by Hop Nation USA Steve
It's only been over a year since something other than new podcast episodes were posted to the website. I think I've found something to write about on a semi-irregular basis, though. I introduce The Blending Chalice.
What is it?
A big ass chalice I found in a thrift shop I'm going to blend two beers of what I think will be complimentary flavors.
I grew up in the 90's mixing Cherry Coke and root beer at Rax. Plus cuvées are a thing and plenty of breweries like Firestone Walker offer blended barrel offerings.
Hitchhiker Clouded Distraction x Grist House Hops of Darkness: How Does it Taste?
This seemed like a lay up for a first time experiment. Two dark and bitter beers, and also two of the best beers I've had in the past couple months. Here's a quick breakdown of the two beers on their own.
Not hard to see the complimentary profiles in the beers.
So how does the Clouds of Darkness taste? It's great, as long as you love these styles to begin with. It does become a more bitter drinking experience. The bitterness from the Distraction is more likely achieved through grain bill, while the HoD achieves its bitter profile through grain bill and hops.
Neither fully overpowers the flavor of the other. The Distraction, on its own, has a more "breakfasty" taste to it. However in the blend, HoD's bitterness overpowers the coffee notes. The smoked flavor does not abate, though, and you get some added complexity from the black IPA. Will this completely blow your palate up and make it hard to enjoy delicate flavors? Yes. If you're drinking this, you're not going to follow it with a hazy IPA or wheat or pilsner.
As a blend, absolutely worth a try. Should go well with coffee or chocolate ice cream, Nutella straight off the butter knife or a Black n Mild.
Send your blend suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe I'll try it.