug
- Malts: Maris Otter, Pilsner, Wheat, Midnight Wheat
- Hops: Amarillo Hop Hash, Bravo; Dry-hopped: Ahtanum, Crystal, El Dorado
Recently, there's been a trend in the hop market towards new forms of brewing hops, including concentrates, hop oils, cryogenically-separated lupulin, and more. Hop hash is one of these new cutting-edge formats, for which SweetWater is the brewery leader, having worked closely with Yakima Chief - Hopunion to get hop hash to market in the form of several beers, including our featured Hop Hash Easy IPA. Hop hash is a byproduct of the traditional hop pelletization process; about three times per hour, the pelletization machines need to be cleaned of all the accumulated sticky resin – which used to just get discarded. But this concentrated resin is a rich source of pure, zesty hop goodness, and SweetWater was among the first to recognize its potential for producing deliciously hoppy beers.
Hop Hash Easy IPA pours an attractive copper hue capped by plenty of rocky foam. We found the aromas quite intriguing, complex, and inviting; look for lots of citric fruitiness including an orange-lemon-lime zest character, plus tropical fruit, stone fruit, and light herbal/pine undertones. On the palate, this low-ABV session ale comes across light-bodied and quite easy-drinking, despite being packed with hop flavor. The malt backbone is clean and unobtrusive, offering a perfect stage for the big hop notes. The zesty citrus notes lead the way, and there's a deep-down resinous character. Hop bitterness is firm, keeping this session IPA quite dry from start to finish. Beers like this prove that light-bodied and light-ABV does not have to equal light-flavor. We'd recommend pairing this brew with sweet & spicy foods, to allow the hop bite to complement the spiciness while cutting through sweetness and clearing the palate. Cheers!
SweetWater founders Freddy Bensch and Kevin McNerney met as roommates at the University of Colorado, Boulder. They quickly realized that they had more of an affinity for beer than books, and began dreaming of starting a microbrewery. After graduating, they headed off to California to attend brewing school at UC Davis, after which the two friends honed their craft by working for a number of breweries on the West Coast. In 1996, Freddy visited Atlanta and decided that the town was in dire need of a quality microbrewery. With the help of family and friends, Freddy and Kevin amassed enough capital to get their dream off the ground.
SweetWater Brewing Company (named after a local creek on which Freddy liked to kayak) opened for business in 1997, and after driving all over the city in an old van, Freddy and Kevin managed to line up a few bars interested in their new West Coast style beers. Their beers were a hit, and in the 1998 World Beer Cup, SweetWater walked away with the second highest number of medals. Then in 2002, they were named Small Brewery of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival. After several years of strong growth, the brewery was relocated in 2004 from its original location on Atlanta’s west side to a larger facility near Ansley Park in mid-town Atlanta. But, within just a few short years demand increased to the point that the brewhouse was in near continuous operation – 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year – necessitating a major expansion in 2012. The new features included Atlanta’s largest privately owned solar array, capable of generating 157 KwH of clean electricity, as well as top-of-the-line computerized brewing equipment that allows SweetWater to slow down the human side of the brewing process to increase quality control, while simultaneously increasing their overall output. Just last year, SweetWater launched their "Woodlands Project" in an adjacent building, which is focused on their barrel-aging program and small batches of sour, funky, and experimental beers. For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call 404-691-2537 or check out their web site at www.sweetwaterbrew.com.
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