21st Amendment Brewery‘s recently released Hop Crisis pours a slightly hazy gold with a small, off-white head. For such a big beer (9.7 percent ABV), the aroma is surprisingly subdued, with bread, light citrus and wood notes attempting to escape. The lack of aroma hops likely contributes to the absence of the typical hop bomb scents.
The use of Columbus, Centennial and Cascade for bittering and Simcoe, Ahtanum, Amarillo and Cascade for dry-hopping create a combination of deep caramel and sweet, luscious fruit juice that goes down with a bit of heat. This isn’t a dry beer; the use of dextrose may be the cause of a sweetness that continues to coat the mouth while the chest warms. Only after the beer warms a bit and the initial bitterness dissipates do tiny notes of oak peak through the alcohol.
Though it comes in twelve-ounce cans within 21st Amendment’s distribution area, Hop Crisis deserves to be sipped as if it were packaged in a champagne bottle. This imperial IPA will keep you warm in the transition from the long summer days to the short winter nights.
Who would have imagined a few years ago that you’d be able to enjoy a 9.7 percent ABV imperial India Pale Ale out of can? And one aged on oak spirals, nonetheless? No one likely predicted such a response to the hop crisis that continues to plague the beer industry today, but fortunately, Shaun and Nico of 21st Amendment in San Francisco followed Ray Bradbury‘s school of philosophy with their latest seasonal release. “You don’t predict things, you make them…Don’t think about things, just do them; don’t predict them, just make them.”