I haven't been shy over the years in showing my amore for the India Pale Ales crafted by MOYLAN'S BREWERY. Back when we were all starting to get excited about the notion of a "Double IPA", these funsters upped the ante and not only introduced a quote-unquote triple IPA, that being the majestic "HOPSICKLE", it turned out for years to be the best IPA of any kind on the planet. That's what I say, anyway. I'd trade you two cans of Heady Topper for a single bottle of the 'Sickle any day of the week.
"Hopsickle" seems to wax and wane in terms of availability around the SF Bay Area, where it's brewed. I truly haven't seen it in months if not a year or more. So right after I wrote that sentence, I picked up the phone and called Moylan's at, I kid you not, 415-898-HOPS. Got Rachel on the phone. "Rachel?", I asked, "Do you still make Hopsickle??". With pep, energy and vigor, she gave me an unqualified yes. She says it's not currently on draft at their pub in Novato, but they most definitely have it in bottles. Now. Right now. So if you're in Novato - go. Rachel's working there as you read this.
What should you not get when you're visiting Moylan's, or any other beer retailer or bar? That's easy: the execrable HOP CRAIC XXXX IPA. This is a clear attempt to "up the ante" on one the world's great big, bold IPAs by making it hotter, messier and uglier in an attempt to hoodwink hopheads into believing they're experiencing some sort of hop rapture, when they're really only experiencing a splitting headache and a marketing con job. With all due respect to the good people at Moylan's, I found almost nothing to like in this one.
Bitter as hell, hopped-up beyond drinkability and into the "aspirin zone", "Hop Craic XXXX IPA" - which we're told is actually a quadrupel IPA - is an oily, unbalanced alcoholic disaster. Yeah, it gave me a headache, and no, I couldn't finish it. It's one big messy dare captured in liquid form, rather than a beer you'd actively seek out to, you know, enjoy.
Denise Jones, where are you??
The hoi polloi on Beer Advocate sure fell for it, though. "A crowning achievement", one pundit called it. OK, sure, whatever. I just know I've got 40 miles to commute to Novato to grab all those remaining Hopsickles before you do.