Beer Review #5: Hop Stoopid Ale + Holiday Beer Update

Denver Based Photographer David Hilgier

Today I found myself in my old stomping grounds of Littleton and Highlands ranch for a doctors visit to check under the hood and receive some inoculations for my adventure to Peru. Before I embarked on the trek to pick the lovely Miss Erin up from work after my appointment, I decided to make a pit stop at Lukas Liquor Superstore (why the Colorado location isn’t listed on this site is beyond me) and see what I could find. Lukas was a beer lover’s shelter from the storm. A sight for sore eyes that put Argonaut, my local libation distributor, to shame when it comes to beverages made of hops, barely, yeast and water. The ”Bomber Room” was a nice touch and left me feeling slightly giddy with the possibilities such a place could bestow. Without breaking the bank, I walked away with a couple bombers of New Belgium Brewing Company’s Vrienden Ale which will accompany us for New Years celebrations in the mountains and a bomber of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s Hop Stoopid Ale for consumption after dinner as a reward, just like when I was young, for making it through my shots.

For those playing along at home, Lagunitas brews its beers in Petaluma, California which is the same Petaluma which I recently visited. Now that we are caught up, Stoopid pours clear as water with a warm gold amber hue and an ample two fingers of head that dissipates rather quickly. As expected the pungent nose of this brew carries a wonderful crisp aroma filled with all the delightful characteristics derived from hops: spice and citrus being a constant favorite. A few sips in the true character of its taste reveals itself also increasing my desire to consume more of the beer. Once I warmed up to this Lagunitas offering, I was happy with the 22oz journey I was embarking on. Defining my expectations, there is a really nice balance to this beer when considering how much hop it is comprised of and what 102 I.B.U.’s ascertain. Obviously the name and “102 I.B.U.4.U” indicated on the label demarcate the direction this beer chooses at the proverbial fork in the road when it comes to styles of beer and their endemic qualities. While a hoppy beer and definitely not one for those who do not prefer IPAs, it didn’t pucker the face and it wasn’t a one trick pony to my taste buds. The initial hop aroma and taste eventually steps aside to a pleasantly sweet rye and malt flavor comparable to freshly baked and buttered bread. This malt flavor remains for a few moments and eventually gives way to another dose of bitterness that lingers after each sip is over as well as long after my pint glass is empty.

In the end, if even straying into what I consider the wonderful world of IPAs is not for you, it is probably best to keep on driving if you run across Hop Stoopid, otherwise pull right over. My criticism for it is that I wish that the malt sweetness in the middle of flavor would last a bit longer. It is enough to tease one’s palate, but I was left wanting a bit more of that aspect of the beer. Besides that, this was a nice beer to accompany the end of my day.

Denver Based Photographer David Hilgier

As a brief update, because I know all 10 or so who read my ramblings will surely want to know, we’ll soon be giving away our holiday beers. As aforementioned, we’ve brewed up our second batches of Scooters’ Red Ale and The Masta Nut Brown Ale in addition to a yet to be named Winter Spiced Cider. I’m partial to the Brown Ale, however, the Red Ale was tasting much better than our first attempt, devoid of the banana like esters that dominated the batch from the beginning of the year. The cider probably isn’t properly carbonated at this date, so we are waiting on sampling it. Additionally, we’ve got a new Oak Aged IPA fermenting. Pictured above just after dry-hopping, we’ve also added some oak chips to it and will let it sit on those just prior to our January departure. Hopefully a nice offering to enjoy during the end of winter when we return to the states.

Drink up.