Merchant: Decatur Mini Kroger
Service: 22 oz Bottle
Style: India Pale Ale
Color: Orange (12 SRM)
Expectations/Notes: Reviewing another IPA? Yes. I love IPA’s, and like most of the varieties I try, I didn’t expect to be inspired to write about this one. It’s not that I assumed it wouldn’t be worthy, it’s that most (almost all, really) are so good. If you are a hop-head, when is the last time you had bad IPA? It’s rare. That’s why I’m a little at odds with what is probably my favorite style; the standard is incredibly narrow and they are extremely consistent across all brewers. It’s a wonderful thing. I purchased Hop’lin expecting a delicious India Pale Ale. At this point you have probably figured out that this one is worth writing about.
Pour: Hop’lin pours out of the can very cloudy and slightly dark for the style. I love cloudy IPA’s, they’re so hot right now. The label mentions caramel flavor so I’m looking forward to it. Last pouring note, even with a hard pour down the center of the glass there isn’t much head so the carbonation should be pretty light.
Smell: A light hop aroma over very subtle hints of caramel and citrus.
Taste: The first drag is very hopped up. A resiny mouth feel is present immediately. This beer is dry-hopped big-time. The caramel malt flavor is right there too. They make a great bitter and sweet contrast.
The carbonation is medium to light and the malt back-bone is average.
It’s hard to stand out in the crowded IPA field but the hop oils in Hop’lin are doing a fantastic job. The bitterness sticks around and gets richer and drier. Late in the glass, once the palate is thoroughly coated, it gets piny and floral. At this point the caramel is covered by the bitter hops but I’m not complaining.
Final thought: I love hops and Hop’lin delivers. It also delivers more complexity. Cloudy IPA’s, so hot right now.
Pair with: Vinegar covered chips, blue cheese or goat cheese and crackers or a bratwurst.