Hello, fellow beer enthusiasts! Mr. Hartshorne is out for the time being, so I, your humble servant, shall do my best to bring you the best from the world of brewing. I bow my head to his superior knowledge of the brewed, hopped and malted world, but when it comes to voicing a strongly held opinion I am second to none. But enough about me, let’s get to the beer!
Thank God for British imperialism! Without it, the world may not have developed the India Pale Ale, named so for its ability to be transported by ship to India and still be drinkable on the other end. The IPA solved a dire problem for the British: “We are occupying India but cannot live without beer.” This problem was solved by introducing this domestically brewed beer, which was later brewed on a much larger scale to supply the British presence in India. So whatever your political inclination or opinion on history is, you can agree that fate has decreed something good to come out of the British foothold in India: a truly delightful style of beer.
Over time, the IPA immigrated to American breweries, bringing us The Hopfather, Holy Cow, Hopgasm and others. Hoptimus Prime was originally delivered to the world from Victory Brewing Co. out of Pennsylvania but was discontinued. Ruckus Brewing Co. brought it back to shelves and has continued the tradition.
Poured out, I observed a pleasantly dark golden color. There was not much head to speak of. Upon a few wafts, I determined that the aroma was rich and pleasant and gave me high hopes for the flavor of the beer.
With a name like Hoptimus Prime, I was expecting something akin to Willy Wonka’s Fizzy Lifting Drink or to have my tongue rolled up like a rug by the sheer hoppiness of it. However, when I first tasted it, I found it surprisingly smooth with low carbonation and no spin-my-head hops. There was a presence of hops, but it showed up more as an undertone. The primary flavor was malty, and I caught a hint of citrus and maybe something I could not identify (upon researching this beer myself I discovered it was pine). It made for a savory combination that stayed with me for a while in a rather pleasant aftertaste.
It has a strong flavor but not too strong to be consumed on its own. I would recommend pairing it with something in the way of food. My initial thoughts on its pairing would be with a sandwich, like a Reuben or club, and steak fries. I do not recommend pairing with anything of mild flavor. Strong cheese, red meat or something of that sort ought to do fine.
If you have a sophisticated palate or simply like a strong, malty beer, I highly recommend this brew for you. I greatly enjoyed it myself and will hopefully (student-budget permitting) enjoy it again soon.
Name: Hoptimus Prime
Classification: Double IPA
Brewery of origin: Ruckus Brewing Co. (previously Victory Brewing Co.)
Firepower: 9.0% alcohol by volume
Caliber: 22 fluid-ounce bottle.
Grade: Fantastic (or A, if you insist on keeping with the scholastic theme of college)