Sunday, March 4, 2012

Shmaltz Brewing Company - Hop Manna

Hop Manna is a deep-rust color with surprising clarity. Since this beer used three hop varieties during an extensive dry-hopping process, I was expecting the finished product to have some level of haze, however, this IPA had clarity that parallels a clean, crisp pilsner. There is excellent head retention that creates a one-finger head, leaving very intricate lacing when it dissipates.
The aroma of this IPA is very assertive, but contains a wonderful brightness full of citrus notes of grapefruit. This explosion of grapefruit is most likely due the use of Cascade and Citra hops during dry-hopping because they have been described to contain a tropical fruit flavor. Along with this tropical fruit flavor, Hop Manna contains a piney hop character and a grain quality that reminds me of terrible breakfasts of fiber and bran cereals. As the beer warmed and was continuously agitated by swirling, the aroma developed a floral quality that was quite nice.
The taste profile was somewhat one-dimensional with the explosion of hops. This one-dimensionality lingered on the palate for what seemed to be an excessive amount of time after each sip. I personally enjoyed the taste lingering because it allowed for a continuous merging of each individual sip. As with the aroma, the taste profile also developed an added complexity after the beer had warmed. It produced a floral character that went well with the citric hoppiness and a hint of peppery spice.
I really enjoyed the full medium body of this IPA. There was a light level of carbonation that may have caused the mouthfeel to feel a little sticky or chewy. Even with this perceived stickiness, I found Hop Manna to be quite smooth and very flavorful.
I am slowly developing a true affinity for the He'Brew Beer side of Shmaltz Brewing Company (Other side = Coney Island). Hop Manna is the newest of the fifteenth anniversary collection that includes: Funky Jewbelation, Genesis 15:15, Jewbelation Fifteen in 22 ounce bottles and Genesis and Messiah in 12 ounce bottles.  Their beers are very flavorful and highly drinkable with an uniqueness and individuality that speaks to me. For all you hopheads out there, this IPA has an acrid character that will definitely please your palate. Give it a try and let me know what you think.


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