Weekly Beer Review: New Holland Brewing’s Hoptronix

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Hoptronix Double IPA
New Holland Brewing
$3.19/Bottle (12 oz)
Grade: C-

The Beginning:
We live in a time when everything is accessible – a world marketplace means there’s often little joy to be had in finding something exclusive or unavailable to the general public unless you’re willing to pay dearly. Some people, then, cultivate a taste for things that are readily available but not POPULAR- thus they get to feel exclusive. Exceedingly hoppy IPAs are one thing I ascribe to this instinct, since the hophead can say “oh this? You probably wouldn’t like it much.” An obsession with all things retro goes with this mindset – and so we have Hoptronix, the Double IPA with a Space Invaders spoof for a label. And if I sound like I’m making fun of it I am… but dammit, I love Space Invaders! They got me!

The Brewer’s Pitch:
Hoptronix uses mosaic hops to provide a dank, musty aroma that brings on a hefty bitter flavor. It ranks at 70 IBUs, well near the top end of the scale, and just hitting the realm (70-100 IBU) where anecdotal evidence suggests the human tongue stops being able to even detect increases in bitterness. For all the sticky, musky body the finish is still smooth and crisply refreshing. This is a drinking beer, not a heavy sipping beer, and goes well with other aggressive and semi-hostile flavors like stinky cheese.

The Beer:
Hoptronix is hazy copper with a bright white head. Sweetly sticky hops aroma is extra strong on the nose, as would be expected from a double IPA. The beer is light but has a very smooth mouth fee, and while it has some thickness and body it’s not sticky or heavy. The hops absolutely dominate the beer especially up front. It’s a very woodsy, earthy hop profile – lots of pine sap and resin (as opposed to the more floral or peppery hop strains). As the beer develops and your tongue gets used to the hops a slightly sweet flavor slowly develops at the very pack of the tongue. Some of it is the malt making its faint appearance, complimented by sweeter aspects of the sticky sappy hops that dominate the nose. The finish is spicy and peppery with big bitter echoes that diffuse through the whole mouth.

The Breakdown:
If you like hops, you will find this an adequate hop-delivery system for sure. I can’t say how a true hophead would rate it alongside its brethren since I’m no connoisseur of IPAs. As someone who is NOT a huge fan of hoppy beers, though, I can say that this one presents the taste quite well. The full body gives the hops a platform so their strong taste is well-supported, rather than being watery-bitter and just burning the palate out. I can see it being quite good ice-cold straight after some hard hot-weather exertion, especially if you follow it up with something a bit gentler to keep the palate clean.

The Bottom Line:
Do you have ANY idea how hard it was to write the entire intro about people deliberately cultivating a taste for unpopular things, without mentioning “hipsters?”