Friday, November 9, 2012

Red Brick HopLanta

I like a bitter India Pale Ale, but sheer bitterness isn’t the key to a good IPA. Red Brick HopLanta is definitely a hop-forward beer, but it’s not as hop-tasting as it is all-out bitter.

2.9
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (752) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 9, 2012
I received a 12oz bottle in a trade with Ding (thanks!). I poured it into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Deep amber/light orange hue that’s opaque from the haziness. Forms a huge, white, Belgian-like head that is slow to dissipate and leaves great lacing on the glass.

Smell: Light candy-like aroma of Sweet Tarts and a hint of flowers.

Taste: I love the tagline for this beer: "Hoppier than a bullfrog with a stubbed toe." I just wish that were true because hops actually have some flavor (e.g. citrus, pine), but Red Brick HopLanta is pretty much just bitterness incarnate. From the moment it hits the tongue until well after it’s swallowed there’s an intense dry bitterness. It peaks at the apex of the swig before imparting a bit of orange candy-like flavor or perhaps orange sherbet.

I’m not sure of the IBUs for this brew, and for a single IPA it could give some imperial IPAs a run for their money. But hops alone does not a great IPA make. There’s not a lot of complexity to this palate, certainly not much malt character to balance out the bitterness. That’s not to say it’s an off-putting palate entirely. I can find some things to enjoy here, but the qualities are drowned out in the distraction of the intense dry bitterness. A beer you pretty much have to drink with a spicy meal to put it to good use.

Drinkability: I like hops, but when a beer is this beer that it’s challenging for me to drink I think that says a lot. Red Brick HopLanta seems to be over carbonated and the head is quite telling. It foams in the mouth and is bitter in and of itself - it’s not creamy at all. The mouthfeel is rather intense from the bitterness, though the texture and weight is fine. The bitter aftertaste is what brings it down. At 6.7% ABV it’s got a lot of chutzpah, though I don’t think many drinkers will want to go for multiple servings of this.
 Grade: 4/10