overall
94
90
style
RATINGS: 21   MEAN: 3.78/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.55/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Challenger is "grandaughter" of the Northern Brewer variety, bred in England. This hop, noted for its spicy aroma, can can be used for bittering, flavor and aroma because it blends well with other English hop varieties. Challenger is often used in brewing British Bitters, Porter, Stout, ESB and Brown Ales.

Known years: 2005, 2006

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4
hopdog (13102) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 20, 2005
On tap at the Sly Fox in Phoenixville, PA. Poured a medium to darker amber color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of citrus, oranges, very light grapefruit and light caramel. Tastes of the same. Not your bitterness overload IPA and well balanced and tasty. Nice lacing left on the glass.

4.2
DocLock (11112) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 14, 2005
UPDATED: SEP 20, 2005 Draft at Phoenixville. This one arrived with a hazy orangish/dark copper color and a medium off-white head. I really liked the appearance of this one. The aroma was hoppy and fruity, with big black pepper and floral spiciness. The taste has the great malt backbone with the floral spiciness, subtle but firm hop presence, and some esters as it finishes. Complex, well balanced, and very enjoyable.

3.5
MartinT (10102) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - OCT 13, 2005
The Lure:
Suggestions of well-integrated spicy hops are displaced by the thought of blandness. It is certainly crafted with care, but it doesn’t attract much interest up front. Perhaps Challenger hops need more quantity late in the boil to develop a more alluring perfume?



The Festivities:
Orangey, wooden, and peppery hoppiness yield proficient flavor and bitterness. A round biscuity malt structure balances out the whole production, and enhances the flavor spectrum beautifully.



Transcendence:
Simultaneous efforts go further.

3.6
JoeMcPhee (9591) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 21, 2006
Tap at Barcade. Clear, amber beer with a fluffy white head. Great aroma, orange peel, mango, and a herbaceous grassy character that I quite enjoy. Very fresh smelling. Light pale malt in back, but this one is all about the hops. Very fruity flavour with sweet orange hops and a lovely soft spicy note throughout as well. Light woody resinousness as it warms a bit. Nice pint.

4.2
kramer (6908) - Sunbury, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 20, 2005
Draft at Phoenixville location. Pours a hazy copper, head settles to a thin creamy film. Forget lacing on this one, the whole opposite side of the glass was just covered in a creamy film. Aroma of fresh hops, malt, spicy, citrus. Flavor is great, lots of spicy hops and what tastes to me exactly like those red hot fireballs I used to eat as a kid. Strong malt background as well. Palate is full bodied and oily with great carbonation. The best beer I had there (of 7) by far. Very unique tasting IPA. I love the concept behind this beer, and just wish I was closer to be able to try their others in the Project.

3.4
ClarkVV (6893) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - JAN 18, 2007
Draught pint at Hop Devil Grill on 1/12/06
Canteloupe-brass body has a slight tint of auburn, while the off-white head is medium in height, mostly well-retained and provides light lacing. Clarity is high, with plentiful carbonation.
Highly spicy hop aroma is dotted with crystal malt hardness and bits of sweet graham cracker and caramel. The malts are well attenuated though, so they don’t provide too much a challenge to overcome by the hops (though some hop flavors are drowned out). But the hops seem pretty bare and overly dry. Not that I expected much else from challengers, I guess I just dont find it to make a good single-hop beer. Just too much dusty dryness and very subtle, dry, fresh cut grassiness that is too easily undercut by the malt. Lemon, pepper, grass, and a plethora of dry herbs, with clean yeast, no brewing flaws or alcohol even for its strength. Good strength on the aroma, being a more subtle hop, served on draught in a crowded bar, I’m impressed.
Dry, lightly crystally malts provide bits of melon-like flavors, with a pinch of caramel and soft red fruits. Hops start out as a lightly dull basil/thyme/oregano sort of thing, slowly adding freshly cut grass and finally growing extremely dry and spicy (white and black pepper). Almost like a spicy herb was used (lemongrass). A distinct, but reserved orange tanginess sits in the background. It’s different than any other IPA I can remember, that’s for sure, but the muted, or maybe more accurately, reserved malt flavors, in concert with the very dry, bare peppery-spiciness just get rather boring and predictable by the end of the glass. Medium amounts of somewhat tight carbonation. Some orange essence, lemon oil and a chewy, almost nutty plant-like flavor emerge after it warms up. Frothy, lively texture with no brewing flaws. Not too much resemblance to an American IPA.

3.8
egajdzis (6776) - Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 19, 2005
Poured a hazy amber color with a medium sized, off white head that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of pine, citrus, floral hops,a nd light caramel malt as well. Taste was very fruity, some caramel malts, grains, grassy hops, and citrus fruits, finishing with bitter fruits and light alcohol.

3.5
Rastacouere (6177) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - OCT 19, 2005
Lasting white head mounts the hazy reddish orange shade. Well displayed malts bring a cerealic, caramelly and toasted bread identity to this hop harvest, ripe oranges, blossoming flowers and mature herbs all mingling one around the other. Engaging carbonation, powdery texture, medium body. Very dry example with a solid bitterness and restrained acidity. Well balanced.

3.4
Dickinsonbeer (5073) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - DEC 18, 2005
Challenger has that earthy and grassy hops character similar to other english styles, but it actually wasnt as earthy as other harsh hop varieties like bramling cross etc. This was actually quite nice with some good floral hop qualities and a nice clean bitterness. Pretty good.

4
michael-pollack (4959) - King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 19, 2005
Draught @ Brewery: What aroma? I know this is supposed to be an aromatic hop varietal, but I don’t smell a thing. Beautiful, opaque, glowing orange color. Big white head. Good lacing. Really a pretty beer. Tastes of floral, spicy hop. Easy to drink. Makes the tounge tingle. Medium bodied. Overall, a good IPA.


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