Noooooo, not that Twilight, silly! This one.
What you see to the left is a hop garden in Washington State's Yakima Valley. By the end of the growing season the plants will have climbed all the way to the top of those strings and will be loaded with hop cones ready for adding flavour, aroma and bitterness to our favourite adult beverage. And this time we have not one keg but two! Happy Happy Joy Joy.
Whether or not you've heard of it before, if you're a beer lover the Yakima Valley is a place close to your heart. It accounts for more than three quarters of US hop production, including (but not limited to) Willamette, Cascade, Columbus and Nugget.
Yakima Twilight from the Victory Brewing Company of Pennsylvania is a difficult one to pin down, style-wise. I've heard it described as an American strong ale, a dark IPA and a dark double IPA. Aside from the differences in alcohol content, those three styles can, broadly speaking, describe the same beer. Plenty of hops (both flavouring and bittering), plenty of malt character, plenty for the discerning beer drinker to enjoy.
The brewers at Victory have used five types of imported malt ranging from medium to dark roast, and four varieties of whole-flower hops from the Yakima Valley to brew this beer. Look for piney, citrusy hop aromas along with malty caramel flavours and hints of dark fruit. Perhaps a little chocolate too? If you're a fan of Arrogant Bastard this one will probably be to your liking.
For the next Badass Beer we'll be leaving the shores of the American continent in terms of style, but staying here as far as production is concerned.
Jim Hughes, Head Beer Nerd, Alamo South Lamar “If I had all the money I’ve spent on drink… I’d spend it on drink.” ~ Sir Henry Rawlinson
PS. I hear from the Victory beer blog that the last of this year's Yakima Twilight has shipped.
PPS. In case you think the subject line seems familiar, it's The Platters.