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Hop Studio Blonde - abv 3.5%; £1.95 / 50cl
This week’s beer must be one the youngest ever to appear in this column.
The Hop Studio brewery, based in Elvington, only came into existence at the end of 2011, and started brewing just three or four months ago.
Either they had a bit of experience before opening, or they have learned a great deal in a very short time, because the beer seems very professionally made. Four bottled beers are currently available, among them this week’s Blonde.
The colour is at the darker end of the blonde spectrum, and there is a steady, half-inch head. The aroma is invitingly sweet, with elements of honey, lemon drops, vanilla custard, and a hint of rose-petal reminiscent of a gewürztraminer wine.
In the mouth it is quite light-bodied with a soft, foamy texture and a zippy, zesty, lemon-peel bitterness that almost overwhelms the mild, biscuity malt… almost but not quite.
That bitterness clings and grows in the aftertaste with some robust, tannic notes at the finish.
The label identifies Chinook, Cascade and Nelson Sauvin hops in the brew, which accounts for the aromatic features of a beer that doesn’t hide its bitterness under a bushel.