Friday, February 5, 2010
The Return of A Legendary Beer: Tuppers Hop Pocket Ale
The legend returns. As of late January 2010, a legendary Mid-Atlantic beer has returned after being off the market since 2007. That beer is Tuppers' Hop Pocket Ale which was brewed from 1997-2007 at the defunct Old Dominion Brewing Company (OD is technically still a brewery, but that is another story) of Ashburn, VA. Hop Pocket Pils was also brewed, but that particular beer has not returned as of yet.
Tuppers' is now brewed at the St. George Brewery of Hampton, VA. This beer can be found again in select markets in the DC Metro Area (VA, DC, MD) on draught and in bottles. It is a "contract" beer (Tuppers' has it brewed for them, they are a brewery only in name) and they describe Hop Pocket Ale as:
Amber-gold in color with a huge hop aroma. Striking hop and deep malt flavors, yet remarkably smooth.
6% alcohol by volume
Bottle and Keg Conditioned
Six week conditioning process (most ales take 6 to 8 days).
The bottle product is now marketed in 4-packs retailing for $10 a 4-pack. This beer is wonderfully hoppy in aroma, flavor, and bitterness. It has a solid malt backbone with good biscuit and toffee malt flavors which stand up well the the aggressive hop character of this beer. This beer is a nice aperitif beer, and a great beer to match with pub grub, fish and chips, or a nice steak or burger. It is well worth seeking out, and I am glad to see its return.
That being said, it is a bit pricey at $10 a 4-pack. I am willing to pay that, but truth be told Tuppers's Hop Pocket will only make the occasional stop in my beer refrigerator at those prices. I can find beers that are marketed in 6 packs that are as impressive as Hop Pocket for $2-$3 less. I am also getting two more bottles of beer with each purchase. I understand that is expensive to brew Hop Pocket, but reaching for a six great beers instead of four great beers might spell trouble for Tuppers' . There really is no way around it either. St. George's is a small brewer, and the economy of scale makes it expensive to brew a beer like Tupppers'. They have to pass some of that cost on to the consumer. My fear is, will the consumer understand that and be willing to pay that? If we really want to keep a beer like Tuppers' on the market, then we better get behind it.
I'm glad that has not been the case at the moment. This beer has flown off the shelves in all markets where it has been available, and demand for now is very high. A very good thing indeed. Good luck Tuppers' and welcome home! For more information visit the brewery's website at: