Beer of the Week

Five Things About … James Squire’s 2018 Hop Father

1) Last month I published a biography of convict brewer James Squire. Well I actually called it THE biography of James Squire; I figured that, seeing as how this was the only bio of the guy (that I’m aware of), it seemed safe enough to use the definite article. It was the prize for getting in first.

2) Anyway, that bio calls into question a few of the tales the beer brand tell about Squire. The marketing around that beer has taken the basic facts of his life and then embellished some of them. For instance, the story of him getting whipped for stealing the ingredients to make beer? It’s not true – oh, he got lashed alright, but the claim that he swiped beer ingredients doesn’t stack up when compared to the historical record.

3) And so I thought, because of this, that I’d be struck off the freebie list for James Squire beers. But it seems I’m still part of that club, at least for the time being. Last month I got the now ubiquitous James Squire hop sack, which included a few bottles of this year’s iteration of The Hop Father. I wasn’t aware the Hop Father – where they brew a beer with a few descendants of Squire – that started last year would be an annual release. But that seems to be the case.

4) The name reflects the claim that Squire grew the first hops in Australia. While not trying to be a spoilsport, it’s not cut and dried that Squire was the first – it may well be someone else who is the Hop Father. Around the time Squire is growing hops, there are a number of mentions in both the newspaper of the day and government correspondence of another unnamed person also making a fist of cultivating the green flowers. It’s hard to say who was first – it may be Squire, it may be someone else.

5) The beer itself is an XPA, with Denali and Eureka hops. Like most of their other range, it’s at the lower end of the XPA spectrum so as to appeal to the good beer newcomers (which is fine with me). So the label description of it being a “hopped-up pale ale” is directed at them and not the beer geeks. There are hints of pine and pineapple on the nose, with some pineapple bite coming through on the palate. It’s not a flavour monster, and I don’t think it was meant to be either. What it is is a pleasant, easy to drink beer from the Squire brand.

Free or paid for?: I was sent two sample bottles from the company that handles the Squire PR.

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