Dec 18, 2016
Then I thought about. Boxes of clementines are always a gift from someone for Christmas. It started to make sense to me. And with the grey skies and painful cold blasts in the great out-of-doors, something that resembles sunshine can be very welcoming.
The copper color reminded me of the first few minutes of sunrise. The scents of citrus and it's zests were right on top. Behind it was a sweet roasted scent and buttery toffee. On first sip, the citrus notes were very big and running neck and neck with a lot of piney hops. After letting it breath a bit, things became more well rounded with other flavors coming out. The tang took on flavors of pineapple and mango along with the obvious sweet orange flavors and the IPA backbone dialed back on being just another hop monster letting the malt come out a bit giving a fresh baked bread characteristic. Like toast and marmalade? Yeah, a bit like that. The finish is sweet and a bit tart that sticks around for a bit but not in a way that a lot of imperial IPA's stick for what seems like hours.
The way the 9% abv goes about here is interesting. It's not "hot" or too pronounced but with each sip there is something lingering that reminds you that this isn't just some kind of shandy that can be knocked backed by the minute and still manage to walk a straight line to go jump in the lake. www.griffinclawbrewingcompany.com
Sep 5, 2015
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.
Feb 22, 2013
According to the Sierra Nevada press blurb this brew is "a hurricane of whole-cone hop flavor. Hopped, dry hopped and torpedoed for incredible hop flavor and complexity, Hoptimum is the pinnacle of whole-cone hoppiness and the biggest Imperial IPA we have ever produced. It features resinous “new school” hop varieties: Magnum, Chinook, Simcoe, Citra and a new experimental hop variety exclusive to Sierra Nevada."
A "new experimental hop variety exclusive"? Sounds top secret and a challenge to the drinker! Especially when later the one-sheet says it throws down the gauntlet to all other IPAs.
Even though I have been a serious "Gimme all them hops bitter you can! Citrus peel, pine and skunk bud flavors-BRING 'EM ON AND MAKE IT HURT!" IPA kinda guy for many years now I have found myself needing breaks from them from time to time. A few bottles of this been sitting in my fridge for a few weeks now. In a place where I could see it and reminding me of it's existence. Tonight the craving for one struck my fancy. After a week of hustle and bustle I just wanna chill and not head to the store. Alright, Hoptimum. Looks like it is you and me tonight.
The color here is hazy copper. The light tan head is slight but keeps a lot of it's retention making lace rings with each sip. The bouquet starts to jump right out of the glass after the pour. I was sitting 3 feet from the glass letting it breath a little bit. Banging huge hop aromas of lime and grapefruit from that distance. Further inspection up to the nose brings out lilts of green apple and rose petals.
On first sip the first noticed is the how full bodied it feels in the mouth with a right about of carbonation and slight oily texture to give it a fluffy exponent. Then BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The different hops seem to each take a different direction in a grapefruit, pine and white pepper explosion before all joining back together. Quite interesting. The tarts and bitters are then patted down with a caramel and honey sweetness. The finish is a blend of the above with a slight alcohol hotness but enough to think it's an over 10% abv.
Sierra Nevada never disappoints, do they?