This week I have some super hopped up beers that are downright evil...both in name and in amount of hops.
First off: a citrus infused imperial IPA.
Evil Twin was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2010 and, as a gypsy brewery, they use other breweries to create their beer (this one was made in New York). They’ve a plethora of brews across styles but seem to have an affinity for hoppy beers.
Molotov Cocktail is Evil Twin’s big, imperial IPA. But they love to play around with it – sometimes they use a single hop variety, sometimes they add bonus ingredients, and sometimes they just leave it alone (but that’s no fun).
Their newest modification of the beer comes with the addition of mango and orange…so, with my affinity for citrus-infused brews, I naturally needed to try it.
But it doesn’t come too cheap. A four pack of 12-ounce cans runs you $12. But each can is packed with a huge 12% ABV and god knows how many IBUs…so alcohol-wise it’s worth it.
This version poured a bright copper color with about three fingers of slightly off white head that had some nice staying power before slowly fizzling down to just a dusting. I was surprised that the massive amount of bubbles didn’t stick to my glass more on their way down, instead only one or two cloudy streaks lined my glass.
On the nose it’s a total hop-bomb. Dank, sticky hops dominate the aroma with some pine and citrus notes. The mango and orange add a sugary sweetness to the aroma and let you know they’ve got your back should the hops be too much for you.
My first taste starts with a light carbonated fizz – much less than I thought there was going be. Then the hops emerge and smacked my palate. There was a light spice that accompanied the piney and citrusy hop flavors.
The orange and mango laid low initially, letting the beer introduce itself to you properly before the tropical juices made their move. Their sweetness cut into the hop sting nicely but with one drawback – they added a sticky juiciness that coated my taste buds and dried out my mouth rather quickly.
On the backend this sticky resin that remained did well to make the hops palatable the whole sip through but had me smacking my lips together in between each sip just to get rid of it.
Some sips you forget this beer has a 12% ABV…then some sips you’re reminded with the full force of the booze. About half the time there is a strong alcohol taste that accompanies the beer on its way down…when that happened, a second sip was required immediately. It was the only way to get rid of the burn.
Overall, this wasn’t my favorite variation of Molotov Cocktail. The mango and orange, while present, were out-shined by the boozy flavors and the huge hoppiness this beer presented. I like their Single Simcoe Hop version better, it was (somehow) sweeter and less bitter. Be warned with this brew…the fruit does not cut into the hops as much as the aroma indicated.
Up next a brewery that just began distributing to the Chicagoland market not too long ago - Heretic.
Heretic Brewing calls Fairfield, California home (about the halfway point between San Francisco and Sacramento). You can find their beers in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, and some major cities (Chicago, Miami, Portland [Or], and Philadelphia).
In the Chicago area only two of their brews are available – Evil Twin (not related to the brewery above) and Evil Cousin. I opted for their Evil Cousin (the stronger of the two), a double IPA with an 8% ABV, 100 IBU, and a modest price tag of $11 for a six-pack.
This imperial IPA poured much lighter than I thought it would. A bright golden straw color beer flowed from the can with about two fingers of dense white head topping it all off.
The head retention Evil Cousin had up front was quite impressive. Even after multiple minutes there was still a whole finger worth of bubbles protecting the liquid below. The little bit it that had fizzled away marked my glass with thick cloudy lines before I had even had a sip.
Evil Cousin gave off a nice balanced aroma that mirrored a west coast IPA…despite being a double. Orange, grapefruit, and other citrus notes lead off the aroma. There are some light nutty and piney notes and well as some sweet malt scents as well that seem to create a well-balanced brew.
I was excited to dig in.
My first taste starts with moderate carbonation (just enough to tickle the tongue) before the flavors immediately emerge. Orange and grapefruit start it all off before some light melon and sweeter caramel malt join the mix.
This was an incredibly light DIPA; both in color and hop presence. The hops were there, don’t get me wrong, but not in the bity strong way that most doubles have. Instead the hops only leant their fruity, earthy components without that strong bitterness.
Evil Cousin supposedly has 100 IBU but it is by far the easiest drinking 100+ IBU beer I’ve ever had. Sure, on the backend, the hops left a tiny lingering bitter twinge…but they also left a sweet grapefruit flavor that did its best to mask it. Nor was there any real dryness left by Evil Cousin, which was a nice surprise.
The 8% ABV is mostly hidden throughout the sip. As the beer warms up some, the booze comes out slightly in the flavor but mostly it shows up mid-swallow, by warming my chest and face as the beer is going down.
I really like this beer. From the smell, to the taste, to the way it ends…this is a really solid beer. It drinks more like a regular IPA than a double and has a lot of great flavors that flood the taste buds. To those that are afraid of DIPAs or hate hoppy beers…give this one a shot. It’s a really good double.