DISCLAIMER: I don't really think Brendan in my nemesis, but the illusion seems fun. Dan has actually called me a 'beer prick'. He even suggested that we have a T-shirt made stating his opinion of me. It was loud in the room when we called me this. Maybe he actually called me a ... nevermind.
Naughty Hildegard ESB 2011 (Driftwood)
Ratebeer rating: Who cares? It is all about my discriminative palate.
Beer Advocate: ditto!
Driftwood's yearly release is a welcome glassful to local beer connoisseurs. The Hildegard is a West Coast interpretation of the English extra special bitter style (ESB). It should be noted that this beverage is 0.3% above the BCJP guidelines for alcohol content of an ESB. The appearance is spot on with excellent clarity and only the faintest hint of cloudiness. A colour of tarnished copper and lightly roasted russet potatoes is pleasing. Low carbonation is permissible and welcome as it lends itself to the ease of consumption.
The aroma is refreshingly West Coast and moderate in hop intensity. No one hop dominated the bouquet: pine, faint citrus, herbal and slightly resinous hints nested together nicely. Not to be forgotten was the slightly subdued fruity, caramel and alcohol accompaniments.
Mouthfeel is a little more full than medium-full. This was expected with the slightly higher ABV content. The astringency was wonderfully restrained and set the stage for a pleasant alcohol warmth.
At the upfront taste, the first thought was overly hoppy for an ESB. Normally a more malty profile is presented. It is energizing to see Driftwood break the style and provide a hoppier version for Cascadian palates. The hop assault was earthy, piney (spruce), lightly citrus and spicy. It was been a long time since I have detected black currants in an ESB:well done! Once the hop wash evaporated, caramel coated pecans became present in the malt linger. A mixed fruit ester made is difficult ascertain a particular emphasis.
The finish was dry, mineraly, dusty and coated the tongue with long lingering resinous hops. There was no sulfur detected in the aftertaste. Overall I found the Driftwood 2011 release of the Naughty Hildegard to be F'IN AWESOME. April fools everyone. I know it is after noon, but I worked all day and never had a chance to trick anyone.
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%
Value +1 Certainly a recommendation but not suitable for cellaring
Appearance +1 Driftwood has some of the nicest artwork in the biz.