4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Beer with that fresh-mowed lawn flavor

After Lemon & Grassy, looking forward to Tropical & Juicy

These beers are fresh because they're only available three months at a time.
These beers are fresh because they're only available three months at a time.

As if it weren't already hard enough on a beer reporter's narrative flow to discuss the multi-label San Marcos brewhouse known as Port Brewing and the Lost Abbey, earlier this year it launched yet another entity under the same roof: Hop Concept. As you might guess, IPAs are the specialty of this third offshoot of the company that is affiliated with, yet separate from, Pizza Port.

Thus far, the Hop Concept has strictly released seasonal IPAs collectively dubbed the Hop Freshener series. Each 22-ounce bottle release features a hop cone shaped label designed to resemble the sort of cardboard air freshener you might hang from the rear-view mirror of your car.

If all this branding sounds confusing, bear with me, because here's where it finally gets simple. Each Hop Freshener release gets a name describing exactly what you can expect from the beer, boiled down to a two-word descriptor. So, in February it released a green label IPA called Dank & Sticky. In May came Citrus & Piney, an IPA brewed with orange zest and with an orange label. In August we got a third release: Lemon & Grassy. Brewed with lemon zest, that gets a yellow label, naturally. And guess how it tastes?

Sponsored
Sponsored

I picked up a bottle at the Best Damn Beer Shop in Golden Hill's Krisp Market — because this story is already about complicated brand concepts, so why not include a bottle-shop chain that only exists inside a grocery chain? I will say this about the Best Damn Beer Shop: its selection is impressive. Its prices are not. In my experience, local beers here cost 10 to 30 percent more than elsewhere. My Hop Concept cost $7.99 before tax, and I've heard rumors the same has been found at Trader Joe's for as little as $5.99.

Back home, I poured Lemon & Grassy gently into a pint glass, resulting in very little foam though still quite a bit of lively carbonation. This is one sparkling amber beverage.

The lemon notes hit on the aromatic side, brought along by the combo of six hop varieties including the notably fruity Galena, Lemon Drop, Nelson and Sorachi Ace. The inclusion of lemon zest didn’t strike me as juicy the way other recent rind-brewed beers have, like Modern Times' Fortunate Islands with grapefruit zest.

Instead, Lemon & Grassy was brought down to earth by the grassy half of the equation. The dank fresh-mowed lawn flavor all but consumed any malt profile, coating my tongue with a full and thick bitterness, while the citrus notes played across the roof of my mouth. It's lemony, yes, but mostly this drinks like a throwback — something from another time, before the expression of fruit became a big selling point in IPAs.

It finishes that way as well, with a lingering, roundly bitter aftertaste. I look forward to comparing it to the next release in this series, Tropical & Juicy. Something tells me that will deliver an altogether different experience.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Blood all over north San Diego County

Eva Knott's favorite stories she has written for the Reader
These beers are fresh because they're only available three months at a time.
These beers are fresh because they're only available three months at a time.

As if it weren't already hard enough on a beer reporter's narrative flow to discuss the multi-label San Marcos brewhouse known as Port Brewing and the Lost Abbey, earlier this year it launched yet another entity under the same roof: Hop Concept. As you might guess, IPAs are the specialty of this third offshoot of the company that is affiliated with, yet separate from, Pizza Port.

Thus far, the Hop Concept has strictly released seasonal IPAs collectively dubbed the Hop Freshener series. Each 22-ounce bottle release features a hop cone shaped label designed to resemble the sort of cardboard air freshener you might hang from the rear-view mirror of your car.

If all this branding sounds confusing, bear with me, because here's where it finally gets simple. Each Hop Freshener release gets a name describing exactly what you can expect from the beer, boiled down to a two-word descriptor. So, in February it released a green label IPA called Dank & Sticky. In May came Citrus & Piney, an IPA brewed with orange zest and with an orange label. In August we got a third release: Lemon & Grassy. Brewed with lemon zest, that gets a yellow label, naturally. And guess how it tastes?

Sponsored
Sponsored

I picked up a bottle at the Best Damn Beer Shop in Golden Hill's Krisp Market — because this story is already about complicated brand concepts, so why not include a bottle-shop chain that only exists inside a grocery chain? I will say this about the Best Damn Beer Shop: its selection is impressive. Its prices are not. In my experience, local beers here cost 10 to 30 percent more than elsewhere. My Hop Concept cost $7.99 before tax, and I've heard rumors the same has been found at Trader Joe's for as little as $5.99.

Back home, I poured Lemon & Grassy gently into a pint glass, resulting in very little foam though still quite a bit of lively carbonation. This is one sparkling amber beverage.

The lemon notes hit on the aromatic side, brought along by the combo of six hop varieties including the notably fruity Galena, Lemon Drop, Nelson and Sorachi Ace. The inclusion of lemon zest didn’t strike me as juicy the way other recent rind-brewed beers have, like Modern Times' Fortunate Islands with grapefruit zest.

Instead, Lemon & Grassy was brought down to earth by the grassy half of the equation. The dank fresh-mowed lawn flavor all but consumed any malt profile, coating my tongue with a full and thick bitterness, while the citrus notes played across the roof of my mouth. It's lemony, yes, but mostly this drinks like a throwback — something from another time, before the expression of fruit became a big selling point in IPAs.

It finishes that way as well, with a lingering, roundly bitter aftertaste. I look forward to comparing it to the next release in this series, Tropical & Juicy. Something tells me that will deliver an altogether different experience.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Will Biden lease Miramar land for homeless tent city?

Soon-Shiong loses augmented reality patent battle against Niantic,
Next Article

Pear Blossoms Blooming, "Green Comet," Groundhog Day in San Diego

Later sunsets, earlier sunrises
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close