Now that Victory's seasonal run of Whirlwind and Sunrise are coming to an end and getting harder to find in a town where a decent mircobrew selection is hard to find to begin with I decided it was high time to get a taste of something else is this (so far) fine brewery outta Downington, Pennsylvania has to offer. In my book IPA's are always worth taking a gamble on because they are one of my favorite kinds of brew even though there been those times where Lady Luck has not quite been on my side. Tonight she must've went out of her way to stack the deck in my favor because this is one of the best damn IPA's that I've never tried before in quite a while.
The aroma of oranges and caramel was different than what I usually smell had me intrigued right off the bat. Neither of them overpowering the other like they are in some kind of perfect harmony. I found the darkish orange color of it interesting too. Yeah, such a shade is expected in an IPA but there is something a little more eye catching about it here.
"Oh man. If this is half as good as it smells and looks" is all I was thinking but didn't get my hopes up too much though because, as I already said, I've tasted a fair share of IPA's that command a "Yeah...we get it. They're all about the hops but come on now. Don't you think this is a little out of hand?" response (and this coming from someone who LOVES plenty a hop in his ales) or the other end of the stick where it's like "Ummm...you realize that malt talking the lead does not any kind of pale ale make." This is almost perfect. The only reason I say almost is because I am just starting to hone the craft of home brewing. I know it's gonna take me a couple of years before I'll even have an idea of what I'm really doing but a pale is probably what I am gonna focus my first mastering skills on. Hop Devil is gonna be incorporated into that template. It's bitter but not that way too much pucker, the taste of lemon peel and caramel letting it go down smooth. The hops linger leaving a nice little twang in the mouth once it's down the throat but not anything shouting too loud "I'm 6.7% abv" the way a bunch of others do. Nice medium body...not too fizzy nor too oily. The only complaint I have is the name Hop Devil itself. After all it's got a hop bud fancied as a devil's face on the label. Off the name alone I was expecting something a bit more over the top and maybe a belly ache/esophagus fire the next day like a Bell's Two Hearted Ale at first and that was what I was prepared for. I don't feel let down at all that this is a bit more mellow than that...An almost perfect mellow as a matter of fact....A mellow that I can share with friends who are even of the too much persuasion as well as those that like the bite. No matter the season either. There's something about the way these guys do things (though I'm gonna wait til the colder months roll in before I try their Storm King Stout) where I have to say Victory does it again!!!