James Squire ‘Hop Thief’ Varietal hop series no.7 APA


imageIt has long been our philosophy to avoid such breweries like CUB, Lion Nathan etc. and it can also extend to breweries like Matilda Bay and James Squire but there are exceptions and this varietal hop series from James Squire is one of those exceptions. This year they are up to release number 7 which showcases the aromatic and high-alpha Galaxy (Australian) and Mosaic (USA) hops. Let’s imbibe.

Served in a shaker glass the translucent amber pour generates a compacted beige cap that maintains really well but eventually reduces to a fine covering on top. Reasonably good head retention, just slightly lacking in lacing. That word ‘lacking’ has no place in the aroma as this pair of brilliant hops offers up big, tropical fruity perfumes of lychee, passion fruit, mango and pineapple. A presence of light florals are also flowing through. It’s never a perfect aroma without a solid malt backing and pale, crystal & Munich malts all work together to enhance the caremelly, honey-like aromas and the nice dark colour. Exceptional aroma! Now, on to the flavour. In the mouth it feels smooth and oily with moderate carbonation. Medium body. Following on from the aroma, the hops are providing a big splash of tropical fruits to kick start the flavour profile. A well behaved but firm bitterness is mildly nullified by the sweet caramelly/biscuity malts through the mid resulting in a dry, fruity finish. Good legs, hanging about on the tongue nicely between sips. 5% ABV is spot on. Well it’s easy to say that this varietal hop series is what saves this brewery from commercialism. Although it’s tough to say which hop combination is the best, they all get the thumbs up from us. Another fine offering.