Chuck Hahn should take a bow for his brewing masterpiece – Ten20 Commemorative Ale – an almost impossibly luxurious, harmonious, and complex beer. Other brewers are going to look at this in awe.
Chuck brewed it to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Hahn Premium and the tenth of James Squire. And in a salute to his brewing alma maters, he used hops from the USA, New Zealand and Australia.
Chuck says that dry hopping with Pacific Hallertau from New Zealand gives the beer its distinctive, herbal/citrus aroma. But that’s just the entrée to a remarkably powerful but harmonious brew.
It’s a deep copper colour, tinged with mahogany: and behind the tangy hops aroma lies a huge depth of malt. It’s there in the aroma, but in the mouth it’s opulent, bordering on viscous – with a silky, smooth texture that could be too much if it weren’t for the heady alcohol (7.9 per cent) and countervailing hops bitterness.
It’s risky brewing beers of this dimension as one or another flavour easily dominates (many undrinkable curiosities in the market testify to this). Chuck’s mastery is in creating such a bold, malty, hoppy, alcoholic beer that’s such a pleasure to drink. It’s one to sip, like wine.
Alas, he’s brewed but 1,900 cases. It’s just come into the market and available in selected retail outlets.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009