Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I was honestly beginning to think that this HOP STOOPID Double IPA was never going to turn up in San Francisco, depsite being brewed less than an hour's drive from here. I was resorting to scanning the trading lists on Beer Advocate to see if anyone would float me a bottle, and I was coming up with folks in New York and Pennsylvania who had 'em in hand, and yet I here I was, crying in my water glass, thirsty as all get-out. Well all it took was a trip down to the Toronado Bar - as it so often does - to find SONOMA FARMHOUSE's HOP STOOPID, right there on tap, all for me.

Who are SONOMA FARMHOUSE, you ask? Just the good IPA-loving folks at LAGUNITAS, gone all fancy-like with a "sub-brand". Same people who make MAXIMUS, FREAK OUT! and KILL UGLY RADIO. Those guys. They make a Saison that I can find with no problem, but Hop Stoopid was a real mystery until the other night. I'll say this: it's restored my flagging faith in West Coast IPAs. I was beginning to tire of these things, but this one is so near-perfect, so cut from a different cloth than the others - why, it's almost HOPSICKLE-like! HOP STOOPID has the most wonderful "rounded edges" of any hop bomb you care to mention. At over 100 IBU's (that's "international bitterness units"), you'd expect it to be bitter, and yeah, you'd definitely be right. But the finish - man! That finish cleaned off any skepticism I might have brought to the barstool, and I was reminded of some mutant cross between a smooth-sipping English Pale Ale and a glass of pure liquid grapefruit and pine nuts. Even a little sweet if you can believe it - but only a little. This one's really got it going on, and I'm proud to bestow upon it a winning grade of 9.5/10. I sincerely hope it wasn't my last.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Have you tried ANCHOR BREWING's ANCHOR PORTER yet? Well, it's been around since 1972 - so let's get cracking! I myself hadn't had it in quite a few years, but a pal called attention to a casked version of it @ the local watering hole the other night, and he said that I'd dig it. I dug it. In this uncarbonated, smoothened form, ANCHOR PORTER's delicious chocolate notes turn into this creamy whipped delight, accented with hops and coffee tastes. It's all one can do to keep from gulping, but no one's going to blame you for doing so. It's the rare bar that serves anything on cask, so if you see this one being poured this way, I urge you to make them pull you two or more pints of it. And somebody let me know what you think about it in bottles and on "normal" draft. I swear it's been so long I've forgotten if I like it that way. On cask, though - wow. 8/10.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Got a second shot to experience that RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING so-limited-you-can-only-get-it-in-two-places beer that the brewery made up for THE TORONADO bar’s 20th anniversary. If you can believe it, they decided to call it TORONADO TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY ALE. Knowing what you know about Russian River, I’m going to let you guess at what kind of beer it was. An English mild? Nope. An American amber? Uhn-uh. How about a raspberry wheat beer? I’m afraid not, ladies. No, this one is a whopper of a sour, wild ale, defying categorization as so many of these champions’ beers do. It might be going for $20 per bottle at the brewery – no kidding! – but I was lucky enough to get one on tap at the Toronado itself last week. Dark red and glowing, this beer was served in the appropriate Belgian glassware, and the first thing that hits you is the tartness. It hints of maple syrup, and there’s no mistaking the oakiness in this either. I have to say, the more oaked beers I try, the more I like them, so either it’s my palate adjusting or the brewers out there are adjusting to me. Perhaps I was initially off-put by the sourness, but as this thing warmed, it really started to fulfill. It had hints of cherries, and was just as wine-like as it was beer-like. At the end of the glass, I emerged victorious, and thusly, so did Russian River (as always). 7/10.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I’ve written before of “the reckoning”, the pinpoint-able day in my life when I gave myself unto craft beer. Perhaps the second-most important day in my conversion occurred the next year (1990), while I was traveling in Eastern Europe with my Dad. We stopped at a pub in Budapest, then newly liberated from the godless Communists, and started ordering beers with strange, European-sounding names. The one we settled on, and drank the rest of the evening, was DUVEL. Upon my return home, I raved about it to everyone who’d listen – how complex it was, how it had a “bite” that American beers didn’t have, and how generally warm & flush it made me feel (this was undoubtedly due to the high alcohol, a concept that I was then unfamiliar with in beer, outside of the odd King Cobra or Olde English). For a few years I thought it was a Czech beer, until I learned it was in fact Belgian. This begat interest in Belgian beers, and the rest is history.

