Sunday, November 11, 2012

539. Fort Collins The Incredible Hop Wet Hop IPA

More from Fort Collins Brewery and their The Incredible Hop series. And this one out of a glass you can see through—look at those bright, luscious colors! We’ve had their beers before, most notably The Incredible Hop Imperial India Wheat AleRocky Mountain IPA & Kidd Black Lager.

The Incredible Hop pours a crystal clear and vibrant orangish copper with a wispy tan head, while the nose features too much caramel and toffee, followed by earthy, grassy, and spicy resin hop aroma, and even a touch of pine/evergreen. The caramel does throw a wrench in some of the more delicate aromatics—the spicy and evergreen get lost behind it, especially in conjunction with the earthy and grassy hop character traditionally found in fresh hop beers. I also get a slight touch of buttered toast mixed with alcohol after my nose gets acclimated to the other aromas. Flavors start with caramel, grass, and resin. As it moves towards the middle, pine and acetone come out, along with heat from the alcohol. The bitterness picks up in the final third, along with warmth from the alcohol and a stronger pine and resin hop flavor. Still, however, there is the lingering caramel and toffee. The bitterness and the hop flavors cover some of the alcohol, but the alcohol increases as the beer warms, to the detriment of the beer. It is clean on the tongue; the carbonation and bitterness limits the stickiness, but the cloying elements increase as the beer warms in the glass. I like this beer in theory more than practice; fresh hops are one of my favorites, but this one is skewed toward big and malty, which limits the delicate hop flavors that should be the selling point in a fresh hop beer. Elli thought the caramel flattened the hop character—it was, she thought, too sweet and too big, and tasted more like a mediocre DIPA than a fresh hop beer. Which is disappointing; we’re always excited to try fresh hops beers, but outside the West Coast (well, and notable other exceptions), most breweries go with the more-is-better mantra. In a beer dependent upon the subtlety, nuance, and delicacy of hops in their most pristine condition, dousing them with caramel malt like it was Blue Cheese dressing and/or smothering them in souped up bigger beers seems counterintuitive at best. But then again, maybe it is just us.

From the bottle: “Crystal hops were sourced locally and handpicked off the bines and added to the brewing process the same day. This method is what produces the floral, grassy, smooth character that is so vivid in a wet hop. Harvested once a year in the fall this fresh hop treat is sure to delight your tastebuds and deserves a salute to the generous bounty that surrounds us. From all of us here at FCB, enjoy.”

ABV: not much chatter on this one. Beerpulse lists it as 9%; BA features petty squabbles.


No comments:

Post a Comment