Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ANDERSON VALLEY'S MARGINAL "HEELCH O'HOPS" IPA

Long my "favorite brewer in the world" back in the 1990s, I haven't given much love over the years to recent new ales from ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING CO. Once one of the only games in town - and the maker of the terrific amber ale Boont Amber - AVBC just haven't done enough to keep up with their rapidly multiplying peers in the recent two decades, though there's no question that just about everything they come up with's been good enough. I try all their one-offs and their new standards, but I'm always left with the feeling that A.) they haven't quite cracked the IPA nut, and B.) they haven't cracked the Belgian nut either. Pale ales, ambers and other staples of the 90s? They're golden.

Let's see how this new "HEELCH O'HOPS" stacks up against its many, many double IPA competitors in 2013. It is a virtually see-through copper-colored ale, with no cloudiness nor sediment to eyeball your way through in the least. I'm hit immediately with sweetness, but it's malty more than it is bitter. Very malty for a Double IPA, in fact - but bright and citrusy too. I keep coming back to how malty-sweet it is and how they've defaulted a bit much on that side. Like a lot of AVBC stuff, it really does remind me of how "American microbrews" were made in 1996. It's fine enough as it goes, or as the crow flies, or whatever the hell it is they say. 6.5/10.

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