Monday, 11 September 2017

All hopped up and ready to go

As I've expressed here in the past, I just love the hoppy taste of India Pale Ales, the craft beer revolution has delighted me. In London, my father stocks up with Lidl's own-brand IPA, Hatherwood's No. 2 Green Gecko, a consistently decent ale with good bitterness. Here in Warsaw, the profusion of craft-beer pubs (last week the London Boys had a get-together at Drugie Dno on Nowogrodzka) means my predilection for hoppy ales can be satisfied on a night out. I stuck to a beer called Modern Drinking from the Pinta brewery, and very good it was too.

Over Lent I was wondering when someone would come up with an alcohol-free IPA. And sure enough, I found this in Auchan...

Na-chmiel-ona. Hoptimum, by brewer Nepomucen, from Jutrosin (which lies between Rawicz and Krotoszyn). It has 0% alcohol, zero sugar, carbohydrates or gluten. It is simply hops and water. It is, however, not cheap, costing over 6zł, for a refreshing, thirst-quenching and very grown-up beverage.

Now this gave me an idea. Surely it is not beyond my wits to construct something similar? As it happens, round the corner there's a działka with some hops growing over the chain-link fence adjoining the pavement. Will these be harvested in coming days? The hop cones are big and ripe. I help myself to a few that are overhanging the footpath, so that I can conduct an experiment...

Around 20 hop cones. Half a litre of water. Nothing else. Boil vigorously for 30 minutes in a pan with lid. After half an hour, remove from heat, strain and allow to cool. The half-litre has reduced down to around 300ml of hoppy extract, which is mightily strong. This can be diluted with around four parts fridge-cold sparkling mineral water to one part hop extract. The result is something that has that the bitterness of IPA without any of the alcohol. And a taste that lingers around the mouth and tongue, refreshing, clean and sharp.

Medicinal properties of hops? Read this. So there we are - how to get the hoppy taste without the alcohol. Now - where to buy larger quantities of hops!

This time two years ago:
September song

This time four year ago:
A traveller's tale (reading this shows how fast Poland has progressed in transport infrastructure)

This time five years ago:
One for the record - hot September day (30C)

This time six years ago:

This time seven years ago:
The half-closed airport

This time eight years ago:
Last of the summer bike rides to work?

This time nine years ago:
My own Polish Adlestrop

This time ten years ago:
Laurie Anderson's chillingly prescient 'O Superman'

No comments: