Wednesday, October 12, 2011

486. Fort Collins The Incredible Hop Imperial India Wheat Ale

I’m glad that people like bringing beer over to my house, because sometimes we don’t drink it, and then later I find interesting bottles in the back of my fridge. Enter Fort Collins The Incredible Hop. I’m pretty certain that our friends Art and Chloe brought this over during the chaos of wedding week, and tonight when I was looking for that first sweet beer of the evening, I stumbled upon this. And yes, in the chaos of our fridge, it is possible to stumble upon things. So if you want to turn your snooty nose up at use for not being refrigerator neat-freaks, you go right ahead, Mr. Fridge Fascist (or Mrs., or even possibly Miss—my scorn knows no gender bounds). Anyway, this is our third beer from Fort Collins Brewery—we’ve previously wet our whistle with Rocky Mountain IPA & Kidd Black Lager. Dag-tastic!

The Incredible Hop pours a rustic tan—there are orange and yellow components, although no real highlights, since this glass has a raised bumpy design on it. This means the color is difficult for all of you to see in the picture, but these glasses are so sweet I still don’t care—maybe in another week I’ll feel some semblance of pity for my hoards of dedicated readers (feel free to self-identify in the comments if you aren’t Jeffrey or Lolli, but I’m guessing that pretty much covers it). Basically, it’s a light body for this big of a beer. The nose is a big punch of evergreen and pine hops with a touch of wheat gumminess in the background, and the initial flavors follow the nose: spicy pine and evergreen hop flavors in the front with very little in the way of malt flavor to get in the way. In the middle there is a pleasant bitterness to go with the spicy hop flavor before sliding into some chewy malt character and a pleasant lingering bitterness—one might even say the finish has a slightly dough-y malt character that sets up finishing bitterness quite nicely. The body is medium to heavy, but not really obtrusive—it is not even much of a factor, and while there might be a touch of alcohol in the finish as well, it is in the background. A good beer overall, but not one that is especially exciting. The lighter malt character allows the hops to shine, but it does still feel slightly out of balance—I’m not sure we’re feeling the “synergy” noted on the label, unless “synergy” is a codeword for boatloads of hops and “tartness” is the codeword for minimal malt character. And don’t you know, I’ve been ranting so much during this review that I’ve completely run out of beer. So I guess that means we’re done for now.

From the bottle: “This beer is the love-child of two of my favorite styles: big, hoppy IPAs and crisp, refreshing American Wheat beers. Synergy is achieved as the bold citrusy hops of the IPA harmonize with the thirst quenching tartness of an American Wheat. Pairs nicely with hikes to Horsetooth, Poudre River floats, and moonlit bike rides.”

This beer is part of a series of four high-gravity, highly hopped beers by Fort Collins. See here for more details.

Onion bubs indeed.


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