Reviews

The Mtbr Best Beer Guide

Citrus. Pine. Dank. Bitter. These are all words that describe the hophead’s favorite beers – Pale ales and IPAs. The below list showcases some of the best hoppy beers available.

The Alchemist Heady Topper

One of the highest-rated Double/Imperial IPAs on the planet with a reputation matched only by its taste, Heady Topper is the one beer that all hopheads must try. Brewed by The Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury, VT, Heady Topper is an 8% ABV Double IPA that drinks unbelievably well, showing a very restrained bitterness profile that is very contradictory to the hoppy beers of the last 10 years, many of which had the uncanny ability to destroy the drinker’s palate. It tastes of rich oranges, tropical fruit, pineapple and pink grapefruit, finishing with a mild pine spice. With minimal malt presence and a focus on hop complexity, Heady is a dangerously drinkable beer that many people liken to “pure hop fruit juice.” Heady is available in cans, unfiltered, with limited distribution in the Northeast. Remember to “Drink from the can!” alchemistbeer.com

Alpine Nelson

In an industry absolutely dominated by IPAs, Alpine Nelson is a beer that has very few rivals at the top. Brewed at a tiny brewpub in Alpine, CA (30 minutes east of San Diego), Nelson is a 7.1% ABV IPA featuring Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand and a malt backbone fortified by European Rye. It features a unique flavor of grapefruit rind, pineapple, earthy pine and crisp white wine with a light, yet distinct spiciness from the rye in the malt. It has a thin body and a bitter profile that doesn’t linger, but instead leaves the tongue dry and searching for more. Nelson shares the spotlight with Alpine’s other world-class IPA, Duet, which is a perfect execution of more traditional IPA flavors (sweet malt backbone with solid bitterness and a hop profile consisting of citrus, tropical fruit and piney resin). A handful of Alpine’s beers including Nelson see very limited distribution in San Diego, so your best bet is to head directly to the brewery itself. www.alpinebeerco.com

Three Floyds Zombie Dust

The only single-hop beer on this list, Zombie Dust from Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, IN showcases Citra hops better than just about any other beer in production. Although labeled a Pale Ale, at 6.4% and 60 IBU Zombie Dust qualifies as an IPA and has the punch to prove it. It’s a perfect example of when a brewery focuses most of their hopping effort on aroma. Zombie Dust features flavors of sweet toasted bread in the malt and a surprisingly powerful aroma of orange and pineapple from the Citra hops. It finishes with perfect carbonation and a solid bitter punch. Renowned for its refreshing flavor and drinkability, Zombie Dust absolutely dominates every other American Pale Ale out there and is available year-round with limited distribution in the Midwest. www.3floyds.com

Boneyard Hop Venom

Although they’re a relatively young brewery from Bend, OR (a town with one of the highest breweries per capita), Boneyard Beer Company sets the new standard for West Coast Double IPAs. Hop Venom is their 8.9% ABV creation that has quickly become many a hophead’s favorite beer. It features tremendous fruity notes of tangerine, orange zest, floral peach and pine, with a malt base that allows it to showcase huge flavors but remain unbelievably balanced. Hop Venom leads the new style of IPAs and Double IPAs by featuring a complexity that is not dominated by malt or bitterness, but instead focuses on hop aromas from late hop additions and dry hopping. With bright, bold flavors and an unmatched mouthfeel, Hop Venom is a must-try for any hophead. It’s draft-only, so your best bet is to head to Bend or Portland, OR to try this beauty on tap. www.boneyardbeer.com

Hill Farmstead Abner

What do you get when you mix artisan well water, masterful brewing technique, impeccable hop additions and one of the most isolated breweries in the states? Hill Farmstead’s Abner, of course! Hill Farmstead is a small production brewery and tasting room outside the rural, isolated town of Greensboro Bend, VT. It has a reputation of producing high quality, best-in-class beers on a very small scale, and with almost nonexistent distribution (available only in Vermont), the only way most people are able to try their beer is by visiting the brewery itself. Their most popular Double IPA, Abner, is a testament to the impeccable craft of Hill Farmstead. It’s bursting with floral and fruity notes of mango, orange and grapefruit rind. The clean, simple malt background takes a backseat to the symphony of hops and the strong bitter finish. One of the most renowned aspects of this beer is the mouthfeel; it’s creamy and full-bodied with perfect carbonation that is rarely found in the Double IPA category. This beer is worth making a pilgrimage to the brewery. www.hillfarmstead.com

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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