April 25 2019 – Simon Yarwood
By Charlotte Knowlson
Hop heads from all over the country flocked to Northern Monk Leeds this sunny Easter weekend to sample beers from some of the best breweries from the UK and beyond. Hop City is a festival of mighty hop flavours, which, after its 3rd year, has become established as one of the best craft beer events in the UK. Naturally, we convinced ourselves that we wouldn’t be doing our jobs properly if we didn’t hop on a train over the Pennines and join in the hop-worship.
As long as you enjoy hoppy beers, there was something for absolutely every palate: face-scrunching sours, dank and boozy DIPAs, juicy New England IPAs, hazy hop-bombs burning with lupulin, crisp lagers, lactose-laden soupy stuff, super-fruity nonsense… we could go on. This year, they dispensed with the token system, choosing instead to include all beers in the ticket price. This meant festival-goers could indulge in more pours and try a wider array of beers… but it also meant they needed to have steely self-control to remain anywhere near sober. Unfortunately, we rather lack in the self-control department. But here’s a few of our top picks from when we were compos-mentis enough to remember where we were and what we were drinking:
Hudson Valley - Ikigai - Sour IPA - 7%: Hudson Valley brewing collaborated
with renowned Asian-American restaurant Momofuku to create a devastatingly delicious sour IPA. It pours a hazy, glowing pink which heralds intense fruity plum, but perhaps does not hint at its true complexity of flavour.
There is a lightness from the basmati rice, and a floral lemongrass-y note, while the milk sugar sweetness balances the acidity.
- Finback - Fancy People - Hoppy Blonde with Guava & Coconut - 5.5%: Tropical and hoppy. The coconut is forefront without dominating the palate, followed by subtle tropical guava juice. It’s smooth with a luxurious mouthfeel and soft carbonation, making an easy-drinking, sessionable tropical cocktail of a beer.
- Zagovor - Solaris - DIPA with Honey - 8%: Double dry hopped with Mosaic, El Dorado and Citra to give a good punch of lupulin, but the special thing about Solaris is the addition of sweet, floral honey. It lifts the floral, pollen-y character of the hops, whilst bringing an extra layer of sweet summery flavour.
- Popihn - Fermentation Mixte Mirabelles & Passion - Mixed-Fermentation Sour - 6%: This was my absolute favourite of the festival. Sour, fruity and refreshing with a soft, sparkling fizz. Ever so slightly funky straw flavours from the brett, and tart plum sweetness.
- Fuerst Wiacek - Feral - DIPA - 8%: Dank, tropical fruit juice up front, with a huge punch of hops at the finish. Need we say more? Exactly the kind of beer that Hop City is about.
If you missed out on Hop City 2019, don’t worry. We’ve got a load of the beers that were pouring at the festival, including*:
Verdant - Too Many Opinions Water Down the Original Idea
Wylam - Is there Music in Your Dreams?
Wylam - There’s Nothing Wrong with Dreaming
Gipsy Hill - Baller
Gipsy Hill - Trekker
Left Handed Giant - Every Single Thing
Cloudwater - Barry from Finance
Cloudwater - Wildly Yawning Tired Inverted Doggo
Cloudwater - Dance Like Everyone Is Watching
Northern Monk - Striding Edge
Northern Monk - Faith
*If you’re after a specific beer, remember to call ahead to make sure we’ve not sold out, and to check it’s at your preferred store!