As the member of the Brew Crew who adores hops probably the most of all, I have made it my mission of late to try each and every double IPA and high-IBU standard IPA to come out of our local breweries in the past couple of months. I was inspired by how well New Mexico performed in the Brewing News National IPA Challenge and have been very very impressed by each unique take on the style that I have tried of late. Truly we should change our state motto from Land of Enchantment to Land of Hopchantment for the extremely high bar that our local brews set against stalwarts of the style like Dogfish Head, Stone, Avery, and others.
Scale Tipper, Bosque: Grapefruit and pine are the main elements. Wonderfully blended to absolute perfection. Tart grapefruit mellows to an orange citrus pine haven for hops. This is hop wonderland, a magical place filled with hop elves that pour golden elixir to destroy your palate. This beer is the equivalent of the extra hot red chile at the Fiery Foods Show. Diminutive in appearance in terms of the specifications of the ale, but mind blowing in delivery.
Exodus, Canteen: Lemongrass citrus tropical aroma, with orange and grapefruit. Tons of grapefruit and orange flavor in this one, with a fine, clean, bitter finish of pine and resinous dankness. Wonderful mouthfeel, just golden resin flowing down your throat. Nice bite just before the finish like a good green chile. This is like a RuinTen with a plethora of tropical hops on top. Liquid gold in color and simply outstanding. Solid, white, creamy head, great clarity.
Branding Iron, Tractor: Nelson to the extreme, simply glorious all around. Tropical thy name is Branding Iron. I could go into the depths and the nuances but that would be a disservice. This is like taking a hot brand, filled with hops, and just burning out the fires of Isengard with pure Nelson goodness. So grab a pint and destroy Sauron! The end of each sip leaves you thirsty for more beer.
Ha-Za!, Chama River: Huzzah indeed! Wonderful waves of endless hops. Sharp bite followed by mango smoothness, washing away and leaving your taste buds annihilated. Just as others described, this is truly the evolution of Radioactive IPA from last year and it is quite the bit of hop progress!
Uppercut, Boxing Bear: Dank grass aroma that tastes, well, like the aftereffect of a couple of rips of the close cousin to hops. This is a theme and a trend I’ve been noticing and I’m quite happy that it has been happening more and more with hoppy beers of late. Dank lovers unite!
Father Nelson, La Cumbre: Oh, holy of holy tropical beers, how I adore thee. Much more bitterness present than last year; a wonderful breadth of Nelson goodness. A hop wine triple India Pale Ale capable of exorcising the demons from one’s palate. Plentiful and sweet malt backbone shines through. Pineapple white wine. Mango, too.
So until the next plethora of hop juggernauts grace these fine, sandy shores in the desert, drink hops and be merry for tomorrow we may dive into an ocean of liquid gold and imbibe of the nectar of the gods!
— Franz Solo