Fearful Symmetries

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11 February, 2016

Taking the Hopfentea Plunge: Hopfentea by Perennial Artisan Ales



As I mentioned previously, I have a trio of brews by Perennial Artisan Ales to review. First came Pineapple Kumquat Berliner Weisse and now we have Hopfentea (or "hops tea", I guess. Not sure if that's grammatically correct Deutsch or not. At least they ran the words together.) Hopfentea is a Berliner Weisse that had tropical fruit flavored tea steeped in it. Or so I gather.

I've actually had this bier before – at the Great Taste of the Midwest in 2013. I enjoyed it then although I had no recollection of doing so when I sampled it again last week. This bier was bottled in 4/2015 and it's likely I bought my bottle last summer. It was brought home and placed in my cellar away from the light.

Hopfentea pours a light gold hue while the bier was turbid. Somehow I managed to pour some "Champagne of the North" without producing a big head. **face palm** And so I ended up with a rather small, white head that went away quite quickly. But there were plenty of bubbles inside the bier so my glass at least had a bit of that bubbly, effervescent look.

Perennial sure loves tropical fruit flavors in their Berliner Weisses. Sadly, I am not exactly the most experienced consumer of tropical fruits. The label appears to have a papaya on it but it doesn't betray the flavors of the teas that were used in making the bier. And so I can only tell you that the aroma is rife with tropical fruit. Papaya? Maybe. I can say that I didn't catch pineapple or kiwi or banana. Imagine papaya, mangoes, star, and passion fruits blended together. Along with that nebulous aroma there was the distinctive lemony tartness from the lactic acid bacteria.

As I expected, Hopfentea didn't skimp on the tartness in the flavor. It was a big, lemony blast of the stuff. The tropical fruit flavors were in the background here and added a pleasing mellow sweetness. And I could taste the non-fruity bits of the tea too. There was a very pronounced herbal flavor that was also quite dry. To me it tasted of black tea but I cannot say exactly what kind of tea was steeped in the bier taste. Lastly I can say that there was plenty of carbonation to be tasted which gave the bier a nice, bubbly, champagne-like quality.

The finish was pretty clean and dry as the tartness lingered as did the herbal/tea, though not the fruit, flavor. There was no Schaumhaftvermoegen to be had.

As with the Pineapple Kumquat, the fruit flavor here is pretty mild. Then again, it is provided by flavored tea. Hopfentea had a really nice tartness to it which mellowed only slightly as I drank more. Sadly, the acidulousness combined with the astringency of the tea to make something which I didn't find particularly pleasing. It was just too sour and bitter with too little fruitiness for counterpoint. I am curious as to whether Perennial changed the recipe or if my tastes have changed.

Junk food pairing: I would recommend something sweet to counter the astringent tea flavor of the bier. Try some Honey Nut Chex Mix or Lemon Crème Oreos.

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|| Palmer, 6:19 AM

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