Time Out Melbourne

Discover the sixth, hop-heavy, seasonal brew from James Squire

The Hop Thief beer began its lifein the late ’90s, when Rob “Freshy” Freshwater, Senior Brewer at the Malt Shovel Brewery, first started making it as a limited release. The beer took its name from the time when James Squire, newly arrived in Australia, stole some horehound (a hop-like herb and the closest he could find to the real thing) for use in his then-clandestine brewing operation.

The initial Hop Thief beer proved so popular that a few years later they did another Hop Thief and a few years after that released another. Eventually, it became clear that what had started out as a chance for the James Squire brewers to experiment a little was really striking a chord with beer consumers with its evolving hop bill. Which brings us to Hop Thief 6, the American-style pale ale.

The secret of the Hop Thief’s appeal over the years lies in the fact that its hops are always changing. If you buy a James Squire One Fifty Lashes pale ale or a Four ‘Wives’ pilsener, you know what your tastebuds are going to get. But with the Hop Thief, there’s always that element of surprise.

"Each time we feature hops from different countries," says Freshwater – those countries to date being America, New Zealand and Australia. Hop Thief 5, released in 2013, featured Citra and Centennial hops from the US, while Hop Thief 6 celebrates Simcoe and Columbus hops, also from the US.

The Simcoe hop gives a sort of passion fruit, pine-like character and the addition of a little bit of Columbus provides an earthy, floral characteristic. This hop combination is offset by the full-bodied, rich malt character of Crystal malts. Our compliments to the brewer.

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Updated on 21 Jul 2014.

By Ian Gerrard   |  
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