Total Score: 6.95/10
It appears that great minds do think alike with James Squire’s Hop Thief #7: Galaxy & Mosaic hops – as my last homebrew was dry hopped with Galaxy & Mosaic hops this puts me in the unique position of having a brewers perspective on what to expect from the hops and to compare how our brews stack up against each other [spoiler: the James Squire WILL be better – they have the technical know-how and proper brewing equipment, and I’m still brewing with malt extracts]. In any case this brew will be compared, more fairly, to the last Hop Thief #6: Columbus & Simcoe, which I was none too impressed with TBH.
Poured from a 345ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Clear amber bodied with a red tinge and an off-white half centimetre head that slowly dissipates into a thin lace. Looks disappointing with the lacklustre head retention and IMO APAs should be hazy in the least. 5/10.
S: Here is where the hop promises begin with a definite bold Galaxy passionfruit hop character upfront… I’m missing the Mosaic hops though, I find that they usually add a solid mango note to my brews (and I am quite heavy on the Mosaic hops in my Ales – they’re my favourite hop ATM). A hint of papaya, which could be the Mosaic, lingers in the background with a solid caramel and biscuit malt base. 9/10.
T: Caramel and biscuit malts provide a sweet base to which the hops never really end up challenging. The above hop aromas are present in the palate (passionfruit & papaya) but they aren’t really at the level that any reputable American brewer would respect, and again a grainy note hits towards a slight bitter finish and funks up the taste (and not in a good James Brown “I feel good!” way). 6/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with hints of hop oils and a light but dense carbonation. 8/10.
D: So again James Squire comes up short – in my eyes and compared to US craft brewers – in attempting to provide an Australian Pale Ale of high repute. If I can pinpoint anything, apart from that grain character that appeared also in the last Hop Thief, it would be that for a brew called ‘Hop Thief’ it appears that the thief didn’t get away with too many hops at all… or maybe the thief put a heap under his pillow to help him sleep and left out the best hop flowers, sprinkling them around the house and in his cereal, who knows? All I can say to Mr. Squire is to get a West Coast APA and try to imitate what they do. 7/10.
Food match: The tropical fruit flavours will work best with SE Asian cuisine such as; Yam wunsen kung, Som tam or Gỏi mit.