Sep 5, 2015

Hideout Brewing's Batch 700: Imperial Gunman

     For many years I was serious about overhopped beers. I was all about the pine, the citrus, the weed, the bitters, the burn and so on but it was getting to a point with me where it some beers didn't even care about complexities or any other flavors. It seemed a quite a few brewers were in a contest to top each other on who could capture the flavor of spending a week having to eat yourself out of meadow and have that taste stick around for days, maybe even weeks, in the back of your mouth.
     It got ridiculous so started to keep away from the style, shifting my palate to other ones. Not because I was scared. It was simply because the antics of it all got stupid. It was gonna take something that cared something about more than being just hop juice to get me to try an IPA I hadn't before. Over the summer, Grand Rapids brewery Hideout had bottles of some of their wares (somewhat) showing up in my (somewhat) part of the state. Perusing the shelf I saw that this IPA promised heavy malting ALONG with a generous helping of hops. On the label it promised that the hop lover what they wanted but also something a bit more well balanced.
     "Hmmmm, a brewery that is making an IPA that remembers malt is still supposed to be tasted in the profile AND they're pointing out that there's more to it than just a hop explosion?" I thought to myself. "You're coming home with me."
     Pouring a musty, cloudy chestnut brown in color with a dense head that melts fairly quickly, leaving patchy lacing behind, there's a very earthy look to this beer. Smells of chocolate malt, candied fruits, dates, pecans along with lemongrass tinged hops stand out firmly on the nose, working in harmony instead of one of them feeling the need to push its way to the front.
     On first sip a slightly bitter than usual traditional barley wine comes to mind. Bakers chocolate, roasted coffee and dried figs serve as a backbone and the basic stricture that can be tasted all the way through the beer. The Amarillo and Zythos hops take steps into the limelight take solos that pay nods to black pepper, candied yams, orange peel and vanilla beans.
     The finish has a bit of bitter zing that hangs around the sides and the back of the mouth while the throat feels a bit of a warming rye whiskey and cocoa thing happening.
     With some new brewery popping up every day in this state its hard to keep track and even come close to trying everything. Hideout has been around for over a decade but just started bottling stuff the last year or so. They're a pretty small operation so their beers can be hard to find but things like Imperial Gunman along with some of the other beers they've been doing make them worth seeking out.
www.hideoutbrewing.com

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