Those chaps at Guinness don’t seem to be resting much, having unveiled a number of new beers this year, they’re releasing another one onto the UK market: Hop House 13. In yet another interesting turn, the Brewer’s Project have managed to produce a beverage unlike any of the others that Guinness have on offer, and one you certainly wouldn’t immediately associate with the famous stout brewery. Indeed, Hop House 13 is a larger.
Before we get down to it, its best to think to yourself, what is a larger? To your Average Joe, a larger is a nice, light and crisp, pale-ish beverage, with a balanced tasted and aroma, highly carbonated and the almost definitely the most refreshing of things to drink on a hot sunny day. So, to go from producing a stout to a lager is quite the turnaround to say the least.
What is Hop House 13 like as a lager? The Hop House 13 is brewed with a collection of hops from both Australia and the US. Although it contains American hops, it doesn’t go down the route of the modern era of brewing in the States, where everything is hopped up to the eyeballs. It has a sweetish, fruity aroma of apricots and peach, unsurprising giving that Topaz and Galaxy hops are in there. There is also a subtle maltiness to the nose, which is not entirely unpleasing, cutting through the fruit. It is a nice, clear golden colour, punctuated by the medium to high carbonation, giving it a decent, but not overwhelmingly large head that suits the British Isles perfectly.
And the taste? This certainly follows the aroma. It is fruity and light, with a distinctive sweetness behind the fruit. It has a good hoppy taste, but is not overpoweringly so, and the sweetness helps in preventing it tasting too bitter as a result. In the fashion of lagers, it is certainly refreshing. Does this appeal to you? We found it to be quite easy to drink, although it certainly benefits from being properly chilled. It is an interesting step, and although we found it might bee too carbonated for our liking and perhaps overly fruity, it will certainly look the part on tap in between your Carlsbergs and Kronenbergs on tap at your local.
Why did they brew a lager, you might ask? We were wondering too. Its just a natural progression for the Brewer’s Project as they look to output interesting new Guinness drinks which can introduce the brand to the wider market. We have seen these steps in the West Indies and Dublin porters, and more recently the Golden Ale, so now they’re taking another step forward. We met with Fedora, a brewer at the St James Gate Dublin Brewery, and were told that this is definitely not the last thing to come from them, with some wonderful new developments on the horizon.
Guinness Hop House 13 is not going to be everywhere in the UK immediately, mind you. Those chaps in Ireland have had it for a while now, since February, and it seems to be doing well. Initially here some select retailers will have bottles and boxes, followed up by the big stores like Tesco and Morrisons stocking them. Only a few pubs will have this on tap though, and if you haven’t been to the Toucan yet, we recommend going down there for a pint. You’ll have to keep an eye out though, and given it isn’t quite so heavily Guinness branded as the other brews, you will need to look closely.