How much did you eat for Thanksgiving? Were your food and beverages enough to be thankful for on their own? On my last post I mentioned how much things have rocked for us these past few months (an unmentioned part of that being this blog, which I’ll highlight in some upcoming features), but I’m still giving thanks to the 4-rib, 10.5 pound standing rib roast which I totally owned that day. And am still eating 10 days later:
With such culinary mastery, you’d better not skimp on what you’re drinking. Every so often I’ll make a bomber run for “important” beers which sit in the fridge for long periods until I have an occasion to justify them. A few nights into the gloriousness that is leftovers, I decided to pair some roast beast with a perfect example of the fascinating trend that is fresh hopped ales. Or in this case, “estate hopped.”
Estate Series Gentleman Farmer Estate Hopped Ale, Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery (Goochland, VA) – @LCCB_FarmBrews
American Style IPA, ABV 7.5%
Presentation: Bomber pour into tulip glass.
Now, before you get your long johns all in a bunch, I didn’t just randomly decide to eschew a normal pint glass for the tulip. It’s how LCCB chose to proudly display this beer on their own site, and they know far better than I how to drink their brews!
Appearance: This is a very large beer. If you can’t tell from either of those pictures, this ale sits heavily in the glass with a thick mane of head which would put many stouts to shame. It clings desperately to the glass, flecked in amber from what looks almost like an unfiltered red ale. The head persists so long I was able to pick the glass up and snap a few extra pictures to try to get the cloudiness right.
Taste: Just like a red or amber ale, malts steal the show here. I’m curious how this was conditioned as the cloudy bits carry an almost oaky quality rather than the crispness you’d expect from stainless steel. The result is very smooth with some floral hints that come through more on the finish than the nose.
ABV/IBU: The use of fresh/estate hops prevent the moderately high ABV from relegating this to the back end of a tasting catalog. Everything is so rich you have to force yourself to sit and sip over a long meal, movie, or football game.
Overall: I typically find LCCB beers, and particularly their estate series, to be very complex in a manner where it’s difficult to pair them with other beers. They certainly don’t trend with other brewers (like their Belgian-style pumpkin), but in this case their fresh hopped ale simply takes what others have done, and puts them all in. I’m a big fan of this evolution in IPAs, and to me this is the standard bearer. It shows how hops are more than just a floral, bitter component but also how their quality can shape the rest of the beer’s profile. A lot of other IPAs I’ve liked will fall in the 7-8 range (I put regular pale ales a bit higher on my list), so this score should say something. As in, go out and get a Gentleman Farmer while you still can. And get six of them while you’re at it.