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Dragoon The Unihopper Pale Ale: Calypso

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RATINGS: 3   MEAN: 3.7/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.06/5   SEASONAL: Series   IBU: 35   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
The Unihopper is our single-hopped pale ale series. As you might imagine, it’s a bit of a hop-bomb–and that is exactly the point. Each time we brew the Unihopper, We use the same sturdy pale ale base as a launchpad to showcase an individual hop variety. Your taste buds have been warned.

This batch features Calypso, a relatively new variety developed by Hopsteiner. Calypso is known for a lightly fruity, somewhat herbal aroma. Hopsteiner describes it as a “pleasant, fruity aroma with hints of apple and pear.” In the Unihopper, it shows off a firm, briny bitterness (which lingers into the finish) then gets into soft fruit and dabbles a bit in some dank hoppiness/herbal-tea business. 12.6°

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
DesertDevil (685) - Arizona, USA - FEB 15, 2014
On draft at the Hungry Monk. Pours a clear golden orange with a foamy, craggy white head. Hoppy aroma of pungent grapefruit, lemon, slight pine, and dry alfalfa. Lighter taste than expected with a moderate tropical fruit blend (some mango and pineapple juice), a mild grassy note, and not nearly as much bitterness as I expected after the nose. Light-to medium body; crisp, clean finish with just some slight bitterness. A solid pale.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
arminjewell (9237) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - NOV 8, 2013
Pour on tap at the brewery, clear yellow pour with white head, aroma brought big tropical fruits, a guava, peach, pineapple type of note with some slight vanilla, spice into some cracker and biscuit malts. Taste is a mix of grass and spice into big guava, passionfruit like notes, some hints of orange in there, going into biscuit, bread, slight earth, finishing bitter.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
FlacoAlto (4133) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - MAY 14, 2013
A steady pour from the growler into my New Belgium globe glass produces a two-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The beer is a pale amber color that shows a bright, clear, straw-gold hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of tropical fruit notes backed by almost candy / jam like concentrated fruit notes and then a light herbal / peppery hop character. Specific notes of guava, kumquat zest, definite lychee, and some sort of floral-tropical-peach like note are then anchored by sweet marmalade notes. The malt character plays a distant supporting role with suggestions of cracker like pale malt and perhaps a touch of dried straw like grain character. The aroma is nicely hop expressive and it gets a bit more herbaceous and peppery as the beer warms up.

Dry tasting and light bodied, but the hop character is expressive enough that it adds a perceived sweetness due to all the fruit character from the hops. The finish has a peppery, herbaceous, dry, sort of lingering grassy-herbal note, and a firm, but smooth bitterness to it. The fruit flavors are not quite as sweet seeming as in the nose, but still play a big role here with flavors of guava, kumquat zest, ripe tangelo zest, ample lychee, and peach dum-dum lollipops. The hop fruit character is really quite pungent here, and as the beer warms the herbal character becomes more pungent, a bit more herbaceous, and even dank in quality; the peppery note really picks up a lot of complexity and starts to remind you of a certain hop cousin. The malt character plays a clearly supporting role here; subtle notes of soda cracker like grain, and a hint of chewy pale malt bread character are noticeable if you are looking for it.

I always like seeing these types of series; the fact that it is finally a local brewery doing this and I can get the beers super fresh is just that much more cool. Having never had a straight calypso beer, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this is definitely a hop I like. I really like the clean, pale malt base that this beer has; it was chosen to cleanly display the hops, but it is also my preferred malt bill for Pale Ales, as I really like them hop focused.

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