Pursuit of Hoppiness American Red was brewed to showcase the role of hops in the flavor of beer. Like all of our 2009 Cellar Reserve series, it was brewed in strict compliance with the Reinheitsgebot, or German Beer Purity Law.
Hops are a climbing plant, a member of the nettle family that also includes mulberry, elm, and hops' closest cousin, Cannabis sativa. Hops have been a key ingredient in beer for at least several centuries, and perhaps even longer. They might be the plant mentioned in the Jewish Talmud in relation to "strong drink." Pliny described them in his Natural History, saying the hop grew "wild among the willows, like a wolf among sheep." Hops' scientific name, Humulus lupulus comes from the Latin lupus, or wolf.
Since the 8th century hops have been included in descriptions of monasteries, particularly in Bohemia, southern Germany, northern France and Flanders, but the first undisputed reference to hops in beer is by the Benedictine Sister Hildegarde (1098-1179). Her natural history writings mention hops and ash leaves in beer (and cannabis as a cure for headaches).
Perhaps because of their superior preservative qualities, hops have become by far the dominant spice in beer. Hops lower the pH of beer, protecting it from spoilage. They provide flavor, aroma, and bitterness to balance the natural sweetness of the malt. Scientists have identified more than 300 natural chemical compounds in hops' essential oils, and professional tasters have come up with scores of aroma and flavor comparisons, from anise, basil and cedar to tobacco, violets and wet hay.
The hops grown in the United States are considered to be some of the best in the world. Compared to their more traditionally subdued, elegant European counterparts, American hops are bold, bright, piney and zesty.
Pursuit of Hoppiness was brewed to showcase the brash beauty of American hops: Summit, Simcoe, Chinook and Nuggets at 100 International Bitterness Units (IBU). It was brewed with Idaho 2-Row malted barley and German specialty malts to provide a rich, slightly caramel flavor and bold reddish color. At 22 degrees Plato starting gravity and about 8% alcohol by volume, this is a perfect autumn beer, thick and warming, to be shared and savored on a crisp fall evening.
A wonderful beer with food, Pursuit of Hoppiness' slightly sweet, caramel flavors complement any grilled meat, chicken, barbecue, salmon, or (perfect for the fall) roasted root vegetables. It's great with pizza and robust pasta dishes. The spicy, citrusy hops even play nicely with our favorite autumn dessert, pumpkin pie.
As is traditional, and like all of our Cellar Reserve beers, Pursuit of Hoppiness is bottle-conditioned so it will age well if properly stored. Because hop flavor and bitterness diminish with time, though, we recommend you drink this one fresh. The yeast in the bottle provides earthy, nutty flavor and is rich in B vitamins. It can be swirled and poured into the glass, or the beer can be decanted carefully off the yeast, according to the drinker’s preference.