Two of the people I met at Good Beer Week were the brewer from Feral, Brendan, and his wife, Gabby. Both great people, but I’m not too familiar with their beers. I have heard their reputation, which is great, and most recently the Hop Hog won the Champion Ale award at the 2011 AIBA, so when I spotted this in my local bottle shop, I figured now is a great time to give it a whirl.
Oh wait, I kind of did the basics in the intro… This is awkward…wait, I missed some things. West Australia, 5.8%, Macaulay Cleanskins, $17 for four (pricey!).
How does it look?
I’m not going to lie, I really don’t like Feral’s packaging… it’s a little… too close to being Hog’s Breath Cafe. To be honest, all of their beers look very West Australian… I’ve never been to West Australia, but if I was there and someone gave me one of their beers, I would look at it and think “well that makes sense”, so maybe they do actually have good packaging. Maybe I’m wrong about the Hog’s Breath Thing. Maybe they know what they are doing?
In the glass, it’s a deep gold and very clear. Initially I thought the head dissipated a little too quickly, but I think the glass I had was a little dirty and on the second pour it stayed round a lot longer.
How does it smell/taste
It’s pretty clear they have called this the Hop Hog for a reason. That distinct bitter passionfruit smell of fresh hops is all over this.
Tasting is a little different. It is very lively in the mouth, much more than expected. You can let this sit in your mouth and really enjoy the freshness of the whole thing. After swallowing, it rapidly evolves; citrus, passionfruit, hops, bitterness. The hops and bitterness really set up camp in your mouth, but the passionfruit is still around as well (I toyed with doing an awful “passionfruit tending to the campfire” analogy there. It was so bad that I needed to share)
When should I drink it
I know the stereotypical Australian man drinks watery beer while eating meat pies and watching the footy, but fuck that. Next time your mates are over for ‘the big game’ (That’s a phrase that people never say on real life, but ALWAYS do on TV. This amuses me.) break out some Hop Hogs, some good spicy sausage, salami and cheese and everyone will be a lot happier… except for that guy that says “it’s a bit weird, got any Carlton Draught”. But that jerk complains at everything so who cares what he says.
In my last review I said that beer doesn’t have to be an overhopped IPA like current trends indicate. However, being a beer nerd and a bit of a hop head, I’m always happy when it is. This is a great beer. It’s lively enough to give some balance to the hops, but it is still hop heavy. A really enjoyable beer.
I rate it; 4 Passionfruit Campfires.