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Selection: 4.5 | Service: 5 | Atmosphere: 4 | Food: N/Acolin's (96) Overall Score: 90.0
After visiting, I finally see where the name comes from: this is some of the hoppiest beer you will find anywhere in the world.
Open most days, the location would be virtually impossible to find were it not for a few small A-frame signs as you approach. There is no bar, no food, just tastings. $6 for 9 beers or, if you don't want that many, you can negotiate with them. Despite their best efforts, the place is popular. There were a consistent stream of people tasting and filling growlers while we were there.
The only beer under 7% ABV they had on tap that day was a Saison. It ran about 4.5% and was actually a little weak, but had a really nice flavor. They had run out of the trippel, which was disappointing, but they replaced it with the "Palette Breaker," a supposedly super-hoppy beer, and included a version of it on cask.
There was the West Coast IPA, the only of theirs I'd had before. Good IPA with a really good flavor.
Then there was the Hop Head, their amber, which is also very good.
But then there was the Imperial IPA. I don't think I had ever had a beer that was too hoppy until I had that one. It was hoppy to the point that it was actually a little nauseating.
Le Freak is a hybrid Belgian and American IPA that I found very tasty. The IBU is the same as the Imperial IPA, but it doesn't have that same overwhelming hopness.
The stout was thick and hefty, maybe a bit much. A little too carbonated, I think.
They also had the barleywine on tap. I don't particularly like these because, to me, they taste like if you made a boilermaker out of a good beer. You could taste that the beer was good under all of that strength, but it was a little much.
Then there was the Palette Buster. The regular version was nice and actually did not taste nearly as hoppy as the Imperial IPA. However, the cask version was the real treat because that's where all of the flavors and aromas really came out.
In spite of the brewery being relatively hard to find, this was a really good stop and I'm glad that we came here.
The one knock I have to give it is that, although I like strong beer, my companion did not and had nothing to drink save for the saison. But, I guess, if you come all the way out to this brewery then you're there to really taste beer and not just sip swill.
reviewed on: 2008-10-28 17:49:00