Are you a hop-head? Do overtly hoppy, crisp and bitter brews make you salivate by the very mention of their names? Do you savor the aroma and essence of brewing using different varieties of hops? Does watching the faces of your friends’ faces screw into a grimace of shock when they taste a sample of hoppy beers make you giggle with excitement? If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may be one of us.
Let me say this, however: the journey to HopHeadedness is often fraught with peril. Tasting your first hoppy beer may have initiated that same face contortion that you so joyously mock today. I, for one, can attest to this since merely a year ago, I can recall happily handing over any bottles of an IPA to my brew pal, Jim. “You’ll come to love these, someday,” he’d tell me.
“Bull,” I’d respond.
Alas, here I am, a year and a half wiser and now the very mention of the piney, aromatic essence of hops makes my mouth water in anticipation of that first astringent, citrusy sip. Which brings us to this week’s BEER OF THE WEEK: Lazy Magnolia’s Timber Beast. An imperial Rye IPA, sporting a hefty 80 IBUs and an impressive 9% ABV, it’s not for the neophyte. It pours a rich, copper amber with a generous thick creamy white head that leaves copious amounts of beautiful lacing. The nose tantalizes you with piney, citrusy hops and rich, spicy rye and just a hint of orange that really doesn’t let you on to how high the ABV really is in this brew. Of course, the flavor is piney and aromatic hops with a smooth rye finish – and just like the nose, the alcohol is not very present in the flavor. The mouthfeel is rich and full, combined with the rye finish, this is an easy drinking brew that isn’t overly complex. Just a great beer all around.