One popular trend in craft beer is single hop brews, which highlight the flavors of a single variety of hops. Many brewers make a series of single hopped beers, typically using the same malts/yeast/water and hop schedule and just switching the variety of hops used to brew. Brewmaster Jack of Northhampton, MA has a slightly different approach to their Hop Essence series of single hopped beers. Each entry in the Hop Essence series is a completely different beer, with the malt and yeast selected to complement the unique attributes of the hop. One of the recent releases in the series uses Motueka, a descendant of the Saaz hop grown in New Zealand. To highlight this hop, Brewmaster Jack constructed a beer with the malt bill of a German Maibock, but fermented at higher temperature with an ale yeast. The final beer is probably more of an IPA than a Maibock, but I’ll stick with the classification provided by the brewer.
Brewmaster Jack Motueka pours a clear bright orange with a solid but quickly dissipating white head. The smell is all hops, mostly resin and dank notes with just a touch of citrus. The taste is also very hop-forward, again favoring woodsy flavors like pine and cut grass followed by a little lemon. There are some malts in the backbone, just a touch of biscuit and caramel, but the hops sing here. Brewmaster Jack Motueka is solidly bitter but goes down smoothly. At 8.3% ABV it has a bit of kick, but the alcohol doesn’t come through in the flavor at all. The finish is very clean with a lasting bitterness on the tongue. Overall this is a great way to showcase a lesser known variety of hops. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Brewmaster Jack reviews: