By Iron Chef Leftovers
If you subscribe to the national IPA championship results, generally the best IPA’s are from the Midwest, particularly the Cleveland area. Of course those results are skewed since they are basically a popularity contest held at a bar within driving distance from Cleveland and it is not a blind study, so I believe there to be a great deal of bias in the results. Fortunately for me, I do have a friend who lives in the Cleveland area and he has sent me many of these “great” IPA. One of the breweries that a recent shipment contained was Hoppin’ Frog. I had some high hopes for their beers since they have won a ton of medals at the GABF as well as other competitions. First up was the Double IPA. It arrived in a 22 oz. bottle and carried a price tag of $11. According to the label, this beer was 8.2% ABV and 168(!!) IBU.
From the Hoppin’ Frog Website:
Explore the extremes of hops, and experience all of their bitterness, flavor and aroma with this Double I.P.A. An extreme, super-assertive and satisfying amount of American hop character is balanced with a toasty, caramelized, intense malt presence.
The beer pours deep orange in color with high amounts of hops and hints of grain and caramel on the nose with just a touch of floral character. The beer starts off on the palate with significant amounts of fruit and citrus peel before mellowing out a bit into a significantly bitter grain character. The finish is long with a huge amount of citrus and peel with slightly floral characteristics and a very light caramel note. There is a touch of resin and alcohol burn at the end but overall the finish is pleasant and enjoyable. The balance is good, but I expected a bit better given the pedigree – the alcohol was not off putting, but probably should have been a little better balanced and I would have liked the beer to show a little more malt and a little less bitter as the bitter was occasionally overwhelming the malt at times (this is why you don’t just keep ramping up the IBU in a beer). Overall it was a great drinking experience (although the bottle may have been just a touch past its prime) and definitely worth trying if you get the opportunity.
Hoppin’ Frog Mean Manalishi Double IPA takes a flying leap onto 3 lily pads out of 5.