Glassware: The sweet malts and hop bouquet within the aroma is something that must be experienced, so glassware that helps capture these qualities is best. The Spiegelau IPA glass is a first choice when selecting glassware, but a snifter or tulip glass will work well.
Description: Stegmaier’s Grand Hoppa pours a deep golden amber hue with bright white head that leaves behind a thick layer of lacing on the glass. The aroma is extremely hop forward with delicious notes of mangoes, peaches, melons, and passionfruit with backing notes of sweet malts providing perfect balance. The taste follows the nose with hops hitting the palate first bringing with it a bouquet of tropical and citrus fruits followed by touch of pine and spice before the sweet malts rush in to sooth the palate. The medium-full body and moderate carbonation are perfect for the style and the long dry finish will leave you wanting more after each sip. Grand Hoppa is a phenomenal take on a very popular beer style and proves that no matter how popular a style is there is always room for one more, especially when it is this good.
Food pairing: The rich malty character and wonderfully aggressive hop profile make this a beer great with rich spicy dishes. Mexican dishes are an absolute dream pairing with Grand Hoppa, dishes with a spicy cream sauce will only enhance the pairing. A truly delightful brunch pairing is with Huevos Rancheros, the spicy chili sauce and light eggs will melt into the malt and the wonderful fruit notes from the hops will enliven the dish and make it a perfect way to start the day. Chicken covered with a mole sauce is a wonderful counterpart with this beer. The spicy chilies in the sauce will have met their match against the sweetness from the malts and the hops will bring out the natural flavors of the chicken while the carbonation will scrub the palate clean and leave a perfectly dry finish behind. Surprisingly, Grand Hoppa is a great dessert beer thanks to the wonderful malt selection and dry finish. Staying with a Spanish inspired theme, try pairing with Tres Leches cake, translated as three milks cake, which is a thick and creamy sponge cake. The malts will bring out the wonderful sweetness within the dish and the hops while acting like a fruit-like topping. The beer will clean up this heavy cream-laden dessert and leave you wanting more.
The Final Word: Stegmaier has a long, rich tradition for the local area dating back more than 100 years. This rich tradition put the brewery in a perfect position to reach the “old school” beer drinkers in a way that many new craft breweries cannot. With the release of beers in their new Cellar Series, such as Grand Hoppa, the brewery shows they can still compete with any newcomers to the craft beer scene. Grand Hoppa is a perfect display of hops and balanced malts that even the most discerning of craft beer drinkers will have to stand up and take notice. It is extremely easy drinking and can hold its head high next to some of the most sought after DIPAs on the market. It is an absolute must-try beer for all those who may have written Stegmaier off, this beer will reawaken you to how great Stegmaier’s beers really are and what you have been missing.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Stegmaier Brewing Company
Beer: Grand Hoppa
Style: American Double/ Imperial IPA
Weekender Rating: WWWWV