With the whole country again on the brink of yet another Australia day and awaiting with bated breath the results of two hottest 100 countdowns we thought it an opportune time to review what appears to be an enduring* favourite of our countryfolk in the hottest 100 beer stakes.
The Feral Hop Hog is a 5.8% India Pale Ale, or perhaps not so ‘India’ Pale Ale as Pale Ale, if Feral’s new labelling is to be believed.
Nevertheless, the Feral website still describe their Hop Hog as “an American style India Pale Ale… [with] a heavy dose of American Hops [added] during both the boil and late in the fermenting stage to give Hop Hog a strong pine needle and citrus aroma, followed by an aggressive bitterness and a dry finish.”
On popping the cap, the aroma swings a heavy punch my way. It’s deliciously robust in it’s fruity hoppiness. There are undertones of pine and citrus as Feral suggest but for me the prevailing scent is one of tropical fruits – passionfruit mostly with some snippets of pineapple thrown in the mix. Admittedly, passionfruit is an aroma I often discern in American-styled IPAs and pale ales and it’s quite possibly a personal bias on my part so nevermind if you have a completely different experience. In any event it’s a glorious aroma and certainly one to savour.
In colour it’s rich, golden and slightly cloudy and its thick, foamy head has me salivating. (That, and I know it tastes bloody good.) Swilling it around in my glass to make the most of that delectable aroma I’m further impressed by the foaminess and its lathering a thin film upon all that it touches. So good. Its tiny bubbles of carbonation appear effortless as they rise so elegantly and eagerly to the surface all in the name of that ever-persistent head.
On the palate, it’s a burst of medium yet enduring bitterness with a delicate fruity sweetness to it. Passionfruit again abounds in the fruit stakes adding a certain tartness to the beer’s bitter backbone. The carbonation hits the spot and adds to the beer’s overall refreshment value. Well-balanced with great depth, the fruitflies are loving it and so am I.
The balance that’s been struck between all elements of this beer are what makes it a winner and hard to pass up against its competitors. All pieces of the puzzle that make up this beer are close to perfection if not perfection itself. It’s second to none (or maybe a select few). Brilliant! Cheers to Feral and anyone drinking this this Australia Day. We make some damn fine beer in this country.
* Hop Hog has been in the top 4 beers since the Hottest 100 Australian Craft Beers began in 2010 and took out top spot last year for the 2012 countdown.
- Genre: IPA
- Regionality: Swan Valley, WA
- Strength: 5.8%
- Rating: 3 / 3 taste + 2 / 2 ancillaries = 5 / 5
- Plus: It’s got it all. In spades.
- Minus: It’s been around so long you’ve probably moved on to newer, more exciting beers and forgotten how good it is.