Take me home hophead!

Port Brewing Wipeout IPA

This is a new brewery to export to the northwest and quickly becoming a favorite. A 7% hop treasure, it combines Amarillo, Centennial, and Simcoe hops with a full malt body. Very citrusy with a subtle long finish, very smooth yet tingles on your tongue and the hop taste follows down your throat.

Port Brewing High Tide IPA

A seasonal IPA using Amarillo, fresh Centennials, and dry hopped with Chinook hops. Another winner IPA and much different from the Wipeout. While not as strong at only 6.6% it is still amazingly hoppy with fresh grassy hop flavor and the floral yet citrusy flavor of the Chinooks. Very light in color with a very long finish.

Port Brewing Hop 15

This is one of the most amazing beers you will find. How can you go wrong when brewing with 15 hops!!! They won't tell which ones are in there but it would probably take less time to tell which are not anyways! At 9.7% this is not to be taken lightly but so smooth you will not believe that the alc is this high. Although this is very hoppy, it is not as over the top as a Hopsickle...very drinkable. You are constantly hit by different waves of hop flavors...a very complex IPA. It has definitely inspired me to experiment with more hops in my home brewing. I am now planning on getting a bunch of brewers together with 15 hops and have each make their own version of this beer.

Port Brewing Old Viscosity

Oil...Texas Tea! If you mixed Arrogant Bastard and Oil you would have something similar to this perfectly named brew. While probably not the cup of tea of most hopheads...this is a very complex, dark ale that at 10.5% could warm up your motor on any cold day. Incredibly rich and full flavor with very complex hints of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and many other flavors yet so smooth.


Victory Hop Wallop IPA

A very flowery hop flavor is the first thing that hits you with this IPA. It is very thin on malt and all about the hops. Very strong at 8.5% and tastes like it...no hiding the alc. here! It has a very long finish and is what I imagine an Imperial Bridgeport IPA would taste like.


Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA

I must say I was beyond skeptical when a friend told me he was bringing this over. While I have enjoyed a few Belgian style IPA's they have all been done by Northwest brewers that have access to all our great hops. I rarely even like European IPA's and am not a fan of most Belgian Tripels. That being said, I found this to be an eye openning beer. While very light in color and not much in the way of malt flavor, it was not overly sweet like some Tripels. It is very strong at 9% but holds it well. It does have that Belgian yeasty taste that turns me off of Belgian Tripels but it was balanced nicely with the crisp hop flavors. Very creamy head that tingles on your tongue. I'm very happy to see this exchange program working both ways...NW brewers making Belgians and now Belgians making NW IPA's!


Lagunitas Kill Ugly Radio

Growing up a huge Zappa fan I knew I had to have this bottle...little did I know, I would keep buying these bottles for a much different reason. While they don't call this an IPA, this is more than hoppy enough and strong enough to hold its own with almost any double IPA. Very light orange in color with a bright white head, it is very citrusy with great hop flavor and a smooth finish. You could never tell it is 7.8% by the taste.

Lagunitas Lumpy Gravy

Yeah, I know...how can I do 2 years of Zappa beers together and still call this the "New Brew Review"? I'm a slacker, give me a break! After loving the Kill Ugly Radio, I expected this to be another IPAish ale but should have known by the name it was not. This is a very dark, smooth, high octaine winter ale that carries many layers of flavor. A very complex arrangement of flavors...much like a Zappa Mother's song! This one is only 7.2% but you can taste the alcohol more than the previous Zappa brew.


Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu

I am a big fan of all the Dogfish Head IPA's and many of their other quirky brews but this one missed the mark for me. While I'll give them that it is a "unique beer" it was unique for the wrong reasons. It lacks any hop flavor or malt flavor for that matter and tasted more like a strange fruit wine. At 8% it will kick some booty but we had to choke this one down at a recent beer tasting NW Hophead meeting.


Moylans Irish Style Red Ale

As a big fan of Moylans IPA's, I had really hoped that this would be a hoppy red along the lines of Rogue or Waterstreet's Red but it really wasn't. While it is a decent red it was not anything special and not sure I could buy this one again. It pours a bright orange/red and has a decent head but a little too sweet and not enough malt flavor.


