I usually review new, or noteworthy, releases in Victoria. While this brew is not new, it is notable. While a ESB is usually a balanced beverage, this naughty one leans towards the hops. This seems appropriate for the hop-happy PNW palate. If someone put club soda through a hop back, locals would line up for a taste.
Naughty Hildegard (2012) = 8/10
Once the nose hits the glass, you know your hophead cravings will be satisfied. It is all here: floral, sweet ruby red grapefruit and pine hop nasal offerings. At the start, hop astringency alerts you as to its intentions. It is not gripping like an IPA; more like a hernia exam. Hops start with an even mix of cedar/pine, sweet grapefruit and hidden bubblegum. This yields to a malt middle of caramel/toffee and bread. After the liquid descends with a warm passing, the vapours reincarnate the hop invitation. It is a vicious palate circle that we are all doomed to repeat. This brew excels in its simplicity but enjoyable predictability.
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%ABV