Hop Chef: The Mint Feud

So then, there’s us. The entire week before the Hop Chef ingredient drawing, our Brewmaster John Gillooly joked about how much he wanted mint as his secret ingredient. In other words, mint was the one ingredient he absolutely did not want. Low and behold, we drew mint. “Mint is terrible,” commented our Barrelmaster Travis Camacho. “It’s hard to brew with anything that is vegetal, it breaks down too easily. Plus, it’s a very contrasting flavor, making it difficult to pair.”

What we initially lacked in enthusiasm for our ingredient, we made up for in options. John and our Travis came up with, and brewed, four different options for our Hop Chef entry. But in fairness, only one minted beer will be officially entered. What did they concoct?

Barrel-aged 5-1-0: Our barrel-aged 5-1-0 malt liquor infused with smoked mint and cinnamon. This one is John’s favorite; he was able to rope Drake’s Dealership’s Executive Chef Taylor Smith into smoking mint for this beer. What was his inspiration for this monster? “Imagine you’re half-passed out on the couch, watching… Real Housewives.  You have a 1/3 bottle of Old E 800 in one hand, and a Newport in the other hand.  You put the cigarette out in your beer and nod off.  You wake up an hour later and your mouth is all dry. You take a sip of your water… except that’s not water, it’s Fireball!  You grab your 40 and take a hit. Barrel-aged 5-1-0 with lots of stuff thrown in it.”

Mojito Oaklanderweisse: Our belinerweisse style beer, with lime zest, cucumber, and fresh mint. The end result is a sublime blend of classic cocktail flavors in your glass. It tastes exactly as it sounds. DELICIOUS!

The Colonel: Inspired by Mint Juleps, we took our Headzo, a barrel-aged American Strong ale, and blended it with some barrel-aged Amber. We infused mint to create a fresh snap of flavor to parry the bourbon warmth. It is delightful!

Junior Mint: Our session porter fermented with cocoa nibs, vanilla, and mint. Dark malts and the cocoa nibs form a rich chocolatey foundation for vanilla and mint flavors that linger on the palate after every sip. This beer is your favorite movie theater treat in a glass.

So which one will make it to the competition? It is yet to be decided. The brewery is currently battling it out as to which one will prevail. There may be some blood shed. We’ll have to wait till Saturday to find out.


  1. Jennifer Mahoney says:

    Is there going to be a time to come taste all 4 mint beers at either location?