As the heatwave continues, so does the thirst for something suitable. Dead Pony Club was that something suitable last time around, and even though that had a satisfying hop profile, it lacked the fuller body that to me is a defining factor in enjoying a beer. As such, I opted for Hoppelhammer, a Whitewater brew at a heartier 6%.
Now, before having so much as a sniff of this beer, I knew what to expect, or rather, what not to expect. You see, in Irish brewing there seems to be a lack of hop forward beers, and with a name like Hoppelhammer (let alone the billing of a bona fide IPA) there was quite a lot to live up to.
Pessimism aside, the nose on this was actually quite good. Pungent, juicy, almost piney hops are pinned back by a wheaty cereal character. The taste is good too, with the malt taking on a more balancing sweetness role to counteract the fistfuls of mandarin, citrus peel and floral notes from the hops. There's even a hint of cloves among the folds of flavour, but even that's not as surprising as the almost boozy character that comes from an otherwise well balanced beer at a reasonable 6%.
I can see why this would disappoint you; if it's hops you're looking for, a beer called Hoppelhammer should pretty much be on the ball. However, the hopheads around Ireland were let down, and in a way I feel their pain.
Yet in another way, I feel nothing but the pleasure of a perfectly good, pithy, fruity, malty beer that only gets more delicious as it warms in the glass. Boohoo.