Sunday, February 23, 2014

More Hardywood Park

I routinely check the Facebook pages of my favorite local pubs to see if there are any particularly interesting beers being tapped, or foods being served. Last Friday I saw that Capital Ale House was tapping a pin of Hardywood Park The Great Return IPA, dry hopped with Apollo hops. Coincidently, when I got home from work, Colleen asked "Do you want to go somewhere for dinner?" "As a matter of fact, I do" was my reply. What's that they say about great minds and long-married couples?

First, I did some research on this unfamiliar hop variety. Apollo hops are used for bittering and are apparently somewhat rare. A pin is a small, approximately 5 gallon mini-keg, so I knew this was a limited opportunity. We arrived too late to witness the actual tapping by the Hardywood rep, but did score a nice Hardywood keychain later in the evening.

Bourbon Sidamo Stout & Great Return IPA

The Great Return pours a hazy marmalade color with a thin beige head. The aroma is mostly grapefruit with some grassiness. The flavor is full of fresh grapefruit citrus. There's a bit of the expected green grass of fresh hops, but the beer was not as bitter as I had envisioned. There was a refreshing, "juicy" mouthfeel to the beer. This glass of beer was served at a proper, not-too-cold temperature so I was able to get started on enjoying it right away. 

Colleen spied another Hardywood Park beer on the menu, Sidamo Coffee Stout. We had tried the Sidamo a few weeks ago, and knew it was an excellent Stout. I took a couple sips from Colleen's glass, but sadly the citrus-rich flavor of my IPA made it hard to get a proper taste of the Stout's flavor, though Colleen reported it was quite tasty. However, it just so happens that Capital Ale House is tapping a pin of Bourbon Sidamo Coffee Stout next Friday. Perhaps we'll make a return trip then in order to provide a more complete report. 

I was ready for another beer when our dinner entrées arrived. Since I knew there are always a few beers available that are not on the printed menu, I made a information gathering walk down the tap handle line. I didn't get very far before I spied two taps with the distinctive handles of a new Manassas, Virginia brewery, Heritage Brewing Company. But that's a story for another post...

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