November 1st, 2013 2:42 pm | by WWeek Culture Staff Food & Drink | Posted In: Beer

Amateur Hour: Homebrew Edition

Guest Beer Review: Ezra Johnson-Greenough on Martin Cizmar's Fresh Hop Homebrew

ivon hops
Editor's note: Tomorrow WW hosts a beer festival featuring 13 brews made by teams of professional and amateur brewers. (But tickets for $25 here.) In honor of that occasion, WW beer writer Martin Cizmar gave a bottle of the homebrew he made with freshly picked hops grown in his own yard to Ezra Johnson-Greenough of The New School beer blog. Below is Ezra's brutal review. Cizmar does not disagree. Luckily, the beers served at the Pro-Am Festival—including a coconut brown, a strawberry lemonade brew and a vanilla bourbon creme ale—should be better than Ivon More Hops 2013.

Ever tried to separate a product from its maker? It can be impossible, so I won't even try to pretend this homebrewed Fresh Hop Pale Ale is not brewed by WW Arts & Culture Editor Martin Cizmar, whose beer reviews up to this point I have found...well, questionable. Even so I will review his homebrew Fresh Hop Pale Ale with a clean slate.

A sharp loud hiss like a cobra about to strike escapes the 22-ounce bottle and bubbles rise up the neck bubbling over. I take this perhaps as a sign of things to come. If I didn't know better I would think this Fresh Hop was a Belgian beer what with the gushing foam and the aroma of rotten bananas. Hops? I can't taste them but the mild notes of a mildewy wet cardboard box more than makes up for the missing element. I am afraid these "Fresh Hops" might have accidentally gotten "wet." Considering this beer was made with straight American ingredients, a brettanomyces wild yeast infection is likely. If I weren't expecting a fresh hop pale, I might think this was just an oxidized Saison. Martin's version of Logsdon's Fresh Hop Seizoen is not fit to serve anyone moving Monet's haystacks around, let alone Double Mountain's buckets of fresh hops. If the Boy Scouts gave out badges for effort, then Cizmar would be an Eagle Scout.

But if you can get over the scent of a hobo's crash pad, then the "Fresh Prince" of Willamette Week might have a future collaborating with Gilgamesh Brewing on an entry for the papers Pro-Am Beer Fest this Saturday. Now: If you will excuse me, I am going to try to wrestle away Cizmar's American Homebrewers Association membership card, if only he would give it up as easily as his Boy Scout merit badges. —Ezra Johnson Greenough

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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