Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Beer >
May 16, 2013 11:41 PM

Have we overdosed on the Hops? Well, probably.

But, that may be a good thing, in time.

Related (please ignore the stupid, Slatey inflammatory headline):

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There is a time and a place for super hopped beer. There is also a time and a place for a malt forward beer.

    They are all good.

    1. It's interesting that until recently a preponderance of American drinkers, even those who bought craft, were put off by hops. My, how things change.

      We are seeing a lot more session beers, and even though the emphasis there is on alcohol content, hop levels naturally decrease as well.

      1. I've been saying for years that some won't be satisfied until every beer is an IPA. What's an "American" brown ale? A hoppier version of an English brown ale. What's an American Barleywine? A hoppier version of an English Barleywine. What's an American Stout? Etc, etc. Then we got into black IPAs and then white IPAs.
        American craft drinkers will drink any style as long as its IPA.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chinon00

          Sad yet true. However, many Cali wines are now going naked, unoaked so hopefully the tripe imperial mega mega will fade away along w/the mass market dry ice light cold can.

          1. re: Chinon00

            Americans do tend to supersize and overdo pretty much everything they lay their hands on.

            It's so funny.
            In my college years (1970-1975...there was 1 year where I must of had so much fun I don't even remember it) ...I took a LOT of ribbing because I liked IPA (7.5 abv and 70 IBUs. LOL) and never drank "normal "beer" unless there was nothing else available. I'd bring a sixer of IPA (or failing that, Bock beer) to parties so there was always beer for me to one ever dipped into my stash because many were afraid of it and those who deigned to taste it couldn't stand it. LOL. More for me, guaranteed.

            Now IPA has become so mainstream. And happily, there' s a precious few commercial IPAs that are worthwhile and enjoyable when I'm out eating or at a gin mill with friends. Most of them however are rather shitty, cranked out quickly and served without the traditional aging. The brewpub versions are always by far the worst.

            To be fair though, a lot of folks _do_enjoy them in all their harsh, too young, grassy, unbalanced splendor. Whatever floats 'yer boat I guess...

          2. I find the vast majority of hoppy beers that I've tried far too harsh for my palate. Off the top of my head, the only one that I have found memorable was Pliney the Elder - incredible nose - still bitter but tolerable given the complexity of flavors and aromas. This does me little good since it's so limited in availability. What would be a list of "worthy" beers that do justice to the hops-component?

            14 Replies
            1. re: bulavinaka

              One of my favorite IPAs is Bells Two Hearted

              1. re: bulavinaka

                Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City is pretty good also.

                It's so good that there's a bit of a shortage.


                  1. re: jpc8015

                    I'll second that suggestion. Very good stuff!

                  2. re: bulavinaka

                    It might be helpful to know where you live, so we could point at local offerings. Would LA be a correct guess?

                    1. re: RB Hound

                      LA is correct - thanks in advance...

                    2. re: bulavinaka

                      I find it surprising that Pliny is the one hoppy beer a non-hop-inclined imbiber would gravitate to; I don't find it complex at all (that's not to say I don't enjoy a pint now and again). Much of its hoppy flavors stem from the use of hop extract. If you like that, you'll like Lagunitas Hop Stoopid- they are very similar. Though Lagunitas hasn't come out and said they use extract as RR has, I'm certain they do.

                      My "A" list, in no particular order:

                      Firestone Walker Union Jack and Double Jack
                      Port Mongo
                      Green Flash West Coast
                      Bear Republic Racer X and Cafe Racer 15
                      Highwater Retribution
                      Drake's Hopocalypse

                      1. re: Pius Avocado III

                        The vast majority of hoppy beers I've tried are upfront bitter with little else to offer. I found Pliney to have lots of perfume and flavor - various tropical fruits and pine. I think it's pretty complex, and that complexity seems to distract me from the bitter component. I don't mind bitter - just don't like to get slapped in the face and kicked in the back of the neck by it.

                        Of the ones you list, I did like Bear Republic on tap, but found bottled to be lacking. Thanks for mentioning Lagunitas Hop Stoopid - I'll give that a whirl next time.

                        1. re: Pius Avocado III

                          Love Green Flash West Coast on tap but, was disappointed with it in a bottle. +1 for Racer X as well.

                          1. re: Pius Avocado III

                            I enjoy it now and then, but I don't know if I can think of a more hop-forward beer (in both nose and taste) than Green Flash West Coast IPA....Have only had it on draft.

                            1. re: Pius Avocado III

                              Small correction re: Pliny, the hop extract is only used for the bittering hops added during the boil to avoid vegetal flavors that can come from using whole hops. The later hop additions (which provide the aroma and flavor) use pelletized hops.

                              1. re: Josh

                                And it is a great beer. I have only been able to find it once at an obscure market in Portland, OR. I have never seen it again.

                                1. re: Josh

                                  and whats great is that Vinnie doesnt try to hide this fact at all despite the clucking by the nouveau hop heads who worship this brewery and this beer but equate hop extracts with bad beer and brewing short cuts that a true craft brewery would NEVER do. They get all flustered when you tell them its made with hop extract. The same way they do when you tell them Westy 12 is made with "adjuncts"...

                            2. Plenty of entry level type cream ales, blonde ales, porters, ambers, belgian sytels etc for craft beer noobs to cut their teeth on. Is craft beer any hoppier these days than it used to be in the late 90's? Some ipa's maybe - but at the same time there is a much wider diversity of styles too. Some people just don't get hoppy/bitter beer, so what, then those beers aren't meant for them, take a few moments out of your life to educate yourself on what YOU like and stop following others because THEY think its good.

                              Its lazy writing to take one/few data pts. where you have a bad experience with something you or others don't like, and just say all of craft beer is too hoppy.It was also a missed opportunity to educate the author's audience on what craft beers are alternatives to hoppy beer and now being regurgitated by the everyday press. Thanks.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: LStaff

                                I'm not sure that this is about lazy writing, especially on this board. It's just that there's an imperial version of every style these days and the imperial always seems to imply more hops, more hops., and ...more hops. Hell, some the west coast brews actually say they're gonna wreck your palette. I think it's a valid point of discussion. L Staff, you're right that the style variations are greater then before., sour beers.....

                                1. re: MOREKASHA

                                  Imperial styles typically do not just include more hops, they include more of everything.

                                  1. re: MOREKASHA

                                    There's one beer named Palate Wrecker, from Green Flash, and it was deliberately brewed to be excessively hoppy.

                                    1. re: Josh

                                      There are of course beers designed to be overly hoppy. THere are also beers designed to be overly malty. I had an English mild where the IBUs were somewhere around 5. It was really bad.