Schlafly Hop Trial SMaSH Pack

Oh, hi. I didn’t see you there.

You may have noticed, dear reader, that I haven’t posted in, like, 3 months. It’s true–and no, your web browser/brain isn’t broken–I haven’t been blogging.

But what I have been doing all of this time?
A lot of things beer-  or art-  or  beer-and-art-related, of course! I’ve applied to some upcoming Chicago-based craft fairs and have been working on a multitude of side projects that I hope to reveal soon. I’ve poured beer at a couple fests for my friends at Twisted Hippo. I also recently entered a bottle-bomb into my homebrew club’s latest competition and did not win, but it did douse a club member in Belgian wit-flavored foam. 😀

I’ve also been developing some new Worth 1000 Beers products, such as original mini hop “portraits” (stay tuned for an explanation of that) and, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you already know about my hop-scented candle experiments! Yes. A candle that smells like hops! You know you want one. I’ll post an announcement when these two items are in my shop.

And, speaking of my shop, I’ve also redesigned my online store: shopworth1000beers.com  (You can also visit the shop by clicking the Shop link up above, to the far right.)

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So without any further ado, I’m diving back into blogging with a tasting of a recent release by The Saint Louis Brewing Company, aka Schlafly, out of St. Louis, MO. Schlafly was kind enough to send me a sample of their latest new release, their SMaSH Pack. This is a 12 pack of 4 different golden ales, all 6.5% ABV, and each one highlighting a new-ish or experimental hop varietal. It’s being released specifically to promote their popular HOP in the City festival on Saturday, September 17th starting at noon.

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But hold up, what is a SMaSH beer?
A SMaSH beer, or “Single Malt and Single Hop” beer includes one base malt and one hop variety, where most other beer recipes use multiples of each. In this case, Schlafly used only 2-row base malt, plus a unique hop. By eliminating other variables in the recipe, hop characteristics aren’t masked or changed by various malts or adjuncts. Trying SMaSH beers really is one of the best ways to experience and learn about hop flavors and aromas in isolation.

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Schalfly chose to highlight some new and experimental hop varieties:
• Hallertau Blanc: This is a new German variety that is a floral, lemony, grassy hop named after Sauvignon Blanc, that tends to exhibits similar flavors to the wine.

• Enigma: This one is super fruity but also funky, just like Australia. Just kidding (maybe … I’ve never been there) but the hop does come from down under, and the fruity notes it exhibits are incredibly tropical and bright.

• Eureka: Similar to Simcoe or Summit hops, this hop comes from Yakima Valley in Washington State, US. Its personality is piney first, but it also exhibits grapefruit and citrus flavors & aromas, too.

• Bramling Cross: This hop is spicy – as in herbal spice. It is a cross between Bramling and Manitoban hops from the UK, and while it mainly exhibits earthy and herbal qualities, it can be a bit fruity as well.

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As far as appearance goes, all four beers looked pretty much identical. The only really subtle difference was that the Bramling Cross Golden Ale was crystal clear, and the other three had a (really) slight haze. All were light straw yellow with white, lacey heads that stuck to the glass.

But all of the beers had unique flavors & aromas:

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Hallertau Blanc Golden Ale:
Aroma: Estery lemon, floral, and a hint of grapefruit & peach
Mouthfeel: Full, super smooth & creamy
Flavor: Sweet, lightly malty, and floral

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Enigma Golden Ale:
Aroma: Lime, passion fruit, peach, melon, green grape
Mouthfeel: Light and crisp
Flavor: Green grape, watermelon, passion fruit and earthy, spiced cardamon

Eureka profile
Eureka Golden Ale:
Aroma: Dank pine needles, wet pine tree forest, earthy and citrusy-orange
Mouthfeel: Smooth, slightly syrupy and a bit oily
Flavor: Sweet orange, piney, earthy funk, umami finish

Bramling Cross profile
Bramling Cross Golden Ale:
Aroma: Very subtle bready, malty aromas and a hint of pepper
Mouthfeel: Light and effervescent
Flavor: Malty, bready finish following an herbal mosh pit of spices, then raspberries

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I’m excited that Schlafly released this package, and I hope other breweries follow suit. These beers were interesting AND tasty! #bonus

Many thanks to Schlafly for making this post possible. SMaSH Pack for the win! Cheers.

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