Sadly, and somewhat foolishly, I'd been absent for the previous 3 incarnations of James Squire's Hop Thief. Thankfully, the Malt Shovel guys released version number 4 recently and as from today (for a limited time) it is on tap at The Platform Bar, in Brisbane's CBD.
This release is a 'keg only' release, so you will need to be quick and get to your nearest participating pub to try this brew. Due to the unfortunate scarcity of the hop varieties used in this years release, supplies will not broaden to bottling. There is, however, a plan at the brewery to re-visit Hop Thief IV with a tap and bottle release in 2013. Rumours are that it might be exactly the same blend. Other whispers suggest that they might tweak the recipe slightly. We'll see.
A welcome text message from Lucas at The Platform Bar informed me of Hop Thief's arrival. It took no less than 10 seconds for me to spread the word around the office and within 90 minutes 5 of us hardened and seasoned beer lovers were drooling at the bar in anticipation....all for the love of beer.
Due to work commitments, I could only afford the time to drink 2 schooners but it was enough to pen a few words...
It was ok and I liked it. I'd drink it again for sure. I wasn't bowled over by it but it was by no means a bad drop.
It poured a nice deep amber colour and sustained its head throughout consumption. Quite a delicate hoppiness to it - certainly not an overpowering hit of hops like Mad Brewers' Hoppy Hefe.
There was no overkill like there is in some limited releases in this country. Nice to see it at a subtle 5.0% abv. It is very drinkable and highly sessionable.
It was very refreshing and made a welcome change and a nice addition to the taps in my nearest beer establishment. I'll try and sneak back for a few more before this week is out.