I was at Boombozz Taphouse in the Highlands last week for their Schlafly Beer fundraiser for the Wings Clinic here locally when my good friend Michael Beckmann, the bar manager there, said that I HAD to try this limited release brew - Hop Toddy. I agreed, but as I sat and finished my Smoked Porter I have to admit I was having some reservations about what I would think of this so-called Hop Toddy. In general I am not a huge fan over overpoweringly hoppy beers and tend to enjoy either the more balanced or malt heavy flavors.
Once the beer arrived at my table the very first thing I noticed about it (even through my allergy induced stuffiness) was the floral, sweet aroma; to me it smelled almost like a bouquet of flowers. The first sip was sweet and I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't "hop smacked" by a violent back hand. I enjoyed the flavors of lemon and honey and the thought popped in my mind that this was a quintessential summer beer; very light and refreshing and sweetened by all the products of a warm sun. Top it off by aging it in bourbon barrels and you have the Hop Toddy.
So far this is a beer shrouded in some mystery to me. Both Beeradvocate.com and Ratebeer.com list the ABV at 9%, but Beeradvocate calls it an American Strong Ale while Ratebeer calls it a Wheat Ale, and there's no mention of it anywhere on the Schlafly website. Whatever it is, this beer will not be for everyone. If you're not a fan of sweeter beers, you might not enjoy this one as much. I can usually enjoy one or two before I have to change things up, which is perfect for this beer since it clocks in at that sneaky 9% ABV. If you can still find it out there I'd suggest giving it a whirl; if nothing else it'll make you think summery thoughts.
*Writer's Amendment - after hearing from Troika Brodsky, Communications Director with Schlafly, it was brought to my attention that I had completely overlooked the description on their website; so here you go....Schlafly Hop Toddy