Beer: Hop House
Brewer: Brewery Ommegang
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
Description: Hop House pours a bright golden orange color with a huge frothy white head that lingers around for a while and leaves behind a thick lacing on the glass. The aroma is dominated by juicy hops that give off notes of citrus (lemon, orange, and grapefruit) and tropical fruits (pineapple and mango), with a subtle spicy earthiness that is backed by that familiar Belgian yeast aroma we expect from Ommegang beers. The taste backs up the nose with the citrus and tropical fruit flavors hitting the palate up front before being washed over by the smooth malt bill, ending with the exquisite Belgian yeast and leaving a long dry finish on the palate. The medium body and high carbonation are the perfect combination for this style of beer that delivers a great hop punch balanced with a sweet malt bill to create a very easy-drinking Belgian ale; it’s a very solid take on a style that can be difficult to brew with the right balance.
Food pairing: The strong hop character and Belgian ale profile make this a great beer to pair with a variety of American-style foods, especially those that lean towards the spicy end of the spectrum! Try pairing Hop House with your next buffalo wing and pizza dinner; the spicier the wing sauce, the better. The hops will elevate the spicy profile while the malt bill and perfect yeast characteristic will smooth and refresh the palate, leaving the moderate carbonation to scrub the palate clean. Also try this with a burger piled high with toppings, and don’t be afraid to throw a few jalapeños on either, as this beer can handle it! Hop House will also pair very well with fatty meat dishes; try with roasted pork loin, roast duck, or any variety of sausages.
The final word: Brewery Ommegang has been on a new beer roll-out of sorts lately with many fresh and exciting beers coming out of the brewery. The brewery has already charted into the Belgian Pale Ale style with their BPA; however, with Hop House, they have managed to add a deeper layer of bitterness that does not exist in the BPA. This is a very tough feat to pull off, as the Belgian yeast can create some very off-putting flavors when paired with semi-aggressive hops. However, the brewers at Ommegang know exactly what they are doing and have created a beer that has a great hop bite that hopheads will enjoy, while still staying a true Belgian beer at heart. The house yeast and hops play perfectly together and create a beer that is easy-drinking and great to have around as we transition out of this terrible, cold winter weather.
Rating: W W W W
Where can I get it? Currently available in 12-ounce bottles at: J & H Beer, Wilkes-Barre; Backyard Ale House, Scranton; Exit 190 Beer Deli, Dickson City; Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer, Wilkes-Barre; and The Office Bar & Grill, Nicholson.
Remember, enjoy responsibly! Cheers!
-Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer, and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour on 102.3 FM Saturdays at 10 a.m.