Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPA Review

Brewery: Anderson Valley Brewing Co. | Beer: Hop Ottin' IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale | ABV: 7.0% | IBUs: 80
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPAAnderson Valley Brewing Company was founded way back in 1987 by Kenneth Allen in Boonville, California. The brewery takes advantage of the unique local culture, using both words from the regional language Boontling and the "Boonville Beer" (a local mythical creature that is a combination of a bear and a deer) in their marketing. Allen runs a sustainable operation, with a massive photovoltaic array and its own wastewater treatment plant.

Anderson Valley showed up on Houston shelves last year and to get started, I decided to go with the company's best known beer: Hop Ottin' IPA. Meaning "hard working hops" in Boontling, Hop Ottin' is a big IPA brewed with lots of "high-alpha Pacific Northwest hops." After the boil, the beer is dry-hopped with whole cone hops to notch it up even more. Anderson Valley describe it as having "a delicious citrus aroma, and an intense hoppy bite," making it "a hop lover’s dream."

Alright, the Boonville Beer is beckoning, let's crack this thing open.

Appearance: A nicely hazy, red-orange body capped by two fingers of creamy, off-white head that endures well and leaves terrific sudsy lacing.

Aroma: A blast of citrusy and piney hops over a substantial toasty caramel base. Well-hopped, to be sure.

Taste: Up front, the same citrusy, piney, and slightly resiny hop character from the nose make a big, nicely bitter splash. But it's not all about the hops though, as the rich toasty caramel base is able to keep everything decently balanced. There aren't many signs of the seven percent alcohol content. The aftertaste is biscuity and still quite bitter.

Mouthfeel: A creamy, medium body with moderate carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: The hops and alcohol content keep it about average for the style.

Verdict: Hop Ottin' is a damn good beer and a great example of a highly bitter, yet balanced IPA. I'm looking forward to seeing what else these guys brew up.

Grade: A

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