It's no shock that I have two IPAs for you this week. But these are two hop-tastic brews that you should go searching for.
First up, from the Sunshine State, Funky Buddha's Hop Gun.
Funky Buddha had one of the quickest surges in beer history. The brewery initially started in Boca Raton, Florida in 2010 where it went from a popular local hangout to an international sensation nearly overnight (well, in a year)...all thanks to the release of their Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. The boom allowed them to find a larger space and in 2013 they opened their new space in Oakland Park (in between Ft. Lauderdale and Boca Raton).
Currently, they are only available in parts of Florida but a friend of mine helped Hop Gun - one of their IPAs - fly into my fridge this past weekend. And I couldn't wait to open it (based on the name alone).
Ok, I'll do my best not to make as many movie jokes and lame puns as possible during this review...but I've lost that lovin' feeling so I might just throw in a few (uh oh, that's one already).
This IPA will bomb your tongue with 80 IBU and a very solid 7% ABV, so it's no slouch. Some say I'm a Maverick for even trying this brew but I felt the need...the need for...well, beer (damn, that's two in once sentence).
The beer pours a clear, medium amber with just about a finger of head that didn't last too long before it faded into a mere dusting around the rim and a few clouds in the center. There is a strong aroma of hoppy citrus fruits - pineapple and grapefruit mostly - with a bit of a bready malt backing to it.
I was excited to try it, so I dove in almost immediately. Much like the smell indicated, this beer was pretty hop forward. On take off there was an initial burst of carbonation before the hops and citrus swooped in. Grapefruit and pine were the main flavors, with the pineapple not really showing itself.
Then the malts tried to smooth out the brew some bready/caramel notes but the hops would not be deterred and ended the taste with a slightly piney, slightly grapefruity bitterness that lasted a few moments. Along with that final hop sting (which made me chomp my teeth like Iceman), the beer also ended on the dry side, making me instantly ready for my next sip.
As I continued to empty the contents of the glass, Hop Gun has some decent lacing but nothing much; just a few spider webs that slid down the glass slowly. The malts and grapefruit also became more prominent, especially at the end of the flavor profile, the warmer the brew got. I liked the second half of the bottle more than the first.
Overall, you want the truth? Well, YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!! (Oops! Sorry, wrong Tom Cruise movie...)
But seriously, if I lived in Florida, and had this beer readily available to me, it would be my Goose. There were great flavors and, for as strong as it was, the alcohol was hidden really well and bitterness faded away towards the end making it much smoother than it was initially. And, since a six-pack cost just around $11.99, this beer would be a great wingman for these summer days we're going to start seeing. 8/10
Secondly, from my own backyard, Half Acre's DOUBLE Daisy Cutter.
Any self-respecting craft beer fan in Chicagoland has tried Half Acre's Daisy Cutter. It's just a fact. However, on special occasions, Half Acre releases their Double Daisy Cutter, an Imperial IPA that doesn't last more than a day on shelves and is normally limited to just few bottles per person.
I was able to grab myself one last month when it was released and I have been waiting for the right time to open it...that time has finally come.
If you don't remember anything about Half Acre, here's a quick bio. They began back in 2008 on Lincoln Avenue in the Northcenter neighborhood of Chicago and people fell in love with them. Last year they expanded, opening another location about two miles away that will soon house a full restaurant and have tours. And just last month they expanded their distribution to the entire state of Illinois (woo!) and are also available in parts of Pennsylvania as well (according to SeekABrew.com).
Double Daisy Cutter pours a cloudy amber color with minimal head topping the beer. The first half of the bottle resulted in just half a finger of white foam that rapidly fizzed out to just a dusting atop the brew.
There were some big time scents packed into this bottle. Citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, mango, and orange dominated the smell. But there was no shortage of malts in the aroma, as you get nice whiffs of some toffee and bready malt as well.
The citrus flavors dominated the taste initially. First you get a nice fizzy taste of oranges and grapefruits that goes down really smooth. Then, on the backend, the toffee and bready malts pick up where the hops left off, smoothing out the sip. It ends with a slight hoppy bitterness that lingers for a little while between sips.
Half Acre's rare DIPA has a medium body to it and ends on the dry side of things, leaving your mouth a tad bit sticky from all the sweet sugars in the fruit and malts. The little bit of remaining head didn't lace my glass too much, leaving small splotches of bubbles sporadically around my glass.
Even though this beer isn't insanely loaded with booze, at 8.0% ABV, you can still feel the alcohol warmth as the liquid travels down your body. It lets you know it's there by heating up your chest and flushing your cheeks a bit, despite the fact that it's nearly all hidden in the flavor.
It's a rather easy to drink Imperial beer. The lower ABV and big citrus flavors make it seem more like a regular pale ale or IPA. And for those that don't like overly bitter beers, this one is really not too bad for what's inside. This is a great starter beer for those that want to try more DIPAs.
Double Daisy Cutter is a very, very good double IPA. It's pretty smooth, very tasty, but just a bit too dry on the back end (especially as you drink more and more from the glass). 8.5/10