October 24, 2019 ☼ 🍺
For those uninitiated, Hop Butcher for the World is a brewery here in the Chicagoland area. They currently brew at Miskatonic in Darien, IL and are distributed pretty far out throughout the Chicagoland area. But don’t mistake the fact they brew at a different brewery for low quality or half heartedness.
They are probably the biggest hype brewery in Chicago, exceeding some great breweries like Marz, Pipeworks, Half Acre, 3 Floyds, and more. Open Untappd at any point, go to Trending Beers (in IL), and you’ll see a couple HB beers. Since they don’t have their own brewery, they self distribute and every store that gets their stuff basically sells out that same day, although my local spot seems to be getting more and more every week so hopefully that’s a sign they will be able to keep some in stock moving forward. I’m the first to admit, Hype, especially in the beer world, doesn’t necessarily equate quality. A newer brewery, Phase Three, has tons of hype around it. Damn near as much as HB, at least up here on the north side, and the quality just hasn’t been there for me and I’ve actually stopped picking up their releases.
I know the east coast has some crazy releases with lines and shit, but with HB, they typically have 1-3 beers a week, distributed to local stores all around the area like clockwork. Sometimes they have a brand new beer, oftentimes they do a rerelease, and other times they release a new variant of an older beer. Their calling card is the hazy double IPA, which is both very in vogue right now and also right up my alley.
Given the weekly schedule, and the fact I’m picking up at least a single can of every beer, if not multiple four-packs, it seemed like the perfect thing to write about.
So let’s get on to this weeks beers. Luckily for us, they released three. Two brand new brews and one rerelease.
Hops: Saaz, Select, Monroe
This is only the second Pilsner I’ve had from HB, and not something they really do very often. I like this one less than the last one I had, but it’s still a Pilsner, which isn’t really my go-to style. With that being said it’s 10x better than your generic light style beer.1
Snorkel is killer. It’s not a double IPA, which is what I really dig on from HB, but they’ve been doing some great lower ABV2 stuff as of late, between their APAs, IPAs, and pale ales. And this is right there with those great beers. It’s no Heck Yessum (5.75%), which they released a couple weeks ago, but it’s still fantastic. Missing a tiny bit of character you’d expect from HB, but the single hop citra shines here. Hints of mango come across, and while hoppy, it’s still crushable.
Hops: Nelson Sauvin, Enigma
I’m pretty loose with high grades in Untappd, but this truly deserves it. The double IPA is where HB sings, and they are belting out an opera here. You get their solid hazy double base, with a little bit of extra character. I’ve loved some of their other Nelson hopped doubles, so I think it’s the Enigma that’s adding a little something else here. Hints of grape and berries come through; it’s not too dank, and I’ve seen comments of peppery, which I don’t taste, but I can understand how someone might come up with that descriptor from the extra bit of bite on the tip of your tongue.
That’ll do it for this weeks releases. Craniac was the rerelease this time around, although I’ve never had it before. Even though I gave Craniac a higher rating, it’s the Snorkel Squad that really shines. I always like seeing lower ABV stuff, and the fact it can compete with a double is all you need to know. If I didn’t mention it already, pretty much all IPAs HB does fall into the NE/Hazy realm. They also do some great Milkshake IPAs. Occasionally, they’ll do a more classic or west coast IPA, if that’s the case I’ll call it out, otherwise, if it’s an IPA, it’s hazy.