Harmon Port Defiance IPA

Excess use of Amarillo hops gives this IPA a great orange citrusy hop flavor and aroma. Not to mention the dry hopping with Centenials and use of Sterlings for bittering, this is a great everyday hophead friendly IPA. It comes in at 5.6% and has a great malt body to go along with all those hops.


Elysian The Immortal IPA

I prefer this IPA to the Jasmine IPA they offer as a seasonal. It is a little more malt forward than hoppy but pretty well balanced. Use of Centennials, Amarillos, and Chinooks give this a citrusy hop bite and nice aroma. My bottle had a good head but I have had reports of many failures with these 22oz bombers. It could be places like Trader Joes that don't store them cold or just poor bottling but just be aware. This is one of those beers that is much better on tap than in the bottle in any case so that is probably your better choice for trying this brew.


Wolaver's Organic IPA

This beer would probably not be classified as an IPA in the NW but maybe in Vermont. It doesn't have a big malt body and not too hoppy. I appreciate this being "organic" whatever than really means...but it seems too light on all ingredients. This may be our future if this hop shortage happens that we are all worried about...maybe then I could give this one a higher rating. At 55 IBUs this one is not too memorable.


Port Townsend Brewing Hop Diggidy IPA

Port Townsend Brewing makes some great beers! This one is very light in color and malt flavor but crisp with a great hop flavor and clean finish. I had this at the Brewfest and really enjoyed it and only big difference in a bottle was some sediment and floaters, which as a home brewer, doesn't bother me. The hop profile is a little different than most IPAs that are in this style as it has a candy taste off the bat and citrus follow thru. At 5.5% it is an easy drinking everyday choice...if you can find it everyday.


Speakeasy Double Daddy IPA

I didn't really care for this Imperial IPA. The first thing you taste in this one is alcohol. At 9.5% that is probably understandable but it doesn't have much malt character that is usually associated with imperials of this high a content. It also has a hop character that I truly cannot distinguish, it may not be just hops but the strange fruity taste and the high almost medicine taste of the alcohol. I have had the regular Speakeasy IPA and remember also having a very unique flavor but not like this. I love the painted bottles (ala Stone and Rogue) but I don't think I would do this one again. They definitely pull out all the stops with bottle design and website! Comes in 12oz 4 packs.


Avery IPA

This 6.3% IPA is a hazy gold color with a very slight head. It has a citrus and pine hop character and very little malt body to it, possibly a little bit of carmel. A bit of a citrusy hop finish but a short finish. The use of Columbus, Simcoe, Crystal & Centenials does give it some nice hop complexity but would be much if it was a bit higher IBU's (currently at 69). This is a nice everyday IPA though compared to the higher octaine Maharaja which is a total hopbomb!


Devil Dog Imperial IPA

If I could have a refund on this one...I would. This one was much closer to a barley wine and red taste than an IPA. It pours a very hazy mahogany color with a high alc smell to it. It was much to sweet for me and almost burned when you swallowed it. I have read a bunch of great things about this beer and really wanted to like it. Maybe I just got a bad bottle? It weighs in at 10% alc and 98 IBU's using Columbus, Northern Brewer, Ahtanum, Cascade and Simcoe hops. It has also won some awards so I will probably have to give it another chance...maybe on tap?


Shmaltz Hebrew 11 Jewbelation Eleven

I told my friends I was becoming a Jew after I drank this! Orgasmic hop heaven of a beer that is made from 11 hops, 11 malts, and is 11% alc! Do you see a theme here? Using Warrior, N. Brewer, Mt. Hood, Centennial, Cascade, Vanguard, Tettnang, Czech Saaz, Willamette, Simcoe, & Amarillo hops makes you wonder how all this could co-exist together but it works! This is one of the most perfectly balanced blend of hops and malts I have ever tasted. It is almost impossible to describe how complex and how many different tastes you get from this beer. You also cannot tell it is 11% until you fall over! It pours a deep brown with a tan head, the first tastes bring hints of espresso and chocolate with a hop bite to balance out the whole thing. The finish is warm and fruity but still very smooth. I guess maybe 12 could be better than 11 next year but right now that is hard to believe!


