Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Hop, The Whole Hop and Nothing But The Hop - McMullen Original IPA

Founded in 1827 in Railway Street, Hertford McMullens  first moved to Mill Bridge in 1832 and then made a second move to Old Cross in 1891, later investing in a modern brewhouse in 1984. By the mid 2000s the company  narrowly escape closure as shareholders who wanted to receive a reasonable dividend and those who wanted to reinvest annual profits into the company split. David McMullen stepped down as Chairman following an unsuccessful management buyout. Independent Chairman, Charles Brims was appointed and he facilitated a compromise whereby several non-brewing property investments were sold to release cash to appease the majority shareholders and a plan was launched to build a brand new, smaller brewhouse. The company decided to shed contract-brewing and take advantage of tax breaks by becoming a smaller brewer and re-opened as the new 'Whole Hop Brewery' in 2006.
Whole Hops
Unlike many other brewers McMullen's latest brewery continues to use whole natural hops straight from the sack which is why It Is called 'The Whole Hop Brewery'. They do not believe that using processed pellets or hop extracts are good for the image of traditional and authentic brewers of fine cask ales. McMullen know their hop growers, most of whom grow classic varieties in the garden counties of England. However, not afraid to travel in the interests of good taste, they also work with farmers in Slovenia who grow just the right Styrian Goldings for their new beer, McMullen Cask Ale.

Tasting Notes: Brewed to the classic McMullen recipe using the finest whole flower hops and specially kilned amber malt to give it its deep rich flavours, McMullen Original IPA isn't the usual pale yellow IPA we are used to seeing. In fact it is indeed a rusty orange deep amber with a pale cream head. This dark IPA also boasts a very complex hop aroma of peach melba and aniseed. On first tasting sunflower seeds mingle with liquorice (imagine eating black jacks with fruit salad sweets for the aroma and flavour combined) and this turns to toasted caramel and brazil nut down the glass lacing beautifully in concentric rings with a slightly cloying bitter finish.
  • ABV 4.8%

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