As beer enthusiasts we all have that one friend who is a Hop Head–they’re always talking about that dry hopped, imperial, double, triple, quadruple, long boiled India pale ale they had that was so high octane (upwards of %10 ABV) that it blew their faces off and they suggest you try it. Of course they forget to mention how high the price was for a 4-pack or a bomber. So I thought I would share two hop bombs that are reliably well balanced and won’t blow a hole in your tongue or wallet!
Numero uno on my list is the Hop Stimulator, a local DIPA from Funky Buddha in Oakland Park, FL. At 88 IBUs, it’s citrusy and grassy to start with a good malt backbone that quite effectively balances the beer as a whole. This characteristic also hides the fact that it is a 9.5% ABV brew.
The next brew has a little harder to find, but if you know where to look periodically, you can get this imperial IPA and it consistently delivers! It is the Enjoy By series by Stone Brewing out of California. It has a quality of dankability (no I did not make that up); dank = pungent, usually from the types of hops used, frequency of use, hop oils that are used, even the boiling time (or combinations of one or all of these). It is incredibly well balanced, but it’s not for first time IPA drinkers.
These are a good starting point for beer lovers who want to move to the next level of hop enjoyment. I warn you however that these are not for the faint of palate. Some non-IPA drinkers describe the taste as metallic or coppery for their first tries–if you try these out and are not prepared, you may need to have a wheat beer on hand to get the taste out…YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
James Beaver, beer consultant – Lake Buena Vista