I had my first DUVEL in a few years, maybe even in the 21st century, just the other night. I didn’t like it at all. It was about as “macro” a Belgian beer as I’d ever had. Undoubtedly many will point to its enormous mass distribution around the globe, but I’m pretty sure it was a major player 17 years ago when I first had it as well. It’s likely that what knocked me for a loop back then is pretty standard and straightforward now. While it has a real pillowy fluffiness to it, if you can call it that, it is also very pilsner-like, and that spicy “bite” I fell for now tastes really, really off, totally unbecoming of either a pilsner or an ale. I’d have preferred the smoothness of a European pils, but this strange hybrid they’ve got going almost made my eyes water. I know it’s a legendary beer, but I can’t imagine trying DUVEL again anytime soon. There are far too many unconsumed Belgians out there. And yes, I know I’m in a decided minority on this matter. 4/10.

Monday, October 22, 2007


The curse of the Internet manifested itself in an exceptionally expensive order I placed with Liquid Solutions a few weeks ago; wanting to try beers from the four corners of the globe that I can’t get in my parts, I clicked and I clicked and I clicked some more, and only THEN calculated shipping. At that point it was too late, as my thirst was too great. I clicked “Submit Order”, and figured I’d give blood, try to get on a focus group, or do some late-night telemarketing to make up for the shipping charges. First beer out of the gate for me is this EPLUCHE-CULOTTE from Alaska’s MIDNIGHT SUN BREWING. Here’s what this brewery of the great white north has to say about their Belgian-style tripel:

Voluptuous yet elegant, Epluche-culotte Trippel exudes its free spirit with orangey-amber color topped with a creamy white head. The aroma is sweet, spicy and earthy. The addition of Curacao (bitter) orange peel and whole coriander infuse color, citrus and spice while a special Belgian yeast strain imparts other enticing flavors and aromas during fermentation. Bottle conditioning creates the right effervescence for a perfectly heady experience. In the style of a Belgian Trippel, Epluche-culotte is delicious yet spirited. Originally named Extreme Polar White Bier, it got nicknamed "Panty Peeler". We say it in French: E'pluche-culotte. The joyride awaits.

Did it peel my panties? It did not. EPLUCHE-CULOTTE, though, is a very good North American representation of this style. It has a light-orange glow to it, and gives off a mild sourness that really made this interesting. Tastes of apples and apricots are present, and the carbonation is medium-to-heavy. Not as yeasty as a typical Belgian tripel, or for that matter, a UNIBROUE beer like LA FIN DU MONDE. I think that I could drink this again with much pleasure, but I’d rather try the next 10-15 tripels on my list, and only then return to MIDNIGHT SUN’s. Great to finally have a beer from these folks, though – I’d heard nothing but great things. 7/10.

Friday, October 19, 2007


It was a mere month ago when I thought I’d decided that the best witbier in North America was ALLAGASH WHITE. Perhaps it still is – but not in my book. That’s because I had my first WHITE RASCAL last week, the witbier from AVERY BREWING in Colorado, and I think it’s absolutely phenomenal. This amazingly clean, crisp-tasting wit is what I’m looking for in this style of beer, one that is characterized by hints of orange and coriander, and that straddles the fence between refreshing and complex. WHITE RASCAL is far lighter in color than even the light-orange ALLAGASH WHITE; a light yellow that you might even call a “white” beer. Similar to Hoegaardan, actually. It’s thin-bodied for sure, and is an easy gulper if you’re not careful. BE careful, because if you’re not you’ll miss a lot of action in this one. Light wheat tastes, some “grassiness”, and that ever-present citrus juju that lingers on the tongue. I totally loved it, and look forward to a face off with that Allagash again soon, as they’re both outstanding. 9.5/10.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


This intense (and intensely rare) double IPA has been getting the big-ups from all comers of late, and to hear the Pacific Brew News gang in conversation about this one is to hear three grown men reduced to putty in this mighty beer’s hands. While they might find ways of getting down to Alpine, California to grab some – about an hour outside of San Diego, due east toward the hot SoCal desert – me, I had to beg my sister to bring me up a bottle, and she did so only because it was my birthday. (She brought me two, though – thanks Julie). ALPINE BREWING is developing a bit of a cult around their beers, with this one leading the recruitment efforts. I had to check my notes – I’d never had a serious tasting of an Alpine beer before, but I did have some in successive years at the Boonville Beer Festival. In 2006, it was something called “Willy Vanilly” (a vanilla pale ale, if I remember correctly), and in May of this year it was – whoa – PURE HOPPINESS. How about that? I called it “very good”. After enjoying a 22-oz. bottle of this last week, I’m prepared to back up that assertion.

