Adelbert’s Scratchin’ Hippo

Beer Review: Adelbert’s Scratchin’ Hippo

Today we are reviewing Scratchin’ Hippo, a Bière de Garde from the Austin, TX Adelbert’s Brewery. Brewed in the style of a traditional, rustic, artisanal French farmhouse ale, Scratchin’ Hippo won the 2013 Craft Beer Awards Gold Medal, the 2014 Silver Medal from Best Little Brewfest in Texas, and the 2015 Gold Medal from Best Little Brewfest.

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Adelbert’s Brewery

Adelbert’s Brewery is committed to brewing Belgian-style, bottle-conditioned ales for people to seek, savor, and share with others.  We believe quality beers require quality ingredients and a painstaking attention to detail throughout the brewing process.  We use Bohemian old-world floor malted barley, low alpha Noble Czech hops, and fresh yeast propagated at the brewery. In our seven vessel brewhouse, we use a time-consuming, multi-temperature decoction mash technique which extracts a more complex flavor from our grains.

We produce a gambit of hand-crafted Belgian style ales right here in Austin, Texas. With our vast array of beer styles, you’re sure to find a brew that suits you.

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Bière de Garde

A traditional classification for the farmhouse ales of France and their sometimes-untraditional new-world counterparts, Bière de Garde (“beer for keeping”) is a strong pale ale traditionally brewed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France. These beers were originally brewed in farmhouses during the winter and spring, to avoid unpredictable problems with the yeast during the summertime. Farmhouse production is now supplemented by commercial production, although most Bière de Garde brewers are small businesses.

Typically, beers of this tradition are of a copper colour or golden colour, and as the name suggests the origins of this style lies in the tradition that it was matured or cellared for a period of time once bottled (and most sealed with a cork), to be consumed later in the year, akin to a Belgian Saison.

Most varieties are top-fermented and unfiltered, although bottom-fermented and filtered versions exist. Particularly authentic products, using only regional ingredients, are entitled to use the Appellation d’origine contrôlée, “Pas de Calais/Region du Nord.

Bière de Gardes are bound more by philosophy rather than a narrow set of perceptible parameters. Some are blond, others, brown. Either ale or lager yeast may be used. Adjunct or sugar is added to some, others are all-malt. Hops can be from France, Germany, the Czech Republic, or even Belgium. What they all share, regardless of color, is a soft maltiness, crisp finish, subdued hop profile, spicy background and a hint of mustiness. Essentially, bière de garde may be a style full of idiosyncratic sub-styles to the point of being absolutely individualistic. Maddening for stylistic evaluation, but artistic to the end.

 

Review: Adelbert’s Scratchin’ Hippo
  • STYLE: French Red Ale / Bière de Garde2015_Adelberts_ScratchinHippo_Trinity
  • ALC/VOL: 6.9%
  • IBUS: 30.0

Appearance: The color is amber red and it has a rather delicate, thin foam that dissipates quite quickly.

Nose: Strong aromas of roasted malt, softly sweet caramel, a hint of blackberry and raisins, cocoa, with a touch of earthiness.

Taste: Follows the nose very closely.  The maltiness is most prominent; soft roasted malt, a hint of blackberry and maybe even some purple grapes, and sweet notes of caramel and cocoa. Medium body. Maybe just a slightly tannic dryness.

Finish: Soft sweet malt, softly bitter roasted malt influence, caramel.

Overall: Adelbert’s seems to be very good at making beers that are very clean, well-defined and that hit the right notes for the style. Scratchin’ Hippo has a great “personality,” with a wonderful balance and bright flavors.

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Sources:

http://allaboutbeer.com/article/biere-de-garde-2/ 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bi%C3%A8re_de_Garde

http://austin.taphunter.com/beer/Adelberts-Scratchin-Hippo

 

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