Driftwood Brewery : Naughty Hildegard ESB


Photo: Craig Kalnin

For those familiar with Victoria’s Driftwood Brewery, this beer is an anxiously awaited spring seasonal.  For those not familiar, it should be.

Brewed to honor the first person to record the addition of Hops to beer and the resulting benefits, one Hildegard Von Bingen some 8-900 years ago, this Extra Special Bitter has a generous load of Northwest hops blended into its bitter base.  The beer pours a coppery maple syrup colour, developing a short, frothy head that quickly dissipates leaving lacing clinging to the edge and floating Pangaea-like center-glass throughout.

As soon as we cracked the cap, we are immediately greeted with a great dose of classic citrusy hops with a rich piney core rounded out with black currant; we can’t wait to get it into a glass!  Even before we taste it, this beer tells us that it is going to be clean, balanced and great, the hops even more enticing once liberated from the bottle (we may have accidentally dipped our nose into the glass…).  Sure enough, we find an incredibly smooth medium body, nice crisp bitterness, hints of vanilla and whispers of sweet maltiness, all perfectly balanced with the firm but not overpowering hop profile.  The medium lingering aftertaste is a more floral, smooth citrus hop profile with a little less of the pine core than the nose and flavor, an unexpected twist!

The mouth feel was interesting in and of itself, almost like the beer carbonated itself anew with extra-fine bubbles as soon as it passed our lips, gently effervescent, smooth and clean, leaving a fairly cleansed palate, though hops do linger in the corners of our mouth.  Another beneficial surprise, clearing the way and allowing us to appreciate the complex flavours of the marinated beef shish kabobs we’d BBQ’d to pair with it, though we think this beer could go with just about anything.

Overall, this is a fantastic seasonal, something we’d be happy to see year-round, but as is often said, absence makes the heart grow fonder.  While hard to imagine her being down with O.P.P., now that Hildy’s back – it’s time to get naughty!

I give props to hip Hops so hip Hop hooray… Ho…Hey…Ho


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