Gun Hill E Pluribus Lupulin No VI Speculum Speculorum, Bronx, New York
Date: November 30, 2018
The Story— Gun Hill opened in 2016 when a couple of baseball-playing buddies hired a brewmaster and found a good location a musket shot away from the site of the Revolutionary battle of Gun Hill.
We’ve said it over and over: you can have a great location and all the enthusiasm in the world, but if you don’t make good beer, someone down the street will, and you’re spent grain. Gun Hill’s narrative was good enough to get the beer poured in the theater featuring Hamilton, and their beers have been good enough to secure the market that was handed to them.
We’ve had well over a dozen of their beers in the past year or two. Their record isn’t perfect, though a wacky variation of a Berliner Weisse may well find a market niche that is far far away from ours. Most of the beers, however, have been good standard craft beers or better. Their best work has involved darkness and strength, but they produced an exceptionally good version of an American kolsch — one of the hardest styles to nail.
We found this beauty in a can at Poughkeepsie’s Half Time Liquors (see earlier posts for details). We’re still not altogether used to finding beers that could be well suited to embossed bottles with foil tops and maybe a brewery emulate ringing the neck …. in a can. But once it’s poured, it’s the taste and not the container that matters.
Our last post was on New Belgium’s The Hemperor, a beer that is starting to win us over for it’s dankness and complexity. But for a dank charge, you can’t do much better than Gun Hill’s Speculum Speculorum. Ellie rated it well above average, which is high praise from her for dank-in-your-face; for me, I just want to be pickled in it when I die. If we were doing a “beer of the month” and had to limit ourselves to 12 beers a year, I’d push for this one to be chosen.
The Beer—It’s a 9.3 Imperial/Double/Between-the-eyes IPA. Hugely dank from the start – earthy, pine, overripe fruit with oregano and mushroom. An assertive orange juice forces its way in at the end, but every sniff on every re-taste puts you back in dank barn. Ellie picked up the saltiness of the booze while I was distracted. “Sheesh, she said, though finishing her portion”. It seemed to me they brewed exactly what they intended to– and exactly what I wanted them to. Just pickle me in this when I die.
Value — Excellent! It would have been a fair price for a good craft beer. For this, just sell the car if you have to. You can’t drive after this anyway.
This week we focus on the US to highlight some great American craft beers, some of which we’ve found in researching out first US Beer publication: Brews and Snooze-– Breweries you can visit and walk back to a fine place to spend the night. Look for it in 2019.
Soon we return to HIGHLIGHTS OF EUROPE– Some of the great beers we’ve found in our European travels. A few may be some of the surprisingly good beer we’ve found in “bad beer cities” as we researched our next book – a guide to great beer in European tourist cities. (Planned publication 2019.) We’ll shift back to great American beer finds next week.
COMING IN DECEMBER: THE TEN BEST IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS. We count down to the New Year by thinking back of some of the greatest beers we’ve found in the last five years of hunting. These beers are in our top 0.2% of the beers we’ve tasted recently.