Thursday, December 20, 2012

ALL MUST FEAR THE HOPS OF WRATH

I'll admit, I went a bit out of my way to buy a bottle of DUST BOWL BREWING's virgin bottle offering, a big IPA called "HOPS OF WRATH". Perhaps it's  a case of me rooting for this Turlock, CA underdog, wanted desperately to believe that I was first in line to discover a world-class knockout brewer before anyone outside of their little central valley town did. I loved their pale ale; rather liked their Belgian Strong Dark ale; surely I'd love their first ever beer worthy enough to be placed into bottles, my beloved IPA no less?? Let's find out.

It's proclaimed on the bottle to be "a great beer born of hard times". But is it really? A great beer, I mean? (I get the Steinbeck reference, obviously). What it is is a very, very bitter IPA. It won't knock you for a loop alcohol-wise; it's a "mere" 6.6%. (Isn't it a riot when you start meeting new craft beer converts for the first time and they're absolutely gasping at alcohol levels in the 6-7% range? Hey, I've been there, in my pre-imperial stout days). I'm chagrined to report that "Hops of Wrath" lacks malt balance and is too medicinal for my taste. Piney to the max. This thing's never seen a citrus tree. I've certainly had IPAs that were way more harsh and difficult than this, to be sure, and sometimes I even love 'em, but this one didn't have any mellow to counter the oomph. 6/10.

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