Persephone Brewing Single Hop Series 2015: Brewed in February and released about a week apart from each other, these beers are the result of a special single hop brew project by this Gibsons, BC based brewery. I really love it when breweries make single hop beers, as it is fantastic for palate training as well as learning all about the unique properties of the featured hop variety. Each of these beers were constructed from a simple pale ale recipe which is non intrusive and gets the job done. Each contains 5% alcohol by volume, just enough to make it real without interfering with the single hop variety beyond balancing it out and all four beers have 35 IBUs.
The Tasting Process: I managed to taste these all at the same time after successfully chasing down a bottle of each and refraining from drinking them until the collection was complete. All notes were taken prior to researching any of the hops or reading other reviews of the beers. I cleansed my palate thoroughly between each glass of beer and then after completion I repeated the process to confirm the flavours. For each beer I followed the usual sniff, sip, admire, repeat until finished process while sharing the bottles with my father who did the same.
Single Hop Variety #1 – Galaxy Hop: Originating in Australia, this is a dual purpose hop variety which is supposed to pass on citrus and passion fruit characteristics to your beer. Looking at my tasting notes I tasted lychee, peach, mango, gooseberry, toffee with lemon citrus and a bit of pine bitterness on the finish. Compared to the expected flavours, I got the citrus, but the passion fruit was completely absent which to me comes through as more of a tropical freshness that wasn’t apparent in the beer. I also noted that this one had a fairly well developed bitterness that was strong and lingering.
Single Hop Variety #2 – Calypso Hop: This is an American hop variety which is dual purpose and is intended to give pear, apple and earthy tea characteristics to your beer. From my tasting notes I listed bread malt, herbs, bits of grapefruit, grass with a floral pine resin finish which wasn’t overly bitter, but was quite palate covering. In regards to the intended flavours, I could see some similarities to floral grassy herbs and earthy tea, so I’ll check that off for sure. In regards to apple, I had no detection of that flavour, however I did put strawberry in the aroma so perhaps I had noticed some of the fruit there after all and just didn’t relate it to apple flavours. I found that Calypso showcased a fair amount of malt in the beer versus the other hop varieties which was quite nice.
Single Hop Variety #3 – Eureka Hop: Also known as Hop #05256, with the prospective name being Eureka, this hop variety is meant to give herbs, pine, currants, grapefruit, citrus and tangerine characteristics to your beer. Checking my notes, I tasted orange marmalade, zesty citrus, melon, gooseberry, tea leaves, grapefruit and pine. As compared to the designated flavours I got most of them, minus the currants (which is a flavour I get from a lot of old style ales) with the addition of melon and marmalade which I feel is a sweeter tangerine like flavour. Expect big things from this hop in the future, this beer was delicious and was my favourite of the bunch.
Single Hop Variety #4 – Summit Hop: Another American hop, this one is described as a very high alpha acid bittering hop known to give grapefruit and general citrus characteristics to your beer. Reviewing my taster notes I picked up on herbs, toffee and bread malt and a citrus zesty bitterness. Versus the expected flavours, I noticed that this was a highly bitter and spicy ale with a citrus flavour, so a bit different than the description. I also noted a unique warming sensation from this version compared to the rest that was quite different from most beers.
Four Hop Combo – At the very end I mixed all for equally and the result was actually pretty good. The beer still had the usual bread and toffee malts, accompanied by some nice tropical fruit, herbs and bitter pine that made for a very pleasant pale ale experience.
The Conclusion: I refrained from rating any of these, as to me they are made to showcase the hop variety and weren’t meant to be rated in the same manner as a normal release. Sure they were good beers, but their ultimate purpose is a bit different. It was a wonderful experience to try all of these at the same time, they are very, very different beers because of the distinct hop varieties and I felt this was the perfect way to experience them. If you ever get a chance to do this, whether it be through home brewing small batches or through a brewery, I really encourage it. To Persephone, I sincerely hope you do these again as it was well received by everyone I talked to. As well, be sure to double down on Eureka, that hop is going to be very popular I believe.
From their Instagram Account, here’s a photo they took when they were serving all of these at the brewpub on Feb 28th which would have been cool to try as well.