Monday, March 19, 2012

He'Brew Hop Manna IPA


Spring has finally sprung here in upstate New York, so I'm drinking a beer made only 30 minutes north of me by the Shmaltz Brewing Company. I just recently reviewed some of their "Coney Island" brand lagers, but I haven't reviewed any of their Jewish-themed He'Brew Ales in about three years! This beer is apropos for the situation since this is their first new year-round beer in four years and their first-ever single IPA. Thanks to Mike at Shmaltz for donating this bottle to the show at the Saratoga Beer Week back in February.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (630) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 18, 2012
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark hazy shade of orange/burnt umber. Forms a good sized, white frothy head that retains and laces very well.

Smell: Strong tropical fruit juice concentrate: passion fruit, guava and mango, with a noticeable underlying scent of pine trees.

Taste: There’s a lot going on with Hop Manna IPA, at least at first. The initial sip is quite impressive because of the complexity: mild bitterness, follow by sweet fruit nectar and finishing with distinct earthy bitterness. If this pattern had held up to the end this would be a great beer. However, after only a few sips it begins to homogenize. The fruity sweetness takes a backseat to a rustic, piney, dry bitterness. Black tea flavors seem to emerge, along with a slight coffee-like taste and accompanying dry bitterness. Then some kind of astringency appears: an off taste of golden lollipop with a slight solvent-like aroma. It’s subtle to be sure and perhaps the average drinker won’t notice it. Still, it keeps this beer from being a great IPA and holds to only a good status.

Drinkability: At 6.5% ABV and 68 IBUs, Hop Manna IPA is the dictionary definition of a single American IPA. Some nice noticeable energy and weight, but nothing even remotely challenging. The mouthfeel is a little thinner than I expected, but surprisingly soft and comfortable. It does down smooth, and is even a tad refreshing while it’s in the mouth. A versatile beer to be sure - drink it any way you prefer (with a meal or on its own). I don’t know why they bottled this in bombers instead of 12oz because this would lend itself better to multiple smaller containers instead of a single large one.
Grade: 7/10