We capped off the weekend with a quiet dinner at Capital Ale House on Sunday evening. That meal was highlighted by a couple of excellent beers recently tapped at the restaurant. Colleen chose a Peach Berliner Weisse from Perennial Artisan Ales. My selection was Hardywood Park Hoplar IPA.
The Berliner Weisse was refreshing with a crisp tartness backed with a hint of wheat. There was a pleasant peach fragrance, but the peach flavor was mild and just moderated the sour aspect. Although the server warned Colleen it was very sour, it was not excessively so. The almost-sparkling carbonation made for quite a refreshing and light feeling beer. Perfect for summer evenings and warm weather!
The Hoplar IPA is Double IPA aged on Virginia Tulip Poplar wood. The aroma is a mix of pine and citrus, with an earthy note. The aroma is rich but balanced. The first sip of the beer put a smile in my face. This is what a DIPA should be. It's a strongly flavored, 100 IBA beer that is complex and amazingly well balanced. The resinous pine and bitter citrus combine with earth and wood undertones create a rich and robustly flavored beer that doesn't coat or kill the palate. A moderately creamy body with a thick mouthfeel that finished clean leaving just a touch of bitterness left behind.
I enjoyed my Hoplar with an extremely spicy Mexicali Chicken Salad consisting of grilled chicken breast tossed in a spicy habenero pale ale wing sauce with roasted corn relish, avocado, pickled red onions, jalapeño peppers and bleu cheese. My rule on spicy food is if my head doesn't sweat, it wasn't done right. However I found myself leaving some of the jalapeños behind. But still, the rich Hoplar held its own.
We were enjoying the beers so much, that we decided to stay a bit longer and enjoy another round. It was an easy decision to stick with our same beers as we finished dinner. I enjoyed Hardywood Hoplar very much and I hope I can get back to CAH for more, or perhaps even find it locally in a bottle.