This article was beautifully written by Eddie Gomez and proofread/edited by his lovely wife Sina who also has her own blog “SaucySina”
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This is not a beer review. I don’t do beer reviews.
Nevertheless, the divisiveness of the Dirty Hop Water series from Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. has compelled me to compare a few beers in this series. Especially since the majority of people that I have talked to swear “Smells like Teen Spirit” is the best DHW variant to date. In all honesty, for a non-reviewer like myself, this foray is a safe choice; the cans of Dirty Hop Water state, “We won’t make this DHW rendition ever again. Like ever.” I can pretty much say whatever I want about these cans and there is no way for anyone to validate or refute my claims! Unless you happen to have a can of one of these in your refrigerator. Although, even if you do, I can always blame the age of the can or the storage conditions to justify my opinions.
I am not educated in the science of beer in fact I consider myself the average consumer. Therefore, in this position I believe that beer reviews are all relative. If you are drinking a stout you are most likely comparing it to the last stout you had.
Over the last few years Wilderness has become a lightning rod for craft beer in Arizona. It is probably the most recognized craft brewery in the state. As it has grown and suffered its fair share of growing pains, as all breweries do, it seems that a rift has formed within its patrons – resulting in people either loving or hating Wilderness. Since we all know that only a Sith deals in absolutes … get over it nerds! They make good beer, even if you might not like it all and The Last Jedi was a good movie. As they say, change is fine as long as everything stays the same.
The Dirty Hop Water series is a showcase of hops but it is also a great representation of an Arizona Wilderness staple – sustainable locally sourced ingredients. By now, either you know about the D.H.W. series or you don’t so I’ll stop wasting time and get down to the rev…comparison.
This lineup consisted of four out of the five most recent releases:
- Rooftops (9.23.17)
- In The Pines (11.11.17)
- Repeater (12.9.17)
- Last Living Dinosaur (1.6.18)
The missing link that line-up is You Know My Steez (9.30.17), but, I was busy preparing for an epic Oktoberfest party so unfortunately I missed that one. Rooftops is significant because that was also the release of the Dirty Hop Water Teku glass. The first D.H.W. release was E.C.F.Y! in 32 oz. crowlers on Oct 1, 2016. To date there have been fourteen renditions in this series. Wait a minute, when did I start doing research for this blog?! I hope nobody decides to fact-check me on any of this. The cans state that the DHW beers are murky (as opposed to hazy). This is true some of the time.
In The Pines 6.8%
Average Untappd rating: 4.17
Hops: Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic
Aroma: Earthy pine with a slight, sweet pineapple.
My Assessment: It feels very light and does not sit on the tongue long. There is a dry bitter aftertaste similar to the eating fresh grapefruit.
Sina’s One Line Review: It smells better than it tastes.
Average Untappd rating: 4.21
Hops: 100% Citra
Aroma: Light grass/hay with a hint of orange.
Appearance: Murky and slightly darker than In the Pines.
My Evaluation: There is not much depth in flavor for this beer and it tastes exactly how it smells. There is not much punch from the hops. It is juicy but it feels a little watered down. In fact, all the aspects of this beer seem muted. Unfortunately, I do not think this held up very well in the can.
Sina’s One Line Review: A very faint smell of orange blossoms.
Average Untappd Rating: 4.08
Hops: Idaho 7, Lemon Drop and Loral
Aroma: Flora and sweet with passion fruit.
My Analysis: Fresh clean flavor that is very refreshing. Considering it is the oldest of the bunch, it is very active! A small swirl in the glass creates a fresh head of foam and really brings out a tropical aroma. I remember having this beer on tap and it tasted quite tropical at the time. I think this one is the most different from tap to can but both were quite enjoyable.
Sina’s One Line Review: I want to wash my face with this.
Last Living Dinosaur 8.2%
Average Untappd rating: 4.29
Hops: Eureka, Callista and Belma
Aroma: Sweet citrus and berries.
Appearance: Slightly hazy.
My Appraisal: Solid IPA, juicy with a lot of kick left in the hops. It has a nice balance of bitterness with a little earthy dryness mixed in.
Sina’s One Line Review: I am confused – I do not know why I gave it 4 out of 5 stars three weeks ago.
Our ranking (most favorite to least favorite):
Sina – Repeater, Rooftops, In the Pines, Last Living Dinosaur
Me – In The Pines, Last Living Dinosaur, Rooftops, Repeater
Here is my final thought … apparently I am Jerry Springer now … I like the Dirty Hop Water series. It is a way to experiment with different hop combinations and the brewers at Arizona Wilderness are skilled enough to make an enjoyable beer even if some don’t quite hit the mark. I also understand why a small contingent of people have lost interest altogether. I think the beers are released too frequently, I don’t think they hold up in the cans past a few weeks and I think a significant part of the community doesn’t see past the Dirty Hop Water part of the label and they don’t understand that each one is different. I feel the series would be much better suited as a tap only release or even a tap release to coincide with a can release. A glass of Dirty Hop Water after picking up the latest can release would be a great pairing with any of the breakfast options Wilderness has to offer, but what do I know, I don’t do beer reviews.