Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hogan's Hideaway Custom Brews

I like Rochester in the spring.  The evenings are lighter, the weather is just starting to turn, and all the greenery is slowly returning to the city.  Walking around in this weather, you feel like a weight's been lifted off of you and you can finally enjoy the natural beauty around you without fear of freezing to death.  The local farms are gearing up to sell their wares (I recommend signing up for a local CSA if you want to support Upstate NY's farming industry and get delicious fruit and veg throughout the summer), and the world feels like it's coming alive again.  It's wonderful. 

As the weather was so nice out this afternoon, my wife and I decided to go to Hogan's Hideaway on Park Avenue for a quick drink and a snack.  It's a decent place (though I have to say that the food portions were incredibly meagre for the prices we paid - around $8 for a small plate of nachos, and $2.50 for a cup of fries). The quality was decent enough, but I felt we'd have been better off making our own snacks for cheaper. Maybe I'm being unfair to the place - it's really popular, so we should probably go back for a full meal.

Anyway, this isn't about the food.  It's about the beers they serve - specifically the two custom beers brewed locally by Custom Brewcrafters, who've been featured on this blog before.  There are two brews currently on the menu - Hogan's Pale Ale and Park Avenue Ale.

Let's start with the Pale Ale. It was a light golden colour, with very little head.  Lightly carbonated, with a medium body and mouthfeel.  Wonderful floral hops in the aroma - reminded me of a less aggressive version of CB's Caged Alpha Monkey, which I briefly mentioned in an earlier entry.  A definite hoppy taste, with some malty flavour behind it, but not overpowering.  A good choice for a springtime beer - I can imagine myself sitting on the terrace at Hogan's on a warmer evening enjoying a few of these.  I'm going to give it a 4 out of 5.

The Park Avenue Ale is a dark ale, again with little head.  It had plenty of body, but it was nowhere near a stout.  You could clearly taste the roasted barley in this brew - the flavour profile emphasised the malt and toast over hoppy character, and was very pleasant (if dark ale's your thing).  This was definitely more of a winter brew.  It actually reminded me a lot of my first batch of homebrew, about which I'll soon be publishing my writeup.

In case you're interested, Homebrew Batch #2 is a Belgian Ale currently weighing in at around 7% ABV.  I'm really excited about this one...

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