PURE HOPPINESS has the fortune of straddling both the world of the tongue-bruising, intensely-hoppy Double IPA, and the world of the well-balanced, refreshing IPA. How they do it is their business, but it makes for a far more enjoyable beverage than I guess I’d counted on. (I was preparing myself for a PLINY THE ELDER-style beatdown). Much more thin than I expected, with less body than its Imperial IPA brethren. I like how well the 7.5% ABV is kept from being anything near overpowering, and how even with all these hops, Pure Hoppiness manages to be a balanced, very approachable microbrew. I’d serve it to family, friends, and the odd drunk off the street, not just my beer dork pals. Perhaps it’s a bit less remarkable than I expected. I do know that I have another bottle than will help me decide. For now, let’s go with 7.5/10.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The pumpkin ales have hit the shelves in a big way this month, and that means it’s time to procure and gulp the annual six-pack of BUFFALO BILL’S PUMPKIN ALE. For years it was the only game in town come October here in the San Francisco Bay Area, but this year it has been joined by SHIPYARD PUMPKINHEAD ALE and BLUE MOON PUMPKIN ALE. As a Buffalo Bill’s partisan, I’m definitely taking sides – or at least I was before this year’s batch. I’m wondering if the 2007 edition of this longstanding mouth-pleaser is somehow reformulated? I certainly can’t remember this one ever tasting so thin, so comparatively lifeless vs. previous, uh, “vintages”. This is all relative, of course – the Buffalo Bill’s folks know how to get that unique Fall harvest taste into every bottle, and have a wonderful concoction of spices, sweets and moderately-carbonated malty tastes that they’ve been rolling out since god was a child. But this year I’m missing the richness and the warmth I’m used to, and I guess it kinda makes me a little sad on the inside. It’s still good, but only 6.5/10 good, not the 8/10 we gave it last year. On to the competitors!

Monday, October 15, 2007


I guess I sort of scoffed when I’d read bout the superiority of Scottish ales a couple of years ago, before I’d actually had any. Now I’m beginning to think that the Scotch Ale or “Wee Heavy”, as some call it, is one of the most interesting beer styles out there. My most recent foray into the style was the excellent FOUNDER’S DIRTY BASTARD ALE, but one direct from the mother country that I loved (though technically it’s a “gruit”, whatever that is) was EBULUM ELDERBERRY BLACK ALE. Both were outstanding. Now I’m on the Scotland train. Climb aboard with me, and let’s discuss TRAQUAIR JACOBITE ale, my most recent foray into the land of Nessie, The Prats and The Rezillos.

TRAQUAIR JACOBITE was recently hyped big time on one of my daily blog reads, I just can’t remember which. So I put it on “the list”. It seems to be available at your better beer importers. It’s a deep, dark ale, one that immediately hits you with this really cool “maple”-like taste. I liked its richness – this is one you could drink for a good hour by a fire, so get ready to stock up for winter. It has tastes of figs as well as that maple resonance, and I really liked that I could barely taste the alcohol, despite it being a fairly bold 8% ABV. It really tasted like something you’d WANT to pay $5.99 a bottle for, as I did. It’s another ringer from Scotland, and I’m going with a 7.5/10.

Friday, October 12, 2007


In the early part of the 21st century I took two work-related trips to Dusseldorf, Germany, and fell pretty hard for altbier, the city’s contribution to native, homegrown beer styles. You can read about my epiphany right here. Alt, as I came to find, is a hoppy, very lightly carbonated version of a traditional English old ale, but of course is barely, if it all, informed by its English counterparts - being a native Dusseldorfian style that goes back centuries. Someone once told me that Dusseldorf and Cologne actually went to war long ago over their cities’ respective beer styles (Alt vs. Kolsch), but I have a hard time believing that one. If there’s a book about this epic war, I can tell you that I’d be zapping my credit card over to Amazon in about five minutes. So let me know!