Stone Double Bastard

As most readers of this site know...I love Stone Brewing and this is one of their best. This deep rich rusty brown strong ale is very complex like most Stone Ales. At 10% it will definitely warm your gut while you try to make out all the layers of flavors, like fruits, carmel, coffee, floral hops and brown sugar. It finishes smooth with a little lingering hops on your tongue. At 100+ IBU this is what a hophead dreams about having to end his night. Not too many places you can go from here in your beer selection.


Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

If I could afford to have this as my everyday drinking beer...I would. It tastes a little like a Bridgeport IPA on steroids! For such a big taste, it has a pretty light color but from the second you open this bottle, you expect to taste hops and will not be disappointed. Definite floral, citrus hop bite from the first taste with a clean crisp finish. This beer has the creamy head much like a Bridgeport but is much stronger and bigger than a Bridgeport. At 85 IBU and 9.1% Alc., it packs a punch and is so well balanced, you won't believe the alcohol is that high. Enjoy this one!


Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPA

I have had this once before at the Brewfest a few years back but that probably wasn't a fair test as it was one of many IPA's in a row and depending on what I had before, the review might have been tainted. That said, I did enjoy it this time though won't rank near the top of my list. Nice citrusy/grapefruit hop tones and very long finish. Not much of a head but decent carbonation. A little thin and not very much malt complexity but goes down smooth and finishes long.


Stone 11th Anniversary Ale

Stone does it again with an amazingly complex ale for this year's anniversary edition. The first thing that came to mind was that they combined an Arrogant Bastard, a Ruination IPA, and some kind of Porter to create this multi-leveled beer. For all the things going on in your mouth at once, this beer is incredibly enjoyable and you just have to sit back and enjoy the waves of flavor as they hit you. How can you go from IPA hoppiness to coffee flavor and smokey goodness? I don't know but this super dark wonder is worth stocking up on before it is gone. At 8.7% Alc. this would make a great winter warmer if you can keep it around the house that long!


Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA

So what is going on in Colorado? This hopbomb is 102 IBU's and 9.78% Alc. Although you can definitely taste the alcohol in this one, that is not such a bad thing when you are drinking hop barleywine! Very citrusy hop taste and long finish that will help you to forget that you are drinking such a high octaine brew. This is a seasonal only made until August so by the time you are reading this, you may not be able to find it. It was also very pricey but when you compare the alc. content and all, maybe not such a bad deal.


Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

Don't let the name fool you on this one...this is an IPA. A big one at that and I really like their Racer 5 IPA but I think this is even better. As soon as you open the bottle you will smell the hoppy IPA goodness. Deep amber color, great head, and amazing hop flavors throughout. It has a slightly sweet malty finish but not overly sweet by any means. The Rye-PA thing is starting to catch on in the Northwest but Bear has been making this beer for many years and one several awards for this. At 90 IBU's and 7.5% alc., this is a very easy drinking well balanced IPA and I hope more NW brewers give this style a try.


Lagunitas Maximus IPA

I am a big fan of the regular Lagunitas and this is the super charged version. Not quite as malty in taste due to the much higher hop flavor in this one. While many of the Imperial IPA's will be almost seem less hoppy due to the higher grain/malt levels, this one doesn't. Citrusy hop taste through out this brew but I guess I was expecting just a bit more from this one. 7.5% alc.


Moylans Double IPA & Triple "Hopsickle" IPA

Okay, I am ashamed that I have not had this before! This is what being a hophead is all about. I have not come across the regular IPA but the Double IPA is the biggest, hoppiest IPA ...well, except for the Triple IPA called "Hopsickle"! While the Double might be a little better balanced, these two are all about the blast of hops you taste from the first second you open the bottle. Beautiful orange color, great head, and amazing resiny hop flavor that will make the hardiest hophead pucker. The Double is 8.5% alc. and the "Hopsickle" is an amazing 9.2%. Both of these have won awards and you will be hard pressed to find a better example of Imperial IPA's than these two. I  can't wait to try some other beers from these guys and even more excited to see where we go from here...a Quadruple IPA? A hophead can dream...can't he?


Previous New Brew Reviews can be found here

The 2007 Washington State Brewers Festival reviews can be found here