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I’ve been trying to get my hands on this one for a while. With quite the cult following and many prestigious awards to back it up, here is Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA.
Pours incredibly crisp and clear with a sticky white head that won’t go away. Citrus and pine dominate the aroma, as expected. Lots and lots of hops here. Attractive lacing, too. At 87 IBUs, you’ll definitely feel the bitterness. Not much in the way of malt for balance, it’s a just a big bruiser. So if that’s your thing, you’ll love it!
Great Lakes is not known for big, hoppy brews. But if they keep pumping out gems like Alchemy Hour, that could change.
The extra hops are evident early in the aroma with overflowing grapefruit and sweet citrus. The citrus hops hit first, but the pine comes in at the end. Sweet malt and citrus balance with bitter hops brilliantly. With a combination of Mosaic, Nugget, and Cascade hops, I’ve never had a beer quite like this. At 80 IBUs and 9.4% ABV, this is quite a hefty beer, but it should be.
Another outstanding offering from Great Lakes
I like that Rye malt is a growing trend in craft beer. Here is the very cleverly named Rye of the Tiger from Great Lakes.
I expected the color to be more red, but this is a faint orange. Viscous head won’t let go of the glass. Spicy hops present in the aroma. Don’t be mislead by the Rye in the name, this is a full on IPA. And wow does this tiger attack. Clocking in at 92 IBUs, this is hugely bitter. That’s a full 12 IBUs more than Great Lakes’ new DIPA (which I will be getting to soon). The rye is there if you search for it, but this is all about the hops. It’s very interesting coming from Great Lakes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Great Lakes, but most of their beers are not this aggressively hopped.
Hop heads will delight
Their words, not mine. Also their words
Originally brewed in 2011 as a Brown Shugga’ substitute, due to construction-induced capacity issues. But we liked it so much it had to make a return trip.
So here we have Lagunitas Sucks, a brew boasting a complex malt backbone and a whopping dose of hops to make it a double IPA.
Pours a bit lighter and crisper than expected. The frothy white head doesn’t stick around for long. Hops completely dominate the aroma. Yeah, a double IPA for sure. Hop oils assault the palate. Grapefruit and pine, mostly. Hint of heat from the 7.8% ABV. Rye comes through a bit in the finish. But this is all about the hops. Surprisingly, it’s only 65 IBUs. Thought this would push closer to 100.
Hop heads, get it!
This is the first I’ve ever heard of New Albanian Brewing Company, which is in New Albany, Indiana.
Hoptimus is their Imperial IPA. With a kickass robot brandishing a red star and boasting 100 IBUs, Hoptimus seems to be saying “I will break your taste buds.”
Pours orange and surprisingly crisp and clear for an Imperial IPA. Thin layer of a white head floats atop. The aroma is all fresh, citrusy hops. The punch is not as big as expected from a 100 IBU beer, but you know it’s an IPA. Loads of citrus and grassy hops give it a very fresh, summery flavor. Enough sweetness from the malt to cut through. With no bottling date, there is no way to know how old it is. The flavor is great, but I’m wondering if the hops have lost some potency. Oh, and it clocks in pushing 11% ABV.
Even if this is a little old, it’s really tasty. Lots of hops, enough malt to give it some balance, and deceptively smooth for its ABV and IBU. I’ll definitely do this again!
This is one I have actually enjoyed several times, but am just now getting around to enjoying.
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is a big, punishing IPA. Interestingly, the only hops used in this are Centennial. Light orange color with a massive, rocky head. Aroma is overloaded with the Centennial hops. Surprisingly light body. Flavors of orange, grapefruit, and caramel. Super hoppy brew. Almost makes you pucker. Hops stick around for a long time in both flavor and bitterness.
Nothing to hide here. Just a ton of Centennial hops and 7% ABV. Hop heads will love it!
I am finally having what is considered to be one of the better Midwestern IPAs, New Holland Mad Hatter.
Pours a cloudy copper with a clingy beige foam. Pungent citrus hops attack from the aroma. However, the hops are a little more subdued (don’t read scant) in the flavor. Decidedly bready malt offers a nice counter balance. Bitter finish leading to a lingering flavor from the Centennial hops.
Another cool thing New Holland does with Mad Hatter is all the different variations, like Black Hatter, White Hatter, Imperial Hatter, Oak Aged Hatter, etc. All with fantastic labels.
Very nice IPA, even if it isn’t a bruiser.
Sadly, my little treat of North Carolina beers is coming to an end with Foothills Hoppyum IPA. Pours a deep gold with a sticky white head. Just from the aroma, I know this is going to pack quite the hops punch. Loads of Simcoe hops and their distinctive grapefruit aroma comes through most noticeably.
This is one for you hopheads. Along with the Simcoe, plenty of Columbus, Centennial, and Cascade balance the hops flavors among each other. Slightly toasted malt is evident in the finish, but the hops are the whole story here. Long, dry, puckeringly bitter finish. Clocks in at 78 IBUs, but I expected it to be closer to 100. As it warms, everything mellows out and becomes much easier to drink.
One for hopheads, for sure, but let it go for a bit and it becomes very tasty, indeed. Packs a lot of punch, but good harmony among the hops varieties.
Don’t let the name fool you, Evil Twin Before, During and After Christmas is not a winter warmer full of cinnamon and nutmeg, it’s a monster Double IPA.
You’ll know before the first sip from the hazy orange color, creamy white head, and huge hops aromas. Hops dominate the flavor, too. Lots of pine and citrus. A hint of caramel and bread. Outstanding lacing. Fantastically bitter, too. I wasn’t able to find an IBU rating, but it would not surprise me if this is 100+.
If you like bruising IPAs, seek this one out!
Stone is not shy about their use of hops. In fact, it’s almost like they see how much hops flavor they can get into every beer and that is no exception with the 100+ IBU Ruination IPA.
Pours a hazy yellow, but the symphony of bold hops in the smell tell you to prepare for an assault. Starts out with a bit of orange marmalade before the hops attack. Tons of pine and grapefruit, but just enough lightly toasted malt to give it some backbone. So bitter you’ll pucker and might even get goosebumps.
A punisher, this. But there is enough complexity here that it’s not just a one note hops bludgeoning. But it’s a 100+ IBU from Stone. What else would you expect?