Monday, January 18, 2010

Hop Gentle

Tonight is the night of dreams for hophead beer geeks as they are tapping 2 cask kegs of Hopslam tonight at The Flying Saucer (7 PM sharp). The rest of the week will be spent seeking out Hopslam on taps across town and finally getting the holy grail, a $17/sixer of Hopslam for home drinking. All of this is warranted, Hopslam is an exceptional beer and it doesn't last long on store shelves. But what if you're not willing to go to any effort and you don't get lucky and go to a liquor store that doesn't have any Hopslam or you don't want to spend $17 on a six pack? You still want to get a quality hop bombed double IPA. The following 3 beers can be substituted and you may end up just as happy.
Hop Stoopid
Lagunitas makes this exceptionally cheap ($3.49/22 oz. bottle) double IPA. Lagunitas loves making hoppy beers, even their pale ale is hoppier than a standard pale ale, so you know this one's going to be packed. But at $3.49, you do get what you pay for. It's pretty much hops, hops and more hops without the sweet malt to balance them out. You'll know you're drinking hops, but it's unclear that you're drinking a double IPA because the sweetness normally associated with a double IPA isn't there. It's a good beer and a great value but not quite the accomplishment that Hopslam or the next 2 beers are.

A Little Sumpin Extra! Ale

This one is also made by Lagunitas. It has a little more maltiness and sweetness and a little less hoppy flavor of the Hop Stoopid. It's a little more in line from what I'm looking for in a double IPA. It's also a little more expensive than Hop Stoopid. It is a seasonal so it might be a little harder to find than the Hop Stoopid which is a big seller I think because it is so cheap and has a more gimmicky name. Little Sumpin Extra is aptly named because that little sumpin is a better balance, more alcohol (8.74% ABV) and is just a more pleasurable drinking experience.

Maharaja

I've raved about Avery's Maharaja before and I'll do it again. It's one of my favorite beers and it's the first double IPA I liked (they're usually too sweet for me). Everything about it rings perfect to me. At 10.24% ABV it's also a beer you can't drink all the time giving you that special event feel every time you have it. Again, this one is a little more expensive around $8/bomber but it's a good deal. If you only have one double IPA (available in KC) this year and it's not Hopslam, it better damn sure be Maharaja. I think the Maharaja is pretty close to the equal of Hopslam AND it requires little to no effort to find.

All 3 of these replacement double IPA's can be found in any liquor store that carries bombers and has a decent selection. I'm sure others have a double IPA that they like more than the 3 I've mentioned, but these are the 3 I've tried and liked. Also, as you find Hopslam in stores or on tap shout it out in comments to help out others. You've got yours, why not help others reach a hoppy bliss?

9 comments:

  1. Avery Maharaja is fantastic. You can't mention imperial IPAs without mentioning Southern Tier's fantastic Unearthly IPA. It and the Maharaja are the best imperial IPAs I've ever had in Kansas City.

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  2. I enjoyed the Maharaja last summer when I visited Avery. I didn't like it quite as much from the bottle but it was still pretty good. My favorite has to be Great Divide's 15th Anniversary Oak Aged Double IPA. Amazing flavor in that beer. I look forward to trying the hopslam eventually

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  3. I almost wrote this exact same post; I'm glad I saw this first lest I be accused of plagiarism.

    Hopslam is good. But it's just a beer. It's not as good as Hercules (Great Divide) and isn't worth driving all over town for.

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  4. I knew I should have looked through old posts when coming up with this list. I would have had Hercules on here and Moylan's Hopsickle. Though, to be truthful, I don't remember the Moylan's at all.

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  5. I definitely second the Little Sumpin' Extra Ale from Lagunitas. Absolutely fantastic and I wish it was available more regularly, I've only seen it once at the Martin City Lukas and felt lucky to find it then. The Moylan's Hopsickle is great as well but I don't buy it often.

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  6. Hopslam was amazing. Little Sumpin' Extra is awesome but the hopslam cask can't be beat.

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  7. "You'll know you're drinking hops, but it's unclear that you're drinking a double IPA because the sweetness normally associated with a double IPA isn't there."

    When I first moved out to KC in '07, I was amazed at how sweet IIPAs were out here; it was my first exposure to the midwest/east coast version of IIPAs, as all I was used to were OR/CA/WA/CO versions, which are far less sweet (which you know). Rogue, Lagunitas, Stone, Moylans, Deschutes, Elysian, Sierra Nevada, Russian River, 21st Amendment... all make hop-forward IIPAs that aren't sweet.

    Point is, sweetness isn't "normally" associated with a DIPA. It tends to increase as you go west to east and is completely a regional (not style) difference. Kind of interesting and a good guideline to follow. If the brewery's west of the plains, it's a safe bet to assume it won't be a sweet IIPA. Distribution in the KC area, though, would have you believe that most IIPAs are sweet, simply because that's mostly what we get.

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  8. Thanks Wort Hog, there's a reason you're the #1 beer blogger in town. Yours is the reason I will never try the Southern Tier Unearthly mentioned above. Everything Southern Tier (which comes from NY) is almost sickeningly sweet. Which isn't to say that they are bad, I really like a couple of their beers. But, the combination of a brewery that makes sweet beers with a style that lends itself to being super sweet and I'm just not going to give it a shot.

    Southern Tier is the brewery that gave rise to my theory of east coast sweet and west coast hoppy. I don't think it's any coincidence the 5 IIPA's I've mentioned in the post and comments are all CA or CO beers.

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  9. I just finished a couple pints of Dogfish Head's 90 Minute IPA here in CT, and was reminded what a terrific brew that is. I like the 60 Minute too, and neither are as distinctive as Hopslam to me, but that's not to say they aren't as good. Regrettably, they're unavailable in KC, though the website indicated you may be able to procure some Dogfish Head in Council Bluffs.

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