Beer Profile: Hoppin’ Frog Dankster Frog IPA

Courtesy PicOku. Mine was far more murkey than this.

Profiled by Ken Carman

Two moments of pure honesty: I had this beer a while ago so I can’t be as specific as I should be. The other is I was judging it as I practiced to up my BJCP tasting score. I should have judged it lower since I judged it as if it had been entered as a regular IPA. But, dagnab it, it’s so flabupin good!

Yeah, I just made up a word. And it was fun doing it. Kind of like Fred Karm’s brewers kind of made up their own spin off of IPA. That’s a new thing at the BJCP: the just expanded the IPA category because there are so many versions. I hope this eventually becomes one.

What would have made it score lower? Well, it looked like murky lemonade crossed with a little orange juice: an orange-ish yellow, and no light shined through. There was a low bitter for an IPA and the fruitiness was yeast driven as well as hop, which I’m sure IPA purists would do a lot of the verbal version of barfing about.

The nose was about the same as the taste with hints of lemon, orange, peach. The taste and mouth feel: almost no bitter. The mouth feel was heavier than it actually was with suspended yeast hanging around in the finish/aftertaste because they had misbehaved during purist IPA school. I’m sure some of the biggie purists would want it expelled. It finished somewhat sweet.

Malt was no more than a background orchestra of hard to discern pale: still it supported it well. Balance well towards the fruit.

You know what? The purists can have their perfect IPAs. I like them too. But this is unique, and while ‘dank’ doth not apply, except the slightest horsey sense via, I would a assume, a hint of that side to brett, I also assume either this specific yeast is fruit dominate, or it has been fermented twice.

The head was an off white and pillow: didn’t last long, small bubble mostly.

So many IPAs these days do bitter and little more than bitter. They even do bitter quite well. But hops have flavor, guldern it, I want to taste them too, at least more than a little! Please brew this again. I could drink more than a pint or two.

No score on Rate Beer. 4.23 BA.

I can’t give it a super high score because I’m not sure what style they were shooting for, but I did score it well with a…



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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Hop Vendors Swallow A Bitter Pill As They Confront An Oversaturated Market & Customers Who Can’t Pay

“If you had to buy oxygen to stay alive and there was a shortage, you’d probably buy a couple extra bottles when you could, wouldn’t you?”

That’s partially how fourth-generation Washington hop grower Eric Desmarais excuses the thousands of craft brewers, who, panicking after a severe U.S. hop shortage that lasted from 2013-15, ordered well over a million excess pounds of the crop they’ve since discovered they don’t need and can’t necessarily pay for. The massive imbalance between what growers harvested in the fall of 2017 and what brewers can use has already caused one hop broker to file for Chapter 11 protection and threatens to upend brewers who got caught off guard by the glut they helped create.

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The Rise and Fall of Gruit

Courtesy Washington City Paper

This is the story of gruit, typically thought of as a type of beer brewed in the medieval Low Countries of the Netherlands, Belgium, and western Germany, and the genesis of excise taxation. The intertwined history of both the beer and tax law muddied the waters and by the 17th century the knowledge of gruit as a beer had passed from living memory. This paper is an attempt to put together the many pieces, spanning multiple countries, languages and centuries, to create a clearer picture of gruit as a beverage than what is currently found in the English language. The word gruit seems to have many meanings within the context of brewing. With gruit a grain product deemed necessary for brewing beer was meant, but also a certain tax paid at each time of brewing, as well as specific herbs added to the ale, and even the beer itself. As this study intends to look deeper into historic gruit, the modern definition of gruit as generic herbal ale in contrast to hopped beer is not taken into consideration. Gruit as a product changed throughout its history. From a beer additive revered for its fermenting powers, it morphed into a beer with a reputation for headache causing herbals. From piecing together the many different puzzle pieces an interesting picture emerges: one of gruit not as just a handful of brewing herbs, but as a powerful and deemed necessary wort fortifier…

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(This can be read here, or downloaded to read later.)

Why All Beer Once Tasted Like Smoke

Today’s brewers can add any number of flavors to their beers. Some are newfangled, such as chili pepper or pumpkin; others are deeply traditional. Smoke is one of the latter, with a long and widespread pedigree. All across Europe, a hint of barbecue was once pervasive—until the Industrial Revolution, the flavor was the inevitable result of the brewing process. Malt is one of beer’s primary ingredients, and a change in how it’s made brought beer out of its smoky past.

Grains, unlike wine grapes and cider apples, don’t contain sugars. They have starches, which can’t be fermented until they are accessed and converted into sugars. Malting is the process of accessing those starches by steeping the grains in water.

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Counterpoint: Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing

Our Judges: Ken and Millie Carman

 I am hoping to have at least a few editions of this. I already did this once using one of my regular columns. What I am hoping for here is to display just how different judge palates can be: even day to day and referring to one judge. However most editions will be two BJCP judges. Different beers will be judged: mostly commercial, however I may be able to sneak in at least a few homebrews. And I will endeavor to contact judges who might be interested in this project. Unlike a competition scores are NOT consensus, since the purpose is to show differences.
 For this edition we chose Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Things. Nothing on the can tells us what style IPA it is, but we both agreed New England IPA.
 Millie and I are both Certified. Continue reading “Counterpoint: Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing”

Reflections and Resolutions, 2017 Edition

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

So here we are again. One more turn around this mortal coil, drinking to forget the follies of an old year and toasting the auspiciousness of the new. For me 2017 has been extremely enjoyable, uncanny parallels between the 1930s and the present notwithstanding. I hope it has been the same for you.

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