Post-ride Beer: The Best Imperial in the South?
Olde Hickory is steadily rising on my favorite brewery list. I discovered the Redeemer and quickly snatched up a bottle to bring for a post-ride treat at the Bent Creek Campground.
I’ve been slightly spoiled in the beer department lately. But with my stash of Hill Farmstead and Alchemist sadly depleted, I have been on the hunt for new and tantalizing brews available in North Carolina. Luckily I stumbled in to Tasty Beverage Company. The small shop and tasting bar, nestled in Raleigh’s Warehouse District, boasts one of the best beer selections I’ve encountered. The store proprietor recommended the Redeemer, the latest Imperial IPA concocted by the Olde Hickory Brewery. The 22oz bomber came swaddled in an etherial label depicting a saintly bundle of hops hovering within the heavenly gates. Having recently gotten over a discomposing addiction to Heady Topper, I was worried that this one might not live up to my new snobby standard.
Buzzed and still feeling the momentum from one of my favorite Bent Creek downhills, I rolled back to the campground with the Redeemer on my mind. The bomber poured a nice hazy honey copper with about a finger of head. It had a soft aroma of pungent fruits and pine. On first sip it’s not quite as carbonated as I would like, but redeemed itself with an explosion of grapefruit and resiny pine hop layers. Not to sweet but just enough malt to balance the bitter. The beer finishes with a nice warming of alcohol and a lingering complex hoppy bitterness.
On a side note, as I sat stewing in my damp riding gear, and perusing the strata of hop flavors, a juvenile black bear clumsily barreled through the fall dusk air about 15 feet from our campsite.
I’ve also tried the OHB Death by Hops which is great, but I would rank the Redeemer higher and could almost place it as the best hop specific NC beer that I have had to date.