Sunday, May 20, 2012

White Hatter (2012)

This was the first beer I helped make during my first week of training as a brewer at New Holland. This beer gave new definition to the hard work it takes to make beer. Nevertheless, the results are extremely gratifying. Tasted in the break room the evening of our bottling session. I left my camera at home, so I brought the rest of the bottle home for a picture. Enjoy!
5.5% ABV

Appearance:  Poured from the bottle, making sure to leave the dreggs behind (for later!). The beer is reasonably clear with a puffy white head that seemed only to diminish slowly, leaving a soapy ring around the inner perimeter of the glass. Bright and golden in color. Some carbonation is acknowledged clinging to the sides of the glass, but otherwise the beer looks rather still.
Aroma: This beer exhibits a lot in the aroma (just wait for the flavor). Most notably, the yeast seems to be the proprietary dominance up front. A base of breadiness carries throughout. Hints of phenols and orange peel are preasent among others. Everything compliments each other with tremendous balance.
Taste: A sweet lemon zest and citrus flavor tackles the tongue in a wave of complexity. Think more along the lines of a hard lemonade, but brewed as a beer (with hops and spices), fermented as a beer, and tastes like a beer too (how about that). The carbonation really aids in pulling through the crisp bite from the hops, suiting the latter name "Pale ale." A bit peppery by the mid-taste and certainly in the finish when the hops take over. An acidic note is present in the back of the throat, but does more good than harm. The end exhibits more of an orange rind flavor, paralleled by the ever prominent pepper-hop and lemon peel profile. Ironically, the wheat is well masked under the layers of more upfront and bold flavors and spices. However, much of it (attributions of the wheat) can be noted in the mouthfeel. The finish is left dry and bittered with a lingering taste of lemon zest. The afterburp is earthy and floral, but still an awesome mix of all the characteristics tasted prior.
Mouthfeel: Very drinkable and refreshing, but with a smooth character provided by the wheat. The body is light to medium and not in the slightest bit watery. Carbonation is perfect enough to encourage a foaming bite over the tongue and expansion as it leaves the palate, girthing up the feel of the beer. Finish is very crisp and drying with a residual resin coating the entire mouth, especially the middle of the tongue.
Overall Impression: It was a monster to brew, but entirely worth the work. This one topples all pre-conceived notions that one cannot put whatever they want in a beer, or cross styles. Insurmountable complexity, but hardly a sacrifice to drinkability. A go-to on any occasion. The black IPA/Cascadian Dark has a new boss in town...Introducing the White Hatter, White IPA!

Check out another perspective: Sud Savant's Review of the White Hatter
Coming soon to your local HATTER DAYS (June 16th)
See you there.

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