This UERIGE DOPPELSTICKE is my first taste of German alt in the US of A. DOPPELSTICKE is a beer that ZUM UERIGE, where I spent most of my alt-drinking time whilst in Dusseldorf, exports solely to the United States, perhaps because we love the big-ass, high-ABV, hoppy beers or something. This one’s 8.5%, and is essentially a “double” version of the 6% STICKE beer, the one served seasonally throughout the city’s taverns in the Altstadt (old city). I can tell you right now I’m buying this one again, because it’s outstanding. DOPPELSTICKE is a malty, slightly sweet ale, with really pronounced tastes of burnt toffee and perhaps of raisins. It has a refreshing, clean taste, almost totally cleansed of carbonation – which is something I remember well from its German cousins at the brewery. It also poured with a big, white, fluffy head, and though I’m sure it had been in a bottle for the better part of a year, it tasted like it just came out of a cask. Wonderful, more like a Belgian dubbel than I’d ever thought before. 8.5/10!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


You know, for a guy who has on occasion called his favorite style of beer the “American Double IPA”, I’m getting pretty downright bored with the latest crop of American Double IPAs. Now that everyone and his brewmaster brother has one, it’s getting harder & harder to find standouts beyond the heroes that popped out the past 1-3 years: HOPSICKLE, MOYLANDER DOUBLE IPA, RACER 5, HOP SUEY, DEVIL DANCER and a few others. Oh, and the Single/Double/Triple IPA/Pale Ale moniker is pretty much meaningless to me, as I’m sure it is to you. A bitter, highly-hopped beer is now in everyone’s stable, and it’s getting more & more difficult to differentiate them, even when they’re called “Pale Ales”. I’m not saying this is unexpected – just think about the English Special Bitter, for instance – or the American Amber. They all kinda taste somewhat the same. It’s a great taste to be sure, but perhaps the thrill is on the wane.

No big knock on DOUBLE DOG PALE ALE from the FLYING DOG BREWERY of Denver, Colorado, but this big, hoppy beer tastes like the rest of ‘em. It’s a strong, high-ABV (10.5%) hop bomb. Pours a deep orange, and smells like citrus and pine. It’s effervescent and fairly carbonated. Two of them should have you giving your keys away, and a nice teeth-brushing might be in order as well. It’s good, just like the other ones. 6/10.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


So I had my “birthday party” this past weekend, and decided turning __ at San Francisco’s CITY BEER STORE was as good a place as any; better, in fact! Well, in all the mirth, merrymaking, good conversation and fine elixirs being proffered, I neglected my professional duties to Hedonist Beer Jive readers, and forgot to jot down my ratings of each and every beer I tried. I only got as far as MOONLIGHT’S SUBLIMMMINAL ALE, and that’s because no one except for my wife had shown up to the party yet. She of course loves a man who pecks his beer ratings into his phone’s keypad as he finishes his last gulps – it’s really images like that that I believe keep her standing by her man.

I tried three beers immediately after that Moonlight ale that were outstanding, two of which that I have reason to believe might even be approaching “10”s. I will need to try them again to be sure, but just be forewarned. We don’t give out the big kahuna too often. I won’t describe them much in this forum, since I can’t, but in all three cases I believe I’ve found beers that are way, waaay beyond average, and that I can recommend without hesitation. First was STONE BREWING’s 11TH ANNIVERSARY ALE, which if you can believe it is a black Double IPA. Yeah, I know. I gotta learn some more about this one; luckily these are around and in stores, and I loved it. Not a 10, perhaps, but quite good. The party really started rolling when CS brought a 22-oz. bottle of SAINT VINCENT’S DUBBEL from CAPTAIN LAWRENCE BREWING, located in Pleasantville, NY. Much ado was paid to this bottle as it was being carted in, as we can’t get said brewery out here, and apparently this particular bottle was smuggled in a suitcase by a relative. Yay! I recall a dark, rich Belgian-style beer, and I recall pontificating about how much I adored it. I’m going to find a way to get a bottle to California again. Anyone want to trade?

