Picked up a Hop Heathen the day it was released from the brewery…it doesn’t get much fresher than this.
Pours a murky, muddy dark brown with some milk chocolate highlights when held up to the light. It almost appears gritty. A careful pour results into a modest two finger creamy tan head with moderate lacing. Not the world’s prettiest beer but that’s not the point.
This is one of those beers that captures your attention right away based on the wafting aromas present during the initial pour. It’s one of the most complex noses I’ve come across. Waves of subtle pine interplay with a more complex aroma of a bright, acidic coffee similar to a fine Kenyan AA. This is followed by a roasty caramel and just a hint of tobacco. Simply amazing!
After experiencing the aroma, I take my first sip with great anticipation….a damn it doesn’t let me down! The first thing I detect is a smooth milk chocolate. The milk chocolate sweetness exits upon the first bitter bite of those beautiful hops. The hops just sit there mid palate begging to stay a few seconds longer. Then comes the big finish of roasty coffee and subtle smokiness, which completely dominate the palate until the next sip.
Mouthfeel is dead on for this style. A soft level of carbonation plays perfectly into a creamy and slightly sticky mouthfeel.
OVERALL IMPRESSION (10/10)
Overall, I can’t say enough good things about this beer. I’ve had 2-3 other black IPAs and was left with the thought that maybe it’s just not my style. Then the Heathen came into my life. The aroma and taste are so complex I could see having a slightly different experience with each bottle. Another world-class offering from Hoppin’ Frog.
FINAL SCORE (46/50)