By Julia Burke, Beer Editor
Selecting a beer called “Hop Manna” is about as close as I’ve come in years to celebrating Passover/Easter, but it had been too long since I’d had a Shmaltz Brewing Company (Saratoga Springs, NY, and San Francisco) brew and I was feeling particularly like a chosen person.
Hop Manna is a new IPA brewed with Citra, Warrior, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo, and Crystal hops and dry hopped with Centennial, Citra, and Cascade. It’s the brewery’s first single IPA, released last year in four test batches and in distribution for the first time this year.
It’s got a beautiful hop nose: fresh, with orange peel and tangerine notes and just a little bit of pine. I was expecting more of a potpourri-like dried-flower thing going on but it’s much more alive than that, and very enticing.
The midpalate is crisp and delicate; Citra hops are dominant but the whole sip experience is very restrained and pleasant. Wheat and Vienna malt are included in the malt profile and, I think, add to the light, delicate, smooth character of the palate. It’s only a touch sweet, just a drizzle of honey on this hop salad, and the finish is balanced and clean.
It did seem a little short but I found it to fill out as the beer warmed.
Where this could have gone way over-the-top, it manages to be a very deft study in hop blending. It’s only 6.8% ABV and definitely not your sticky hop bomb, but it’s a really enjoyable spring ale and and a great pairing for a salad of roast vegetables, olives, and grilled potatoes.
Producer: Shmaltz Brewing Company
Stemware: 10 oz. goblet
Price: $8/22 oz.
(3.5 out of 5 | Very Good, Recommended to Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)