It’s hard to put into words just how I feel when a brewery with solid “beer geek cred” makes its first appearance in Alabama. I suppose it’s in the same ballpark as how some people feel when their favorite author pens a new book, or their favorite band releases a new album. I was thrilled when I first heard another top notch California brewery was on the way.
Being a proud hophead, the first Moylan’s beer I grabbed was Hopsickle, which they call a “Triple IPA.” Of course there is no such style; the beer review websites classify it as a double IPA. But the brewers may be on to something, as it outshines just about every double IPA I’ve ever had.
Hopsickle is a ruthless, no-holds-barred assault on your taste buds. There is little to compare it to if you’ve never had a double IPA, or even if you have had some lesser examples of the style. No foods come to mind that are as intense and complex.
The bitterness in this one is off the chart. It can’t even be measured. Then there’s the 9.2% ABV, providing plenty of alcohol warmth. But it also has a high finishing gravity, which means it has a lot of residual, unfermented sugar that gives it a thick, syrupy mouthfeel. That’s a good thing, as it prevents the bitterness from dissolving your tongue. To add to the high finishing gravity, there is a mind-numbing amount of late hop additions to this beer, which contribute a lot of oils. And those hop oils are loaded with flavors of orange, grapefruit, and pine.
These flavors and aromas explode out of your glass, overwhelming first your sense of smell and then of course your sense of taste. I found that a few minutes after my last sip, the flavor lingered, coating my tongue.
To be frank, this beer is not for the faint of heart. Or people who prefer calm, balanced, malty beers. This bad boy is for the adventurous. For those who like trying new foods, and perhaps skydiving. It puts the “extreme” in “extreme beer.” It’s a monster, and I fell in love with it at first sip. My passion for hops is boundless.
I’d recommend trying this first without any food in order to fully appreciate every nuance. Next time around, do try a food pairing but be careful. Not many foods can stand up to it. A really intense blue cheese would work, as would a super spicy dish featuring some citrus flavors — something like a quesadilla with mango salsa and heaps of habaneros.
“Hopped Up” is a weekly brew review by Danner Kline, founder of Free the Hops and co-organizer of the annual Magic City Brewfest. Send your feedback to email@example.com