Final beer of the night was a wallet-buster, but hey, I wasn’t paying this night, right? The Belgian brewer DE PROEF teamed up with Tomme Arthur from PORT BREWING to create a stupendous (and stupendously-priced at $14) beer called SIGNATURE ALE, worth every last penny of what someone else spent. Even the non-beer dorks at the table were gasping at how good this one was. I’m going to find another bottle of it; drink it; and report back to you on my findings. That’s it – I’m another year older and three beers wiser. Check this space for related hijinks and shenanigans in the very near future.

Monday, October 08, 2007


The Belgian beer boom looks set to explode in a big way the next couple of months in the San Francisco Bay Area. All of a sudden we’ve got not one but TWO Belgian-inspired beer bars coming in the next few weeks, and both are located stumbling distance from BART, the region’s public transportation system a.k.a subway. First up is a very cool-looking (drove by it last week) storefront called THE TRAPPIST, opening in the old section of Oakland. They are already claiming that they’ll be selling a stupendous array of Trappist- and trappist-inspired Belgian beers, including, I kid you not, WESTVLETEREN 12. No really, take a look at this menu. Bring your big boy wallet and your big boy pants before heading out here. From the outside, they look almost done, so hopefully it’s only a matter of days.

I was greeted with an advertisement this afternoon in the new CELEBRATOR for an upcoming San Francisco establishment called THE MONK’S KETTLE, located in the throbbing heart of the Mission District at 16th & Albion. That would lead me to believe that it’s taking over the longtime drunkard’s bar THE ALBION, later DELIRIUM COCKTAILS, and not a moment too soon. The ad mentions 25 beers on tap and 100+ bottles, and that they’ll be up and running in November. Unreal. I can actually walk to this place, as long as I’m game for a 3-mile uphill walk home after a few goblets of ale. It wouldn’t be the first time. Check this space for opening-week reports once I get the “go-live” information on both.


This new offering from Brian Hunt of MOONLIGHT BREWING is his “fresh hop” ale, right in time for the fresh hop harvest season. At least that’s what I understand. My take on any of these fresh hop ales that you encounter on tap is that you’d better grab them while you can; we’re talking about a several-week shelf life, at least if you want to get the taste benefits of the hop being a young green pea in a pod rather than a wizened bittering agent. SUBLIMMMINAL ALE certainly has a different taste than your run-of-the-mill pale ale or IPA. It took some getting used to. It’s very hoppy for sure; what I found a bit surprising was how thick and “chewy” the beer was, sort of like a rich, orange-colored English beer that just happened to be hopped to the gills. I’m no expert on types of hops, but SUBLIMMMINAL ALE’s variety either was a hop I wasn’t familiar with or this fresh hop thing really does have something to be said for it. Get it on tap in California if you’re out here and you see it, otherwise banish it from your mind thusly. 7/10.

Friday, October 05, 2007


My favorite podcast and chief resource for beer news is the craft beer empire being built by the PACIFIC BREW NEWS folks (Rick Sellers in particular). When they say a beer is a standout, you can believe that it probably is, because these guys are well-versed in all styles, and never make the leap into touting extreme beers for their own sake. A couple shows ago they were raving about GREEN FLASH IMPERIAL INDIA PALE ALE, and were comparing it very, very positively to highly-hopped standouts like Moylan’s Hopsickle, Russian River’s Pliny The Elder and Alpine Brewing’s Pure Hoppiness (which I’ve never had, but am trying to get my San Diego-based sister to find for me). I’ve reviewed a couple of Green Flash beers in this very forum the past few weeks, but this is one I’d yet to try until I encountered it on tap the other night at Pacific Coast Brewing in Oakland, CA. This is the story of that beer.

