Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie
will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it:
How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find
it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer
you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.
Death by hops. The notion sounds intriguing, actually -- to pass in a cloud of honey- and pine-scented greenery. And with some of the IPAs and imperial IPAs out there now, if it were possible to die of hop overload, they would do it. These beers are so bitter, so aromatic and hop-licious, that they leave your mouth changed afterward. Hopheads seek these ultra-bitter beers like hop-seeking missiles.
Some of the brews I taste, though, are just too hoppy -- there's no
sweet balance behind the bitter aromas. All they leave you with is a
bad case of cotton mouth. But not Terrapin's Hopsecutioner. Although
the name indicates it will slam you upside the head with a bag of hops
and never let up, there's actually a sturdy beer behind the green stuff
to back it all up.
Terrapin, out of Athens, Georgia, brews only five full-time beers, and
Hopsecutioner is one of them. It's made with a blend of six
hops, which gives it a distinct taste from other IPAs and imperial
IPAs. In fact, the aroma of a freshly cracked bottle of Hopsecutioner is so original, I had a hard time placing one distinct smell or flavor.
The brew pours with a sturdy body and a thick, white head. After a few
sips, I started pinpointing the flavors: It reminds me of more than a
few brews I had in Georgia in that the sweet, malty backbone really
stands out. It's almost as if the sweet Georgia water has a big effect
on the flavor.
It's that backbone, though, that makes Hopsecutioner go from good IPA
to great. The balance is spot on, with honeyed, floral, spicy hops
balanced by a bread-heavy, orange-colored malt. At 7.2 percent alcohol, it's
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an IPA for sipping, but the careful balance will fool you into drinking
it faster. When it's done, it leaves a pleasant alcohol warmth and a
spicy finish. If there's any way to go, that's got to be it.
Find Terrapin Hopsecutioner at Total Wine.