3.7AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
I think beer drinkers can often be mislead into believing a beer is more epic than it actually is. It’s a combination of marketing and word-of-mouth hype that can make you biased before you even take a sip. That’s how I felt going into Blue Point Hoptical Illusion. This is a pretty standard India Pale Ale by most accounts, but I had heard through the grapevine it was a ringer. Not that it’s a bad beer since I was definitely satisfied with its performance, but satisfaction is not the same thing as being amazed.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tumbler. It starts off with a typical IPA color of pure orange (which is surprisingly clear), with an average-sized white head which dissipates fairly quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass. The aroma is slightly flowery with a touch of pine resin and noticeable caramel notes.
If I were to drink Hoptical Illusion in a blind taste test I might mistake it for an American Pale Ale. While it does have noticeable hop bitterness across the middle and back, it’s not nearly as strong as its 60 IBU rating would lead me to believe. What is enjoyable is the rich caramel sweetness that makes itself known almost immediately.
I’m not a drinker that wants all my beers to be "balanced," especially in the case of IPAs since they’re supposed to be hoppy. This beer definitely does a good job of balancing the hops and malts, though. It’s moderately robust as I can clearly detect caramel flavors, but the hop bite on the finish is a tad weak. There’s a light, sweet, floral flavor from the hops, but the aftertaste is very dry as the hops linger for a few moments.
Perhaps I made the mistake of drinking this beer on a hot summer day since I didn’t find it refreshing at all (then again, IPAs aren’t known for that, anyway). The mouthfeel is a little intense with noticeable carbonation and jagged hop bitterness as it crosses the tongue. It’s medium bodied, but not sticky, which makes is quite a drinker-friendly IPA.
At 6.8% ABV, Hoptical Illusion is average in potency for a IPA, so its sessionability depends on the drinker. It would probably pair well with a spicy meal, but I don’t envision many drinkers putting back more than two of these at a time.
I love the India Pale Ale style of beer because it can be so impressive, so when I encounter a more pedestrian IPA I may fault it for not performing as well as I want. I’d say that’s true of Blue Point Hoptical Illusion since I was honestly expecting more. It’s what I would consider a pedestrian IPA (not that there’s anything wrong with that).