Beer Week: Hop heads

Photo by Sarah Arnaudin
Photo by Sarah Arnaudin

Putting their own spin on Thirsty Thursday, Burial Beer Co. and its South Slope neighbor, Twin Leaf Brewery, unveiled Follow the Hops, their special Beer Week collaboration and hopefully the first of many co-ventures.

Working from the same base recipe, a dozen different beers were dry-hopped with a single hop then shared with the public on May 29. Each brewery served three of their own and three from the other.

By 9 p.m., Burial had run out of its Nelson Sauvin variety, co-owner Doug Reiser’s favorite among his brewery’s six creations and one of co-owner Tim Gormley’s absolute favorite hops overall. (Reiser noted that Burial’s Surf Wax IPA is made with 50 percent Nelson Sauvin hops and that he plans to use that kind more in the future.)

The flight of five consisted of Hallertau Blance and Strisselspalt from Burial, and Citra, Spalt and Simcoe from Twin Leaf. Though each pour offered its own distinct charms, the Burial brews were notably more complex (especially the borderline pale ale-ish Strisselspalt) while Twin Leaf’s tended to be smoother and more straightforward with the balanced and fruity Citra hops rising above its brethren.

Photo by Sarah Arnaudin
Photo by Sarah Arnaudin

Over at Twin Leaf, with slightly less than half an hour until last call, the only amendment to the menu was the brewery’s Mosaic, which the bartender informed us hadn’t been pouring well, producing an unacceptable amount of head. The five remaining tastes were Amarillo and Galaxy from the home team and Belma, Summit and Hersbrucker from the visitors.

Again, Burial delivered on a more interesting level (the sweet, malty Belma was the clear favorite at my table) and Twin Leaf took a more modest yet still flavorful route with the spicy Amarillo standing out. My companions, however, wondered if Burial had given away their three best beers in a potentially genius ploy to attract patrons their way. Whether or not that was the case remains to be seen, but one thing was clear from the first taste: these two breweries should work together more often.

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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin is a freelance writer and a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA) and the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS). He also contributes to the Asheville Citizen-Times.

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