Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jacks Abby Brewing- Hoponius Union India Pale Lager

It's not often that a brewery opens near your home.

So when Jacks Abby Brewing opened in Framingham this past summer, I made it a point to show up opening day, on my lunch break, to check it out. I think it was a Thursday, and they only had two beers on tap, the Red Tape Lager, and Saxon Sons Pilsner.  Of course I sampled both, thought they were great (the pilsner, in fact, is waaay beyond great, but that's a story for another time), and I was immediately back on Saturday afternoon for a growler of each.

But it was only recently that I was finally able to get back there to try the beer I've been absolutely craving- the Hoponius Union India Pale Lager.

Yup, that's right, this is not an India Pale Ale, it's an India Pale Lager. If you've read this space previously, you know I love hops, and that I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with IPAs.

But an India Pale Lager?I emailed Jack Hendler, the owner and brewer of Jacks Abby, with a few questions about the style and the beer itself, as I've never heard of an IPL before. Here's what he had to say about his Hoponius Union IPL-

"The Hoponius Union, like all the beer we brew here, is in fact a lager. The one small difference between the rest of our lagers and the HU, is that after primary fermentation we do condition this beer "warm" at 50-55 while we dry hop this beer...twice, before we crash down toward freezing to lager the beer further. This allows for a greater dry hop aroma. We don't filter any of our beers. We fine them to make them clear or bright. This process is most useful with our Hoponius because it allows all the hop flavors and aromas to stay in the beer. We like to call this beer and India Pale Lager. I know of at least two others, but its a non existent beer style. The goal was to create a harmonious union between west coast IPA hop flavor and aroma and lager fermentation."

You simply have to respect a guy who creates a beer style! 

Hoponius Union India Pale Lager
Jacks Abby Brewing, Framingham, MA

This beer pours a beautiful light copper color, with a nice two fingers of white head (the photo doesn't here doesn't do it justice). The head evaporated pretty quickly, and the remaining surface had a nice glossy sheen. 

Smell is awesomely hoppy, very sweet and floral. Its a big, beautiful hop aroma with hints of citrus.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, feels more substantial than a typical ale.

Taste is big- hoppy and bitter, but not over the top. It's clearly unbalanced towards the hops, and this is a great thing.  It's very bright and crisp, with a touch of citrus, and a hint of spice. The Citra, Amarillo, and Centennial hops create a truly unique hop profile that is big on taste and surprisingly light on the bitter.

I loved this beer. Its huge on hop smell and taste, and very modest on the bitter side. There is something to be said for locally brewed beer that is made with great skill, quality ingredients, and an adventurous brewer. If you haven't been to the Jacks Abby Brewery in Framingham, do yourself a favor and check it out (just don't wear a t-shirt with a competing brewery on it, or they may give you some good natured grief). Check out their web site for tasting room hours and local bars that have their beer on tap. Currently their beer is available only by growler at the Framingham Brewery, or on tap at local bars and restaurants.

This beer gets a 4-4.5 on my 1-5 scale.

Special Thanks to Jack Hendler for his quick response to my questions. (And a huge apology for misspelling the name of the brewery in the initial posting.)


Anonymous said...

Great review! I haven't been by the brewery myself but I've had the beer at several bars in Boston. -btw you've misspelled it as "Abbey" several times :) -

Bill said...

Anonymous, thanks for pointing out the spelling error! Such a dumb mistake on my part...hope they let me back into the brewery!

Anonymous said...

Found an IPL in Ann Arbor, MI at Wolverine Brewery..Very Good!