despite having to fanny around "at work" I did find time to visit the Sheffield Tap and to sample some new beers from a new brewery.
Hop Studio brewery, I am assured by my most reliable barkeep at the Sheffield Tap, are based in York, very near to the Pivovar warehouse. No surprise then that they chose the Pivovar family to showcase the first of their new beers.
Hop Studio brewery have just started production and launched at the York Tap, with the head brewer there I understand, and simultaneously the Euston and Sheffield Taps. I found many links to their launch, alas no brewery site, but have chosen to send you to the Trembling Madness link, a place I like, without ever having been there! Link.
Today I tried three of their beers, the Gold, XS and Pilsner, the three of which in halves came to £4.65. The barkeep insisted that the irony was that they weren't hoppy - on my ponderous wobbly amble to a seat I thought gleefully about a malty Hop Studio beer and all the pedantic, supercilious furore this would cause(probably from me I concede), but when I tried them, it was clear that this was not the whole story.
The keg Pilsner started well, like a Czech pilsner, but soon wained in the glass and ended up lame, failing to match the follow through of the better Czech offerings. The Gold, the weakest of the 3, was admittedly not that hoppy, more noticeably dry. I wasn't taken by this initially but it grew on me through the drink and had a strange if intriguing malt flavour at the forefront, which showed bitter-dry in the aftertaste.
By far the best offering was the XS, which really did have some hops at the front, carrying off the characteristics of a slightly astringent (and admirable for being really well rounded) dry premium bitter, bursting with hops, malt and a balance and depth which belied its beer infancy.
Its either amusing or misleading that they are called Hop Studio, yet aren't a predominantly hop forward producer, but that's irrelevant really. You should try the beers based on their merits as individual brands (and I'm sure you will) and let the name of the brewery perform its tacitly unidentifiable semantic role without worrying about the prevalence, or not, of Simcoe.
All in all this is an assured start. Lets hope to see more!