NHL hockey and craft beer are natural bedfellows. The former is billed as the coolest game on ice, the latter is best enjoyed ice cold, out of a frosty mug. Watching playoff hockey, particularly when it comes to our New York Rangers, is a particularly nerve-wrecking endeavor, one that could drive even the most dedicated teetotaler into the arms of a six pack.
After punching their ticket to the conference finals earlier this week with a thrilling, game 7 overtime victory, the Blueshirts are keeping things cool as ever at MSG. No small degree of that success is owed to a certain brick wall, otherwise known as Henrik Lundqvist. The league’s premiere big game goaltender is a legend in this town. He’s also my spirit animal. Cool, calm, and collected, ‘King Henrik’ commands more than unending praise, he deserves a Frosted Hop Strong Ale. It’s the beer of the week.
Brewed a few miles north of the Garden by Bronx-Based Gun Hill, Frosted Hop is an 8.2% red ale fit for a king. It’s also unusually juicy with fresh hops for this time of year. Harvest season for beer’s signature flavored flower typically runs from late August into September. But this beer is brewed in the thick of winter. To preserve that off-the-vine vivacity, brewmaster Chris Sheehan grew and hand-picked his own hops up in the Catskills and froze the flowers immediately after harvest. When it was time to start making Frosted Hop, he took his bounty off-ice and directly into the brewing vessels.
There are unexpected fruit tones in the mix, but don’t expect anything too cloying. This is a subdued offering with layers as complex as Lundqvist’s stick technique. And despite being generically classified as a strong ale, it would be easy to complete a hat trick of pints in a single session. It offers a smoothness belied by its elevated ABV.
Frosted Hop, available exclusively on draft throughout the city, should be served in a tulip or snifter style glass to maximize the floral aromas at its core. Although it would be even tastier when consumed from a certain, oversized sterling silver cup. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Try it this weekend at Brouwerij Lane in Greenpoint, or directly from the source at Gun Hill’s tasting room at 3227 Laconia Ave. in the Bronx–about a ten block walk from the Gun Hill Road stop on the 5. Arrive early to raise a pint to Henrik and the rest of the Rangers–coverage begins at 1PM Saturday on NBC.