Anyway, recently I got a case of their IPA Hopology, a limited-release variety pack which features six different beer styles, with an IPA twist. It's a unique collection, and I didn't hesitate to snap it up.
You can read more about their limited releases here.
I'm not going to go in-depth with each of the beers (no tasting notes, I generally don't bother with them anyway), but I'll do a quick run-down, along with my impressions and likes/dislikes.
Here are the six beers in the collection:
- Whitewater - Wheat Ale IPA, 5.8% ABV, 61 IBU
- Latitude 48 - IPA, 6% ABV, 60 IBU
- Grumpy Monk - Belgian IPA, 6.5% ABV, 55 IBU
- Tasman Red - Red IPA, 7% ABV, 60 IBU
- Dark Depths - Baltic Porter IPA, 7.6% ABV, 60 IBU
- Third Voyage - Double IPA, 8% ABV, 85 IBU
My favorite of the bunch was the Grumpy Monk, which should be no surprise, given how much I like Belgian Style Ale. It's a great beer, rooted in that Belgian Style, but with the bitterness of an IPA. The bitterness is just the right amount - not strong enough to overpower the core flavors, not weak enough to turn this into a watered-down, inferior version of a Belgian Style Ale.
My next favorite was the Dark Depths. Much like the Grumpy Monk, it was a good mix of porter and IPA, both smooth and bitter. It seems odd that a dark, rich beer that you assume would be a stout or porter would be bitter like an IPA. It's similar to the confusion we all got when drinking Crystal Pepsi for the first time (or maybe I'm the only one who remembers that). It looks like one thing, but tastes like another.
Moving on, in the middle of the pack we have their more traditional IPA styles, the Latitude 48 and Third Voyage. Both were very good, well above average but not great. I preferred the Third Voyage over the 48, probably because I like strong IPAs. I'd drink them again, but probably wouldn't go out of my way to seek them out.
The Whitewater was okay... my wife liked this one more than I, but she's a big fan of Wheat Ales. This one is a white ale, technically, with flavors of apricot and "spices" (usually things like coriander and citrus peel). I do like some wheat ales (Boulevard Wheat is by far my favorite), but this one didn't do it for me, even with the bitterness of an IPA.
And once again, I'm not surprised that I disliked the Tasman Red the least. If you've been reading my tasting blogs, you'll know that I don't particularly like red or brown ales. I find them too thin and the nuttiness sometimes turns me off. I still taste them, though, in a quest for that diamond in the rough, for that one red/brown ale that I will like. This one, a Red IPA, was simply not good to me. My wife liked it, though, so I let her drink the rest of them.
This is a solid variety pack overall. I got it at Costco, though you should also be able to find it at larger beer/wine retailers. The Costco price was $25, which is a great price (anything roughly at $1 or less per bottle is great to me), but I'm sure it's a bit more at normal retailers, seeing as a 12-pack of this can run up to $20.
Either way, if you like IPAs and mixed beer styles, definitely check it out. You're bound to like at least half of the pack. The others you can pawn off on your spouse.