Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Arbor Ales Aramis
Aramis is a relatively new hop, "from the Alsace region of France, a triploid variety developed as a cross between tetraploid Strisselspalt and a male seedling of WGV to create a unique variety with reasonable bittering potential and strong noble aroma characteristics, notably citrus, herbal, fruity and spicy", it says at SimplyHops.co.uk. Fascinating, but what does that really mean?
Arbor Ales Aramis smells like the steampunk future of hops. It's steampunk in the the sense that it's not some immense fruit bomb, some hydroponic citrus monster hop that will make all beers taste the same, but it's a traditional set of flavours that has been amplified somewhat for the modern palate. In this beer, it's a very European-smelling hop, with a real noble Saaz quality, including some of that slightly earthy, dirty, catty character. But at the same time, there's a citrussy lemon edge to it, some faint black pepper spiciness, and a fleeting suggestion of fruitiness mid-palate (peaches? tangerines?) that makes it bang on trend for 2012. At the same time, there's a faintly smoky note that suggest Lapsang Souchong tea, or perhaps the interaction between this and the fruit suggests Earl Grey.
And in this beer, there is plenty of bitterness, so the overall impression is a beguiling package that is simultaneously delicate and assertive. When Mark Dredge, Pete Brown and I brewed Avery Brown Dredge, BrewDog's Martin Dickie tried it and said "I feel like I'm being punished by Saaz, which is something I never thought I'd say". This beer has that same quality, albeit toned down from 11 to, say a 6 or 7 in volume terms, which given ABD's hooligan credentials is perhaps no bad thing.
So, Aramis. An interesting hop, and a very good beer.
NOTE: I buy and sell this beer through the business I own, although I don't think this has influenced my opinion of it