Saturday, April 14, 2012
[A Beer a Day] 2012 DIPA horizontal: Founder's Double Trouble (Grand Rapids, MI) | Bell's Hopslam (Kalamazoo, MI) | Sierra Nevada Hoptimum (Chico, CA)
One of the common themes that I expound about on on here is the subject of balance -- and the thought that anything that disrupts the scales too far in one direction must expect something to counterbalance in the opposite direction. Its all about Earth's weight distribution and keeps us from flinging into another solar system, a far-off place much too hot to listen to The Rapture and day drink.
Take this, for example: Last night, Melissa and I broke into The Cellar and relived three of these spectacular Double IPAs of their stand-by duties by doing a horizontal tasting, maybe one of the better ideas we've had since agreeing to meet for happy hour at Casey Moore's that led to a lifetime of having a drinking buddy.
But then, this morning, during my usual weekend walk around the hood with Enzo, Not one, but TWO Sublime songs assaulted us on my TuneIn Radio app. For all of the glory that comes with sampling three exceptional, fresh, and highly sought after beers in the nerd-dom, comes El Jefe strong with a counterbalancing double-shot of What I Got and Wrong Way.
What you see before you are three big bastard beers. Officially, they are labeled as Imperial Indian Pale Ale, but colloquially, the term Double IPA, or DIPA, is preferred 'cos it pretty much indicated double the fun. They are also typically the most unbalanced beers in the entire beer universe. That is, unless the universe it trying to fabricate the most perfect concoction.
DIPAs are a style steeped in legend -- and, along with the Russian Imperials of late winter -- are the most hotly anticipated releases each year. Of the top 10 rated beers in the world, 40% of the list is occupied by DIPAs and another 30% by Russian Imperial Stouts. So, these gangsters are kind of a big deal.
The three beers before you are the 1927 Yankees of DIPAs, minus the Murderer's Row, clean-up hitting Pliny the Elder, which continues to be evasive in my quests to procure, outside of the occasional bottle share.
Starting at the front of the order, Founder's Double Trouble presents with a POUND of booze and finishes with an insanely spicy alcohol wash. There are the huge, but balanced hop notes that dance a bit with the malts, but then ultimately persevere through the palate. If you've had Founder's Devil Dancer, it is a muted version of this, which makes it actually drinkable. Last year, Devil Dancer burned a hole in my lower intestine and pocked my esophagus like the Flint portion of I-75 after sampling at the brewery. I had to seal it all with the triglycerides of Detroit square pizza and Coney Island dogs. I'm not about to go down that road again.
Acquired: Jack's Market
Batting second in the lineup is Hoptimum, a solid line-drive hitting DIPA from Sierra Nevada that bats righty as a fine west coast, piney-resin imperial, but also can switch hit as a balanced Midwestern double. The hops are definitely steeped in this beer, but not pungent or too bitter. In keeping with a traditional IPA, Hoptimum is floral and crisp, with a nice alcohol back, and despite having the highest ABV, disguises it very well. Hoptimum also win 10 internet points for the best beer label -- a very stately hophead greeting his thirsty constituency.
However, the Lou Gehrig power-alley slugger of this batting order is Bell's Hopslam. This beer is supremely capable of snagging Pliny the Ruth's shot-calling glory in the clean-up spot. Hopslam is the most well-controlled, and thus, well balanced, IPA I've ever had the opportunity to dabble in. Its BIG hop profile is perfectly reigned in by the syrupy perseverance of its honey addition. It is both easy drinking and challenging to tackle. It is perhaps the best warm-weather beer in America and the reason Earth remains perfectly on its axis.
Acquired: Jack's Market