After the disappointing performance of Hermitage’s double hefeweisen, I was a little skeptical about Hoptopia, the corresponding IPA in the San Jose brewery’s recent “double” series. Upon first pour, everything seemed on track for a decent, hoppy experience: a nice straight-up golden color with a tight, sizable head, which, after some decent retention, leaves some lace, but not enough for your glass to be mistaken for your great auntie’s parlor.
The pine/grapefruit nose is present, but not as hop-forward as I expected, and it’s paired with something else, either I’m sensing the alcohol, or this beer has spent some time in or around a Naugahyde couch. There is a strange polyvinyl ester leaching from somewhere and it throws off the decent malt backbone of this beer.
For a double IPA, I’m just not getting smacked silly with hoppy goodness, which is exactly what I look for from this style. The finish has an odd, lingering note of slightly rancid butter.
With so many better (read: friggin’ amazing) double IPAs—i.e. Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Ruination, Maximus, Moylander, Steelhead Double IPA, yes, even Hop Stoopid, etc., ad nauseam—on the market right now, I don’t think I’ll be making the trip out to Hoptopia again anytime soon.