Last week, I got
an e-mail from the Terrapin Brewery. It was a newsletter, actually, in
e-mail form, but it announced something that got me pretty excited: a new
series of one-off, specialty beers sold under the label of Terrapin Side
Project. You know, like something you do for fun. On the side. Anyway,
these beers would be sold in 22-ounce bomber bottles, and were of a limited
production run. The first in the series, it was announced, would be Hop
No doubt you’ve heard of the current shortage of hops that has brewers
scrambling to procure them, and generally paying more when they do.
Terrapin, however, would have none of that gloom and doom prognosticating,
and decided to throw caution to the wind with an all out hop monster.
From the bottle:
2008 will forever be known in professional brewing circles as the year of
the hop shortage…..some are even cutting back on brewing hoppy beers. NOT
US! …If there is going to be a shortage of hops, why not put them all into
one huge hop bomb of a beer?
And so, I was on a mission from Ninkasi. I stopped by my closest usual
liquor store on the way home from work. Sadly, I was denied, as they had
been. The beer manager told me that they were supposed to get one
case in, but didn’t. So, off I went to the next closest store. Imagine me,
if you can, bursting through their doors, only to find that, NO!!!!, they
had sold their one case on the day they got it in.
However, I am nothing if not tenacious, and continued to pursue this
seemingly forbidden nectar. Finally, a stop at Sherlock’s on Barrett Parkway
revealed a stash, albeit at a price: $6.50 per bottle. I snapped up a few
and was on my way.
Terrapin Side Project Hop Shortage Ale pours to a bright golden
orange color with a light spritzy head formation and a very resiny nose of
fresh pine-tar. Naturally, I pour mine into my Terrapin pint glass to get
the full effect. Sipping, I get the hops here almost immediately. The body
of the beer has some light notes of caramel, but not a whole heck of a lot
to better allow the hops to shine through. But that may be a flaw: I think I
want more body here than I get.
There be hops here, matey, to be sure. But, dare I say it, maybe not as many
as I expected? After all, they do call this a hop bomb. And though I got a
lot of hops, at first quite aromatic with their resiny, bright fruity pine
character, then becoming slightly citric with hints of grapefruit and
finally bursting with lingering bitterness in the finish, I think I was
really expecting something bigger than this. Which is, of course, crazy,
because this is a really great beer, and does have a lot of wonderful hop
character. And it does deliver some deliciously piney hop burps, too.
Still, I’ve had beers from Lagunitas that are just as hoppy for half the
price, so maybe that’s part of the problem. Nonetheless, when it’s gone it’s
gone, and you’ll never taste it again. So buy a bottle. If you can find it,
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.