About 4 years ago a few Harpoon employees thought it would be fun to start up an annual company homebrew competition here at the brewery. Anyone who wanted to brew a beer could, and the winning beer would be determined by popular vote based on a blind sampling at our annual company outing at our brewery in Windsor, VT. The first year there were about a dozen entries from Harpooners in every department. In 2012 there were more than 30. For the last competition it was decided that from here on out, the winning beer each year would be brewed as a 100 Barrel Series offering. So, after a heated contest, the Hoppy Belgian Blonde brewed by John Bagdonas, Kevin Eibensteiner, and Chris Sweatman of Harpoon Distributing Company, under the guidance of brewer Charlie Cummings, came out victorious. Congratulations to this year’s Harpoon Kettle Cup winners! But really, we ALL win with this one…
This is a delightfully drinkable Belgian-style ale with a big kick of American hops. A Belgian yeast strain, Bastogne, was used to brew this beer giving it a fruity/spicy character. A generous dose of hops – including Galaxy, Simcoe, Chinook, and an addition of whole Cascade hops – yields a powerful hop nose and flavor. The finish is sharp and satisfying. It’s a real winner.
Appearance: Golden blond, unfiltered but mostly clear, generous lacing
Aroma: Hoppy! “Belgian-y”. Floral, fruity, grassy, hint of vanilla phenols
Mouth feel: Medium body with just a hint of alcohol presence
Taste: More of the same from the aroma with some pleasantly bready Pilsner malt flavor