Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Single Hop Imperial IPA HBC-291 (review)

Beer Review #94

My first and only previous review of a Flying Dog beer is their Raging Bitch Belgian Style IPA (Review #33), but today I'm returning to the Fredrick Maryland based brewer to taste HBC-291 Imperial IPA, from the company's single hop IPA series. According to the marketing these "...single hop imperial IPA's showcase the most rare and interesting hop varieties, something all too apparent with HBC-291, Its so new it doesn't even have a name. And this juicy little number proves that a hop without a name smells and tastes just as sweet....Choosing from the most rare and interesting varieties, our genius team of brewers is releasing four Single Hop Imperial IPAs in 2015. Each has the same grist bill to highlight the individual hop variety."

Southern Tier Brewing of Lakewood NY also does a single-hop IPA series, which I am rather partial to (Review #86), so I'm looking forward to cracking open this bottle of HBC-291 Imperial IPA from Flying Dog.

Poured chilled into a simple pint glass, HBC-291 Imperial IPA pours transparent orange two or three fingers of creamy white foam, ample carbonation, and  plenty of oily lacing clinging to the glass. 

The aroma is surprisingly bready, sort of like saltines or Ritz crackers, but a faint tropical fruitiness develops as the beer warms, with hints of black pepper. 

The brewer reports 75IBU's. I'm tempted to say that this number is "inaccurate," on the low side, however if you've even taken five minutes to research the topic you no doubt realize the IBU number is pretty arbitrary when it comes to each drinker's taste buds. The point is, this beer tastes as bitter as any 100IBU brew I've ever had, so if you are into bitter that is a good thing. That bitterness comes mostly in the form of pine notes, but there are some spicy, peppery, Belgian yeast esters I was not expecting. Dial back on the hops a little and this is very nearly a Belgian Dubbel or Tripel  ale. While I'm not totally floored by this particular beer, HBC-291 certainly seems like it will be a useful hop for experimental brewers in the near future. Now all it needs is a name... 

Musical Pairing: Locust Star by post-metal legends Neurosis

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