When you tell someone that their white India pale ale contains coriander, you can typically anticipate one of three responses:
- "Ooh, like Hoegaarden!"
- "Ugh, like Hoegaarden?"
- "What's coriander?"
Coriander is a herb derived from the seeds of the cilantro plant, which is itself a divisive edible. For reasons unknown to science, cilantro leaves taste distinctly different to some people, who describe the taste as 'soapy'. Coriander itself is strongly aromatic, but is sometimes used to flavour milder beers, such as wheat ales. Like cilantro, the results are nowhere near universally appealing. I don't mind Hoegaarden, a similarly styled But less hoppy beer from Belgium, but I don't think I am in the majority.
Peak Organic's Hop Blanc pours a hazy yellowish-gold, a familiar sight to anyone who's drunk an unfiltered wheat ale. The head builds nicely, easily the calendar's best representative in this regard.
There is a lot of piney hop character in the nose, again, hardly unexpected, but not unpleasant. The coriander can be detected as well, but is not overpowering.
Unsurprisingly, the hop flavours dominate the taste, but this blunts the coriander effects effectively without smothering them. The overall effect is crisp, flavourful, refreshing, and maybe even a little exotic. I think this would make an excellent beer to serve with a meal; fish and chips seems like a god match, or a light pasta. Nothing too salty though, as quenching one's thirst with a 6.4% beer isn't too good an idea if you are having more than one!
Not a beer for everyone, certainly, but fans of IPAs and those with a slightly adventurous palate run a decent chance of enjoying Hop Blanc.