If you've ever turned on a television, you've seen beer commercials boasting all sorts of empty claims: "brewed longer!", "cold filtered!", "wide-mouth swirling vortex delivery system!". Miller, in particular, is fond of saying "triple hops brewed." For the uninitiated, this can be misleading -- while the implication is that more hops are used in the creation of the beer, the truth is simply that hops are added to the boil at three points during the boiling process, standard procedure for most beer production. Based on the bittering character and hop aromas in Miller, they seemingly only add three hops ... total. But when local Drake's Brewing Co. advertises a beer as triple-hopped, they're talking about something far more substantive.
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Drake's is known for nailing all manner of beer styles, but its hop-forward brews are some of the most notable. During the summer, the brewery release a pair of sister IPAs called Aroma Coma and Aroma Prieta. Aroma Coma features generous dosing of American hops such as Cascade, Chinook, and Citra. These particular varietals smack of citrus and pine. The beer's counterpart, Aroma Prieta, features hops from New Zealand. These Southern Hemisphere hops, such as Nelson Sauvin, Pacific Jade, and Motueka, lend aromas of stone fruit, grapefruit, and white wine. In addition to many hop additions during the boil, both beers are "double dry-hopped," meaning that hops are added to the batch after the boiling process at two different intervals. This process greatly augments the beer's hop aroma without contributing any bitterness.
Now, the twist! Drake's has taken both of these beers and put them into firkins (or, "casks"). This style of service creates a natural, unforced, delicate carbonation. Cask beers are served near-ambient temperature, and allow flavor subtleties of various ingredients to come to the fore. To boot, the brewery has topped off the casks with a fresh dose of hops, so the beer has benefited from three post-boil hop additions (that's "triple hops brewing" that we can get behind). To make matters more interesting, each beer was dosed with the opposite hop varietals that it was brewed with -- Aroma Coma received New Zealand hops, while Aroma Prieta was exposed to American hops. Mind blown.
Tomorrow, July 18th, you can taste both casks at Public House beginning at 4 p.m. Brewers and reps from Drake's will be on-hand to chat about all things hoppy. For those who can't make it tomorrow, the casks will also make an appearance in the South Bay at Harry's Hofbrau (San Jose location) on July 31st at 6 p.m. Hopheads, start your engines.