The SOB Beer Blog
Our rants about beer and beer culture.
Hop Candy Review
12.30.2012 02:00 AM
One of the perks of being a writer is the ability to drink on the job.
In fact, alcohol is usually encouraged and formally condoned as a catalyst to creativity! Europeans have been allowed to drink on their lunch breaks at work for over 100 years in some places. (So what if you drive a truck for a living? Beer on break is a God-given right!)
If you’re one of the people who live under the oppressive American system, then you’ll be happy to know there is something that can take the edge off a long, beer-less day of work: B-Hoppy, The Original Hop Candy!
These little gems are the brainchild of Bob Bero, a beer enthusiast from Lowellville, Ohio. He created the flavors using real hop oil, not some sick artificial flavoring. He pitched them to us as a “love or hate” experience, so naturally, we were intrigued and had to try them.
East Kent Golding
True to beer tasting form, we start with the hazy, opaque yellow hard candy. This premium type of smooth, sweet hops comes from England and was exceedingly popular prior to 1790. It’s heavy on Humulene Oil, with solid amounts of Myrcene and Caryophyllene. You can find East Kent Golding hops in Brooklyn IPA, Sly Fox East Kent Golding IPA, Samuel Adams Ale, Dark Star Brewery Critical Mass, and Allagash Brewery Confluence Ale, to name a few.
This candy is not much to smell – a little faint Christmas Tree, but that’s about it. One would imagine a “hops-flavored candy” to be a bitter, mouth-puckering experience, yet this one surprised us. The nose is a light pine hops, with notes of sugar cane. It’s not sickeningly sweet, nor is it bitter, so we rate this candy high for balance!
Next is the hazy translucent Kermit-the-Frog green hard candy. This one smells like absolutely nothing at all – which could be good or bad. Cascade hops is a very American-style of “pale ale” hops. It’s often described as botanical and citrusy hops, albeit light in flavor. Cascade is high in Myrcene, with Humulene coming in second and a little more Farnesene Oil than East Kent Golding hops. You can find this variety in Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Ithaca Beer Company Apricot Wheat, and New Belgium Brewing Company Mighty Arrow Pale Ale.
Cascade leads with the raw sugar cane flavor and carries the mere memory of hops on your breath. It won’t necessarily satiate your craving for raw, pure hops madness, but it’s very non-offensive. Light grassy, floral notes are present. Perhaps save these for people who haven’t had much experience with hoppy beers.
Lastly, we pop one the translucent brown hard candy into our big gaping mouths. Darkness usually spells strength, poignancy and character. This candy is named after a revolutionary style of Czech hops noteworthy for its herbal notes. Humulene Oil is highest in this variety, but there is also a very high level of Farnesene as well. You’ll find SAAZ hops in Troegs Brewery Dream Weaver, Harpoon Brewery Big Bohemian Pilsner, and Dogfish Head Black & Blue.
SAAZ smells of syrupy, bitter hops. If you’ve ever brewed your own beer at home, then you will recognize this aroma immediately. The taste is very reminiscent of that brown, syrupy, wonderful goo dripping down into the pot after you’ve boiled the mash in a steaming hot kettle for a while. There are grassy notes and almost a faint flavor of marijuana or tobacco, although these ingredients are obviously nowhere in the mix! This candy is ideal for those moments when you’d rather be home micro-brewing.
The idea of hops-flavored candy intrigues us and opens a whole new world of enjoying beer in all its forms.
Does the future hold Guinness hard candy? Victory Prima Pils hard candy? The possibilities are endless! Will we see candies flavored like different types of malt and yeast that can be mixed and matched to create a microbrew in your mouth? Only time will tell! I’d like to encounter some flavors that really pack a flavorful punch with notes of citrus and spruce. The science of beer-flavored candy is just in its infancy, but the good news is: it’s here.
Will we crave this candy day and night? Perhaps not. Perhaps we’ll just stock secret stash in our desks and slap at people’s hands when they try to steal it. Maybe when drinking a lackluster beer, we’ll pop one of these candies down the gullet to see if it improves the flavor.
And we’ll keep a few on hand to offer pregnant women at parties. It could make a neat novelty to give a hop-head as a Christmas gift. We will probably tell all our friends about it.
Where To Get Them:
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