Beers in Review: C'mon, Get Hoppy

We begin today's Beers in Review with an offering from Boulevard Brewing Company. The Simcoe Harvest Wet Hop IPA is a limited release from this Kansas City, MO brewery's Smokestack series, a line of higher-end, more complex and more limited offerings. Simcoe hops with a high moisture content ("wet hops") are integrated at a specific time in the brewing process to maximize the flavors extracted from these hops. The result is crystal clear yellow-gold beer where massive grassy notes lead off the tasting experience followed by apricot and tropical fruits. At this point, heading into the end of the tasting experience, a mild hop bite makes its presence known and more grass and now wood notes dominate the flavor profile. While piney notes in hoppy beers are fairly common, I find that very few tend to go so all-in on green grass and wood, and it made for a pleasantly unique drinking experience from a bold, complex IPA. This beer checks in a 7.5% ABV and 56 IBU.

The next beer is from Grand Teton Brewing Company. It is called Pursuit of Hoppiness, and the use of Bravo, Chinook, and Columbus hops to create a beer that hits 100 on the IBU scale might make one think this is the world's most insane IPA. However, this is an Imperial Red Ale that utilizes 2-Row and specialty German malts to create a malty alter-ego for this beer. Let's start breaking it all down. The ale rates at 8.5%, and pours a hazy copper color. Generally, this beer brought chocolaty malts to the front end and a mild hoppyness to the back side. The chocolate malts were complimented by some dark fruit and berry notes, eventually leading to grassy hop notes with perhaps a hint of pine. Now, in this beer, the hops and malts don't really work together. But unlike the Stone Mixtape I reviewed earlier in the week, this one actually works, because the malts and hops stay out of the way of the other ingredient. The front half is almost 100% malt notes, then they clear out and completely give way to the hop elements. The result is a very good beer, but it is not one for hopheads--I found it to be much more of a malt beer experience, despite the name.