Let's take a trip out west to San Diego where, for my beers this week, I've chosen two beers from the same brewers...but with a twist. Both beers are from the same brewery but come from different concepts.
As we've mentioned before, Port Brewing, from San Marcos, California, began as part of Pizza Port. After quite some time, they later broke off to start their own brewery. Port opened in 2006 and have since been doing their own thing and making great beers. Their head brewery wasn't satisfied and wanted to expanded even more so he created an offshoot, The Lost Abbey.
The Lost Abbey is Port's take on abbey style ales and, today, they are still connected to Port Brewing and even brewed in the same location, they just target a different audience.
So far, Port and The Lost Abbey are available California, Colorado, Arizona, Washington, Georgia, New Jersey, Philly, Boston, and Chicago but they are always entering new locations, so find them!
First up, the original:
Their biannually released beer, Hop-15, is an Imperial IPA, so it's not surprising to see that it carries a 10% ABV with it. What was surprising was how good it smelled when I popped the top off. There is a hop bite to the smell but there is also a much nicer aroma; that of citrus with hints of cherries, mango, and pine.
It's called Hop-15 because there are 15 different types of hops in it, which were added every 15 minutes when making it. As I poured it from the bomber, it was deep amber color with about a finger of fluffy head topping the beer that dissipated rather quickly.
My first taste was rather good for a beer containing such a high ABV and IBU rating (it has 182 IBU! That's crazy high!). It was more piney than citrusy but still had those flavor profiles hidden underneath the earthy tones. I will say that Hop-15 is rather carbonated and dry, so it leaves a sticky feeling in your mouth between sips.
Every sip begins with a mild, fizzy, hop attack, which lingers for a tad bit, but then fades into a sweet malty flavor. For a beer this high in ABV, the alcohol taste is minimal and I though it would be way more bitter than it was...OR maybe the hops just bombed my tongue and I can't taste much of anything anymore.
This is a very solid DIPA. It's surprisingly easy to drink, got some good flavors to it, and has the booze to hit you nicely after you're finished with it. At $8.99 for a 22-ounce bottle, it isn't the cheapest but it is worth to cost if you're a hop-head. 8/10
Next up, their Lost Abbey Devotion.
As soon as I popped the cork open, a nice mist bellowed out of the 750 mL bottle. As I was pouring it, bubbles flourished towards the top of the glass, creating a nice, thick layer of head about an inch high.
You can smell the Belgian yeast along with orange peel, apple, pear, a grassy mix, and a touch of coriander. The aroma is nothing special for a Belgian blonde ale but, as I love the style, I found it rather inviting.
On my first sip, the millions of bubbles fizzed on my tongue quite a bit showing its carbonation. However, outside of the carbonation, nothing particular stood out. Each flavor profile I picked up in the smell made a tiny appearance in my sip but there was no one taste that was dominant.
As I continued my way through the bottle, I would say I got mostly green apple and spices with an Earthy undertone, but there was still nothing overwhelming or prominent. This led to the beer being really smooth, just lacking a distinct flavor.
Despite not having a flavor while drinking, it did leave an aftertaste that lingered for a little while. It wasn't a bad taste, just a normal yeasty, grassy flavor that most Belgians have with an added spicy hop tang.
The 6.25% ABV is masked nicely, which makes Devotion not particularly strong but it isn't weak either. And at $8.99 for the 25.4-ounce bottle, it's not priced too bad either.
Overall, this is a decent beer. It's smooth and easy to drink, with some mild carbonation but it lacks an individual flavor and just kind of lingers around. I had some of The Lost Abbey's other beers while I was in San Diego and they were stellar (especially Inferno and Red Barn). This one was just average for me. 7/10