Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Something new under the sun: Hoplark HopTea

    For a guy who doesn't drink, I spend a lot of time in bars. Which raises the question, What do you drink in a bar if you don't want to drink booze? Club soda is zupped down in a heartbeat. Regular sodas are either sugary or vile. Non-alcoholic beers are surprisingly good nowadays—Beck's, St. Pauli Girl, Clausthaler—but not every bar stocks them. Lack of demand, I suppose.
     Craft mocktails can be quite good, redolent of mint or basil or cucumber, particularly at a chi-chi restaurant like The Dearborn in the Loop, my new favorite go-to place.
     But both of those have drawbacks: calories for one.  And they also can be hard to find.
     I was far from the Loop, however, last spring, sitting in a sushi bar in Boulder, Colorado, when the bartender, considering my strange interest in beverages non-alcoholic, suggested Hoplark HopTea, iced tea that is brewed like beer, with zero calories, zero sugar and zero alcohol.
   Introduced in June, 2018, made right there in Boulder, it had a surprising, refreshing, kindy beerish, kinda tealike taste.  It was complicated, and took time to drink, which is kinda the point. You can buy HopTea at a number of Whole Foods around Chicago, as well as other locations, as detailed on their web site.
     The restaurant, just in case you ever get to Boulder, was Japango on the Pearl Street Mall. I liked the food, the service, the ambience, and the cylindrical tank filled with jellyfish.  So much that, with the broad range of Boulder restaurants at our fingertips, we went back the next day to have lunch at Japango a second time. Good call.

1 comment:

  1. Well, Neil got me hooked on Yasso, which to me taste remarkably like fudgesicles, so if I can find HopTea, I will be sure to give it a try, hoping it has the flavor of a Heineken, something I hesitate to indulge in, since just one has unpleasant morning-after effects these golden-age days.



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