Review: Schlafly Hop Toddy

In Beer Reviews by The Guys

Schlafly says:

“Schlafly No.20, Volume 2: Hop Toddy was created by the second generation of Schlafly brewers – James “Otto” Ottolini, now head of brewing operations at Schlafly Bottleworks, and Sara Hale and Jack Petrovic, who are involved in St. Louis’ local food movement. Hop Toddy showcases our desire to experiment beyond the boundaries of traditional beer styles.

This wheat ale is brewed with local wheat and honey, with a hint of concentrated lemon juice. A dry-hopping with Citra hops and aging in bourbon barrels makes it the beer equivalent of a hot toddy.”

Schlafly Hop Toddy
American Strong Ale, 9% ABV

Andrew: Every once in a while, and trust me when I say it doesn’t happen very often, we run into a beer that makes us step back and say, “Dude, that is one weird beer.” Or maybe it’s more of a, “Really? They made a beer like that?”

Which leads us to Schlafly’s Hop Toddy, a beer that is still making me scratch my head a bit because I seriously liked this beer, but man it was strange.

No doubt many of our faithful readers have had a warm hot toddy in the dead of winter and basically that’s what we have here, in beer form.

With a nose full of hops, honey and grapefruit and a flavor profile of lemon tea or more accurately an Arnold Palmer (though, the alcoholic version of that would be the John Daly), the Hop Toddy is a balanced, somewhat complex and very good beer.

But man was it strange.

Ryan: Strange? Yes. Awesome? Also, yes.

This is another one of those bottles that we hung on to for a while because we couldn’t carve out the time to drink. That, and anytime I mentioned that it was bourbon barrel aged Karl got a little hesitant. I guess that five year vertical of Bourbon County Stout really did do a number on him.

Although, I shouldn’t be so hard on him. I did, on multiple occasions, suggest this as the last beer of the night – which is now a no-no lest I want to get punched in the arm (real threat).

Thankfully, once we did crack this open, we were pleased to find that the bourbon barrel aging didn’t make for any overpowering, boozy flavors. Instead, it created a nice warming sensation – much like you would expect a hot toddy to. Hence the name…

Pouring IPA-ish in color with a crisp white head, the Hop Toddy gives off a pleasant nose of lemons and citrus-y hops.

Take a gulp, which is okay with this one despite the 9% ABV, and you are hit with – well – flavors reminiscent of a cup of tea. There’s honey and lemon and that aforementioned warming from the barrel aging. It’s thick, but not too thick. And it isn’t overly sweet either.

Andrew hit this on the head. It is a John Daly (lemonade, tea and vodka), no doubt about it. And, as unique as it was, I would certainly drink it again without hesitation.

Karl: A couple of years ago I went through a winter phase of making hot toddy’s and hot buttered rum drinks.  It only lasted long enough to know that I wasn’t enough of a mixologist to put those things together yet..and that’s what makes me so in awe of this beer.

The favors of this beverage would be impressive if they were mixed table side and put in front of me by a skilled  bartender. The fact that these favors were all boiled together and let to sit in a bottle for a few months is nigh on miraculous because this is like no beer I’ve had in…okay, well ,ever.

This is a light bodied, friendly flavored beer with an intriguing mix of refreshing lemon, delicate orange and…amazingly, tea. Yes, herbal tea, savory and rich and complex and yet woven into the citrus favors to create a medley or a beer that is less mixed drink than it is the most impressive Arnold Palmer (or, as the guys also hammer home above, a John Daly; I’ll take their word for both because I know jack crap about golf) ever devised. I trust them when they say it was bourbon barrel aged…but I got none of that. Just nice tea and citrus.

We like to go to our notes sometimes, either when they’re illegible or when they sum things up quickly for us. This beer finished off a long night of tastings, and yet my thoughts remain crystal clear when I write:

“Shit, this is good.

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Written by many, compiled by one, this is a collaborative post with contributions from at least two writers at Guys Drinking Beer.

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