On our final morning in Seattle we needed to shower, pack, check out and make it to a liquor store so I could pick up some bottles to bring home. It was a mad dash but totally worth it. Most of my choices were beers that are common in the States that I had heard of previously but had never had the chance to try, except for one, this one was recommended to me by the local beer geek sitting behind the counter of Downtown Spirits on 7th Ave. Its Old Schoolhouse Fresh Hop IPA.
I requested something from Washington State that leaned towards the piney, citrusy side rather then the funky, dusty side that seemed so popular in places like Elysian Brewery. The range of Fresh Hop beers they had was extensive and we had little time to discuss the ins and outs of each, so after a brief conversation this was shoved in with the rest and off we went (getting in 0.1kg over the baggage weight but getting away with it). The pour is smooth, releasing a dark straw beer that supports a thin(ish) fluffy white head and wafting beautiful resinous pine aromas up towards my nose.
Up close the aroma is even more pronounced, so piney it almost reminds me of brand new rubber. It also carries a little sweet lemon citrus and almost no malt, the hops seem to be stealing the show. First sip and the rubbery hops are still at play, and in abundance. Its a drawn out rounded dose of strong piney hops, warming on the palette, a little off putting at first but heaven for a hophead. The bitterness isn't too dominating, but its definitely present, letting the flavours do some work before cutting in at the finish. Its got a medium, slightly sticky body with hints of honey like sweetness.This beer really works, its a great mix of a solid malt bill and beautifully fresh hops that makes for a really pleasant experience.
For me it ticks all the boxes of a great IPA, plenty of hop flavouring, not to harsh on the bitterness and a solid malt body underneath to balance the equation. Some of the beer I drank in Seattle really blew my mind, theres fantastic stuff happening there, especially in Elysian where they deserve an honourable mention for Kama Citra Wet Hop Ale, a fantastic mix of malt and citrus hops to make one of the greatest beers I've ever drank. This is a great little reminder of only one of the reasons I can't wait to go back to Seattle, and its only been three weeks since my trip. Top marks for effort and a full recommendation for Old Schoolhouse.
Thirsty and Miserable.