Hopness Monster - 6.5% ABV
Catawba Brewing Co. (Morganton, North Carolina)
What I think:
Hopness Monster (great name, btw) pours a hazy golden color with a slight head that is retained on the beer. There was definite lacing on the glass, and the head was pretty light in density — it floated on top of the beer, rather than moving with the beer to hit your upper lip as you take a sip.
Taste-wise, this beer is awesome. It's what I normally look for in an IPA, meaning it's got a citrusy, slightly fruity scent, a distinctively hoppy taste and a slight bitterness that you taste but doesn't cling to the back of your tongue. The mouthfeel is a typical beer carbonation; nothing overwhelming.
And honestly, it reminded me of a lot of IPAs I've had before.
When I took a sip of this beer, I felt like I'd had it to drink before. It made me think of all of the Terrapin IPA varieties. So I looked it up, only to find out it is made with citra and cascade hops. I don't know a lot about hops (I'm working on it, though), but I know I've had a lot of IPAs and pale ales I've had use those hops. So I googled it.
Turns out, one of my favorite beers — Hopsecutioner — uses cascade hops. As does the Terrapin Golden Ale. I've had those beers plenty of times in the past, so I'm not surprised that this beer vaguely reminded me of them.
I couldn't easily find any beers I love that use citra hops, so I'm still looking for those. Are there any you can think of?
Overall rating: 4.5/5
What others say:
This beer overall gets high ratings on BeerAdvocate and other sites. People say it's a strong IPA and pretty expected, but comment a lot on the fruity/juicy taste. I don't know what juicy means, but I get the fruit taste in the smell. Overall, the citrusy sharpness from the hops is what mainly hits me, and I'm all for that.
A lot of reviewers say that the bitterness is from the pine flavor, but that honestly goes way over my head. I wouldn't equate what I get from the bitterness to pine, but I guess maybe that's just another way I can refine my palate.