The Chinook Hop is described by HopUnion as having “medium intensity spice and pine characteristics with subtle notes of grapefruit” with an “acceptable aroma.” BeerAdvocate describes it as “herbal, almost smoky” when used late during your boil. It’s only been around since 1985, but it’s become quite popular, especially as of late with craft brewers and home brewers in their IPA’s.
The Columbus Hop has a “pungent aroma” that adds drama to bitter ales and American IPA’s and HopUnion adds that it has black pepper, licorice and citrus notes. It’s a common ingredient in Pale Ales, and the home brewing community claims that terroir can be readily discernible in these hops, even when it’s punching you in the fact with citrus and pine.
Taking all of those hop tasting notes together, don’t they sound a lot like the tasting notes for a gin? Matt Whiley’s brainchild is Dog’s Nose Hop Gin which combines these two hops, distilled at low temperatures along with some traditional gin botanicals.
Lots of citrus hit you on the nose at first, with candied orange, lemonade, beneath that there’s piney juniper, coriander, and bright citrusy aroma that is distinctly hops. Truth in advertising, though there’s a bit of fume and alcohol a bit lower. The aroma is all in the top notes here and seems to be lacking on the back end/low end.
On the palate however, I’m really quite a fan of the flavor evolution: it rises steadily with hops, citrus, juniper, more hops- wow, that mid-palate flavor profile is a clear homage to beer.It actually tastes a lot like a beer I just made not too long ago. More traditional, it was Cascade Hops, lemon peel, orange peel and coriander. [what a surprise, a gin writer going a bit heavy on the gin botanicals in his IPA- but seriously, there’s a pleasant overlap between that beer and this gin.]
But again, back on the taste. There’s a good deal of juniper on here— Dog’s Nose Hop Gin definitely comes across as gin. Pine-expressed juniper on the back end, with a touch of coriander coming through. The finish is pleasantly dry, but a bit short, with a fading wave of citrus the final fleeting aromatic. Overall, a bit hot as well, the spirit itself seems rather thin.
I think that there’s a lot to like about Dog’s Nose Hop Gin, and fans of IPA’s or Pale Ales will likely find something in here that they didn’t expect to find in a gin.