As the year draws to a close, I’ve spent some time reflecting on what the most meaningful beers I drank in the past year were. There was an exploration of wood beyond the classic bourbon barrel experienced over a variety of styles during three nights at Cigar City in March. There was Other Half’s Cheddar Broccoli, enjoyed at last weekend’s 4 year anniversary party for 18th Street, that finally gave me an appreciation for what the New England IPA could be. But ultimately the one beer that I keep coming back to is Evicted, a farmhouse blonde ale from Central State.
From my first sip, I knew there was something I instantly loved about Evicted. After a few seconds of thought, I realized it was the Noble hops. After years of subsisting on almost nothing but citrusy, piney, dank American hops, my trip to Prague last year immersed me in a world of spicy European hops I hadn’t had in ages and that I had never appreciated before. That experience launched an exploration into classic European lager styles that culminated in a late night revelation in Indianapolis.
A light, easy-drinking beer, in my mind, is meant to exhibit the spicy characteristics shown by Noble hops. It should be crisp and dry. I don’t want citrus or pine anywhere near my pilsners. And while there’s more flexibility with blonde ales due to the esters produced by the yeast that aren’t present in lagers, I still think Noble hops are the best match.
Evicted may not be the sexiest beer I had all year. The neckbeards will never clamor over it. But it is the most meaningful beer I had in 2017 because of the way it changed my view on hops.