On my last beer run (which is going to be my last for a LONG time… I have WAAAYYYY too many beers in the “cellar” that need to be drunk before I buy anything more. I know I said the same last year, but this is serious now) I picked up some cans for the “Hey, Babe, Nice Cans!” series and Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Hop Ottin’ IPA was one I picked up (see my last review for my impression of the canned Summer Solstice).
Again, longtime readers know I am still enamored with the idea of craft beers in cans! LOL Cans are a great medium for beers for many, many reasons, but IPA’s do particularly well in cans because there is no chance of light or air hitting the beer, both of which are bad for high-hopped beers especially.
I’ve had this beer in the bottle, but for some reason have never reviewed it. Hop Ottin’ weighs in at 7% ABV and 80 IBU’s (the measure for bitterness used by brewers). Unfortunately, the AVBC website offers virtually no information about what’s in the beer, so all we know based on the site is that it has “Pacific Northwest hops,” which could be anything since virtually all hops used in production brewing come from the PNW.
If there is one thing that California brewers all have in common is the love of HUGE, ultra-hopped IPA’s. Balance? We don’t need no stinking balance here on the Left Coast!
Hop Ottin’ pours a cloudy dark orange/amber-ish color with a huge, thick shaving cream like head. Head retention is massive on this beer and I even had an island of thick head that floated on the beer and never went away. Big heads come from big hops, generally.
The aroma is hop forward, with that piney, resiny type of hop character loved by many of the West Coast brewers. I didn’t get many floral or citrus notes from the aroma. They were earthy and there was a lot of pine tree in there, too.
Not surprisingly, the flavor was the same. Earthy, resiny, piney notes from beginning to end, and a lot of hop bitterness. The first 25% of the taste has pretty good balance with the malts, but then the hops wave comes crashing in and carries into a long, bitter aftertaste. There is nice carbonation in this beer and it’s quite an easy drinker despite the high bitterness. At this alcohol level and bitterness level trying to take down a 6-pack of this at a party or during a game would be a bad idea and would quickly lead to palate fatigue, but this is a good, solid, enjoyable IPA. After my disappointment with Summer Solstice, my love of AVBC has been restored! A great beer, probably tough to drink in volume, but sprinkling some cans in among the lighter fare for a day at the pool or camping would be a top notch idea.