Schmaltz Brewing Co.
Saratoga Springs, NY
He’Brew Hop Manna IPA
Love the folks at Schmaltz – they make great beer, aren’t afraid of taking chances, and manage to do it all without taking themselves too seriously. This brew is made with Warrior, Northern Brewer, Cascade, Amarillo, Crystal, Fuggle, and Golding AND is dry-hopped with the Cascade, Crystal, and Amarillos.
Not much head appears on the pour, but what does show up is cloud white and looks just as soft. The beer is straw gold with a honey quality to it that belies its crystal clarity. That clarity shows slow, sparse effervescence chugging up to the surface, keeping a clingy halo at the mouth of the glass.
The nose is not as aggressive as the seven hops may initially indicate, but Fuggle and Golding are much subtler than Cascade or Amarillo. What you get is a really nice medley of soft aromas. There is citrus, naturally, but that grapefruit spray emerges slowly behind a powdery floral bouquet of paperwhite, lavender, as well as some pine sap that masks just a bit of bready malt. Great stuff.
The mouthfeel excellent, accelerating from a surprisingly bubbly front and spreading out like a meadow. The hops hit immediately – bitter citrus first, then the wafting, rosy florals, and finally just a slightly metallic tobacco touch at the end. The malt is not apparent immediately, but the lack of any sere, saliva-sapping aridity shows that there is more balance than you might think.
Sixty-five IBUs is a lot, but not a ton, and this beer is an easy-going 6.8% that’s going to please any hophead. It’s hop-forward, to be sure, but Schmaltz has done a wonder here by creating a ‘big’ beer that is not going to be undrinkable for those who don’t have a sense of humulus. Nice stuff.