They served said IMPERIAL IPA in a Belgian-style goblet, which was sort of the brewpub’s way of marking this one as “special”, I s’pose. Or a commentary on the recent US-Belgian cross-pollination in brewing methods. Or maybe they ran out of pint glasses. Anyway, this beer initially hits the nose with a really strong burst of hops and a “floral bouquet”, if you will. Like other well-constructed Double IPAs, you smell it well before you taste it, and the quality is apparent from the word go. I liked its bitterness, probably in the upper 25% for “bitter”ing among IPAs I’ve tasted, and probably well past a point that would be comfortable for most novice beer drinkers. GREEN FLASH IMPERIAL IPA didn’t really do a ton to distinguish itself (to my taste, this particular night) as one of the greats, but there’s likely a little bit of IPA overload implicit in that statement. As Rick and the gang at PBN always point out, we’re so friggin’ spoiled here in California when it comes to India Pale Ale, that it’s almost blasphemy to shrug one’s shoulder’s at a beer this well-constructed. I’ll go with 7/10, and look for a 22-oz. bomber of this in the stores in the near future.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I find it hard to get too riled up about Oktoberfest. There’s no teutonic blood in the family, and the thought of spending a day in a beer garden getting all beaned-up on lagers is a happy memory of my early twenties. Still, I’ll try the odd marzen when October rolls around. Last weekend it was HACKER-PSCHORR OKTOBERFEST, a refreshing, but ultimately disappointing addition to the canon (albeit one that’s been being served across Europe and the globe since 1417). I found it difficult to muster a whole lot of excitement for this bready, flat-tasting lager. It reminded me of a orange-colored, liquid box of crackers, one that your kindly aunt & uncle brought over from their trip to Bavaria but that might have been left in a suitcase from the trip last year & just discovered during pre-packing this year. I couldn’t get into it, I’m afraid, and even lederhosen and an oompah band would have a hard time getting my 5/10 rating up to a 6. But hey, the pumpkin beers are here!


I’ve got this post I want to write called “In Praise of Racer 5”, and I’ll get to it one of these days. I get to drink BEAR REPUBLIC BREWING’s RACER 5 IPA on a pretty frequent basis, as it’s the best beer on tap at a San Francisco rock club I tend to go to monthly called the Hemlock Tavern; it also seems to be showing up with more frequency in refrigerators around these parts as well. Bear Republic have mastered the IPA, but how do they stack up on the “Strong Ale” front, hunh? Well, what is an American strong ale anyway? Here’s what Beer Advocate has to say about it:

Catch all style category for beers from 7.0 percent alcohol by volume and above, Some may even be as high as 25% abv. Characteristics will greatly vary, some have similarities to Barley-wines and Old Ales. Barrel aging is certainly not out of the question.

Interestingly, they put Bear Republic’s SAMMY’S STRONG ALE in this non-category, then go on to say it’s 6.7% alcohol. So let’s call it a “buff ale” instead. Whatever ya call it, it’s pretty good. I had one on tap this past Tuesday night. It poured a light amber, and is almost entirely defined by its rich, deep malts and zesty but restrained hops. I actually pegged it as a souped-up ESB as I was drinking it. It certainly is bitter, but also smooth and grainy. It’s a lot of things, to be frank, and one of ‘em is good. 7/10.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Everyone knows these days about PORT BREWING, one of the 21st century giants of American craft brewing. They’ve duly earned their stripes over the past several years with some of the most well-tended, experimental and robust beers in the world, starting with their PIZZA PORT beers, spinning off into the incredible PORT BREWING beers, to say nothing of the world-beating LOST ABBEY lineup. Whew. My favorites out of the big and growing bunch are Lost Abbey’s DEVOTION ALE, which is a blonde ale that’ll knock yer socks off yer ass; the Pizza Port HOP SUEY, a citrus-packed IPA to die for; and Lost Abbey’s AVANT GARDE, which right now stands to date as the finest example of the biere de garde style I’ve ever ingested. Any beer they release, you’d better pick up. Except for one.

I believe that to err is human and even divine, and that our humanity is best revealed by our mistakes, and our willingness to learn from them. Therefore I see the proverbial glass as half-full when I tell you that PORT BREWING’s new HOP 15 is a rare miss. In fact, it’s quite a severe disappointment, considering these fellas’ track record. HOP 15 burst onto the Double IPA scene a few months ago, and the initial word I got was that it was a good ‘un. Well if you believe me and not them, let me tell you that it’s not. It truly was not what I expected. HOP 15 is an over-hopped, 10 percent ABV bitter-bomb, one that truly is – and it saddens me to say this – a “Double IPA by the numbers”, albeit one that is too piney, and far too sweet. Of course, there’s no accounting for taste, but this reminds me of something you’d get from either an “extreme” homebrewer or a fledgling brewery (maybe one from Hawaii or Arkansas) – not something from a California goliath. Frailty is revealed, and imperfections are brought to the surface, thus illuminating the more beautiful portions of the repertoire. I’m going with 5.5/10 for HOP 15.