A chat with Chuck Hahn

Shock, horror! After all the build up in this column there’s to be no James Squire Hop Thief this season. Brewer Chuck Hahn tells me we may see a new Aussie-hops version in the future, after the American and Kiwi based brews we saw in earlier brews.

Meanwhile, says Chuck, if the hopheads want hops he suggests James Squire Pilsener – to my taste one of the most assertively hopped local brews cast squarely and uncompromisingly in the robust Bohemian mould.

It recently won the World Beer Cup’s gold medal as the best Bohemian-style Pilsener – a victory that saw Chuck fielding calls from the world’s beer press, including one from the Czech Republic’s Pilsen region.

But Chuck’s not saying why there’s no Hop Thief this year. Perhaps it’s the distraction of a new winter warmer that’s on its way – a high alcohol ale seasoned with Australian pepper berries, added towards the end of the boil. It’ll be released in the first week of July.

Meanwhile there’s still a little of Chuck’s summer specialty — Mad Brewers Raspberry Wheat beer — out in the trade. This is a light, dry, pleasantly tart ale seasoned with raspberries (3.5 tonnes of them) and a touch of mint.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008