Hop Chef- Triple Rock Brewery

When finding competitors for Hop Chef, it only made sense to have our sister brewery and oldest original brewpub in America on the roster. Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse has been serving students and professors alike in Downtown Berkeley since 1986. They are celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year with a state-of-the-art earthquake-proof expansion into the space next door. Amid construction, Brewmaster Jeff Kimpe and Brewer Mike Moroney have been working hard to keep up with demand, as well as taking the time to brew for our competition.

Jeff Kimpe was the final brewer to pull an ingredient at our drawing last month and was left with hibiscus. The first thoughts in his head? “Glad I didn’t get mint!” While he may be adverse to the greenery, he’s excited to be working with the flower. “I don’t want to say we usually always hit home runs but Mike and I know what we’re doing. We talk every day, you know, we have these hops, this is what we want to do. We just kept thinking of hibiscus and honey, how great they would pair together. Everything came together quickly, we just want it to not suck.” It helps that both Jeff and Mike have worked with hibiscus in the past, though in different ways. “I did a similar kind of thing a long time ago but on such a larger scale at Pyramid,” Jeff told us, “ I think we made a Hefeweizen, just one run. It wasn’t very nuanced, nothing like what we’ll be brewing for this competition.” Mike’s experience was with Ron Jeffries from Jolly Pumpkin. “I did a collaboration brew a long time ago. It was a saison with tamarind and hibiscus, barrel-aged with sour organisms… Turned out pretty well actually.”

With that background, Jeff and Mike have decided to brew Hello Hibiscus. “It’s a hibiscus ale. It’s its own style,” Mike informed us, “If people can’t taste the flower, we haven’t done our job.” They’re using 100% Pilsner malt, the lightest they could find, and a minimal hop presence to start with the blankest canvas possible. That way, the hibiscus should really show through. As for the name? “The color and the idea behind this beer had us thinking of Hello Kitty and the name just stuck,” Jeff laughs.

Will this pink lady win it all on April 16th? Get your tickets today for a day of music, food, and guaranteed tastes of all 16 unique brews, as well as voting tokens to help us choose the Champion Hop Chef Brewer!

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