Applauding Innovation: Hop Project

This brew is an India Pale Ale by style, but that is where the similarity to most IPAs ends. Each consecutive batch of Hop Project is brewed with a different blend of spicy, aromatic hops, never using the same blend twice. It’s a Hophead’s dream come true! Check the bottled on date and our blog to decode what specific hop varieties we used in that batch.- From Yazoo’s web site.

Written by Ken Carman

When I asked the Professor about the possibility that all writers here might be able to offer some occasional “applause” for innovation, he readily agreed.

Well, “readily” after I begged, pleaded, did all kinds of unmentionable things for him.

I’m joking. But we are hoping that Scribe, Tom Becham and other writers occasionally featured here will help. Feel free to offer your own “applause.” Perhaps even a boo or a hiss? Hmm… perhaps another new feature here at PGA?

Let’s start with Yazoos Hop project…

I know of no other brewery who does this. Every craft brewer of any worth now has at least one IPA. Or IIPA, smoked IPA, Cascadian/Dark IPA and various spins off of that motif. I applaud the attention hop lovers have been given. But Yazoo Brewing in Nashville has something quite unique in their Hop Project. Every few weeks they take a basic wort and vary the hops: both in the type of hop and how one adds the hops… fresh hops, odd hops from all over the world, and, one hopes, smoked and other variations on hops in the future.

Here is my opinion: this is what brewing is all about.
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Beer Profile

Thornbridge beer tapsPhoto: Real Ale Reviews

Profiled by Ken Carman for

Looking for the perfect beer, Christmas?

Being a beer geek always seeking more punishment for my palate, I was very surprised just how much I liked St. Petersburg Russian Imperial. I mean, it is English, and they do back off from the extremes newer American brewers go to. And this is now exception.

What a beautiful beer. I imagine this might be exactly what the Czars loved so much that they considered it their beer and started to brew it themselves. Sadly I have never had a Russian version that compared to most of the American and English versions.

St. Pete started with a huge, cascading head that was a dark tan pillow. I’d sleep on it any day. The nose, the only thing slightly off, was oddly chocolate. I expected more deep roast complexity and some fruit-like sense, though there was a not unexpected slight hint of coffee.

Mouthfeel: big malt, and low attentuation. A tad sweet in the background and the slightest hint of burnt.

There were hops, yes, but unlike American versions (some), way in the background and just a slight, perfectly balanced, bitter. Malt is the focus and it delivers big time with a multitude of roasty tastes from some dark chocolate-like flavor, to some coffee-like, and various malts. Little Black Patent, but it does seem to be there, way in the background. There’s also some smoke, or peated malt, sense that increases as it warms.

I imagine this to be exactly like many of the imports into Russia from oh so many years ago. If not: should have been. Wow!

I recommend this to anyone and especially to have on Christmas to warm one’s cheer. And at 7.7% you might even be able to have two, unlike the higher ABV American versions. I wouldn’t recommend driving though, not only for obvious reasons, but because you’ll want to savor this beauty.

Fire damages Rochefort Trappist Beer Abbey in Belgium

From the BBC

13th-Century Belgian abbey famous for its brewery has been damaged by fire but the monks escaped unhurt and the vats survived intact.

The Trappist (Cistercian) monks were dining when fire broke out at the abbey at St Remy-Rochefort, famous for its Rochefort beer.

The building was evacuated and it took 70 firefighters to put out the blaze.

It seems the blaze began near a generator being used temporarily after problems with the power supply.
Rochefort Trappist beer Rochefort is famous for strong beers

Francois Bellot, mayor of Rochefort, said he was confident that it would be possible to resume beer production within a few days.
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Squiffy Squirrels Plague My Garden Since Home Brew Leak

Squirrels after beer? (Courtesy

Written by Susan Morrison for

In September, the husband decided we should make our own beer for Christmas. I blame reruns of the Good Life. A pressure barrel was purchased, a kit procured and instructions were read. I’ll give him that. He reads instructions. I prefer instinct. My instinct usually being to avoid the situation in the first place.

The barrel sat in the dark like a frog with indigestion, burping and rumbling. This was fine until the frog developed incontinence. Suddenly the kitchen started to smell, well, actually like Edinburgh very early in the morning, with that beery scent in the air.

The barrel was leaking. Action was taken and the barrel was moved into the garden to drip. A small puddle formed.

And then the squirrels appeared.
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