by Nathan Hak Beer journalist at Beerwulf.com
Nathan’s selectionBeerwulf’s favourite beers
The Beerwulf team is made up of beer lovers, as you might expect. In this series, we ask the people behind Beerwulf what their favourite beers are. I’ll get the ball rolling.
Brewdog Jack Hammer
I’m a real hophead. Although I do find balance important in my beer, I can’t get enough of hops. I love the incredible variety of aromas that hops give to the beer and that slow, bitter aftertaste. Brewdog’s Jack Hammer is a great example. Legend has it that the number of IBUs (international bitterness units) exceeds 200, but this is more likely to be around the still considerable mark of 120 IBU. I can taste strong notes of citrus fruit, such as grapefruit, in the Jack Hammer - the sweetness balances out the flavours beautifully and the aftertaste is slow and bitter. Personally, I find it quite soft as well, though that might just be me.
Tripel is the beer of choice for many people and I can certainly enjoy one too. The standard tripel, also known as ‘the mother of Tripels’, is of course the Westmalle. In my opinion, it’s unrivalled. It’s got a wonderfully sweet smell, with notes of banana. It’s full-bodied, full of flavour and has a fairly robust aftertaste.
I was recently lucky enough to try the Westmalle Tripel in combination with a fairly strongly hopped and robust IPA. I predicted that the IPA would overwhelm the Westmalle Tripel, because of its intense flavours. But the Westmalle put on a good show - yet another confirmation that it’s an incredibly solid beer.
De Molen Hemel & Aarde
I’m a real fan of heavy beers. Russian Imperial Stout is one example. I like a Russian Imperial Stout with a nice full body, plenty of roasted aromas (like coffee and cocoa), and a slight sweetness. I like it when it’s a little syrupy, mostly because then I get to use the word viscosity. “This stout has a good amount of viscosity.”
Hemel & Aarde from De Molen has a good viscosity. In any case, you can’t go wrong with a Russian Imperial Stout from De Molen. This is down to the generous use of peat-smoked Bruichladdich (Broeg-laddy) malt. This gives it strong peaty and smoked aromas, like that of an Islay Whisky. These are distinctive flavours which won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I love them. You’ll also get tones of chocolate and coffee, which balance the flavours perfectly. This really is a beer to enjoy at a leisurely pace and certainly one to titillate your taste buds.
In addition to these fairly heavy beers, I do enjoy a good pilsner. It should be tight, without unnecessary additives and crisp. Not too sweet, but dry. Pilsner Urquell has all of the above - it’s a real icon. A freshly tapped Pilsner Urquell with a creamy head will give you subtle fruit aromas from the Saazer hop. And the tight aftertaste is fantastic! Even at home, before dinner, it’s a great thirst-quencher. This is the best pilsner around as far as I’m concerned.
I tried a Pilsner Urquell Mlíko (milk) in the Czech Republic once. By opening up the tap a bit, the barman mostly fills your glass with head. It looks a bit strange, like a kind of whippy ice cream. It’s a creamy, soft peak of foam with a really strong Saaz hop flavour. Fun to try!