Finding an ideal lawnmower beer to celebrate yet another successful yardwork session has always been a struggle for me. My beer fridge is normally overrun with the usual lineup of hop bombs and viscous imperial stouts, which are delightful but too overpowering and frankly NSFY (not safe for yardwork). After an hour or so of trimming and mowing, I usually retreat to my hammock with a beer and stare at my neighbor’s pool.
Luckily, the last time I was doing yardwork, I had a Sankofa Beer Company’s Hypebiscus waiting for me. Sankofa, a word from the Akan people of Ghana that means “go back and get it.” According to the Washington, DC brewery’s website, “Sankofa is a symbol for the understanding that in order to ensure a strong future you must return to collect and understand your past.” And what better way for the owners to connect with their West African roots than to make their flagship beer a pale ale with hibiscus, a plant native to West Africa that’s used to make a deep red-colored tea.
Hypebiscus pours a clear, copper color with a thin off-white head. For a beer with hibiscus, I was expecting a dark reddish purple. First sniff is bready, malty sweetness with some pine, citrus and some floral notes. The taste follows the nose with orange peels, pine, and floral notes. The hibiscus helps round out any of the citrus bitterness, giving the beer a perceived sweetness despite its dry finish. The simplicity of all the ingredients and how well they work together is the hallmark of this beer.
At 6% ABV, it’s a tad too heavy for my taste to serve as a lawnmower beer. However, it is an excellent hammock beer, perfect for killing some time while waiting for a pool party invitation.