Food Liquids

Review: Hop Head India Pale Ale

Hop Head India Pale Ale
Like Hops? Then you'll appreciate Hop Head India Pale Ale.

Do you love hops? I mean, REALLY love hops? To the point where chewing on a mouthful of the things would totally make your day? Well, you’ll love Hop Head, a microbrew from Kelowna, B.C.’s Tree Brewing.

Hop Head is an India Pale Ale in the correct sense, so don’t expect an insipid Alexander Keith’s clone. A true IPA should have an ample quantity of hops, a bit more alcohol than a standard beer, and a whole lot of flavour. Hop Head provides all of the above.

It pours a nice, rich orange in the glass, with a small head that dissipates quickly.

Served cold, the first sip hits you with bitterness, mixed with a spicy hop character that dominates all aspects of the beer. There’s just enough sweetness to balance out the glorious bitterness. There’s also a whole lot of aftertaste, with a residual hop astringency that lingers for minutes. It’s a beer clearly built to showcase the hops. My mouth felt worn out (in a good way) after only half a glass of the stuff.

Like a lot of hoppy beers, it should pair well with something a bit sweeter (try a chunk of dark chocolate on the side), or with flavourful food that can compete for your palate’s attention.

It’s not a thirst quencher, but that’s not the point. The flavour is so intense that one or two bottles is more than enough for a session. It’s a beer to curl up with on a cold autumn day.

Hop Head India Pale Ale
Hop Head India Pale Ale from Tree Brewing. Nice copper colour.

RATINGS AND DETAILS

Cost: About $13 for a six-pack of 341 ml bottles.

Value for cash money: Pretty standard for a microbrew in these parts.

Availability: Most good liquor stores in Alberta and B.C. Beyond that, I couldn’t tell you.

Nutrition?: It’s beer. Consume in moderation, etc.

Beerish power: 5.6 % a.b.v.

The verdict: Nice and bitter, but also spicy and well-balanced. If you love plenty of hops and solid IPA flavour, check it out.

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