The Hop Concept Dank & Sticky IPA
  • The Hop Concept Dank & Sticky IPA
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In December, Port Brewing Company/The Lost Abbey announced the coming of a third brand called The Hop Concept. This seemed an odd route to go for a house already divided, but this is craft beer. Nothing’s off limits. That sentiment certainly holds true for the reimagining of the West Coast India pale ale (IPA). Easily the most popular beer style in all of San Diego County, its makeovers have been many. Birthing new editions of West Coast IPAs and breaking them into digestible sensory experiences is the aim of The Hop Concept’s Hop Freshener Series, which debuts this week in bottles and on draft with the release of its first seasonal entry, Dank & Sticky IPA.

Crafted to convey the adjectives comprising its name, the beer is hopped with tons of Cs — Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Comet, and CTZ (a Columbus, Topaz, Zeus hybrid)—as well as Amarillo, Mosaic, Simcoe, and the super sexy-sounding Experimental 05256. Those last ones have made a splash and are said to bring on notes of pine, mint and stone fruit. All of that are apparent, along with the herbaceous little sumpin’ that earns the beer its “dank” descriptor. Melon is also pronounced at first sip, as is a sharp, almost peppery spike giving way to a resiny finish that goes for miles. As the beer warms up, a caramel sweetness plus notes of peaches and persimmons join the party.

If this sounds like a multilayered beer, that’s because it is. Yet, even with so much going on, the flavors meld together to physically tell the tale of what it means for an IPA to be dank and sticky. It’s an ambitious undertaking that most would have trouble bringing to successful fruition (especially at this beer’s 8.5% alcohol-by-volume, which can add muddying booziness to some IPAs, but doesn’t in this case), but these master crafters of hoppy stock are off to a great start.

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blackhook Feb. 15, 2015 @ 12:19 a.m.

Had a taste at The Dray in Seattle, very nice. But! ...even though I really love Port's hop experiments (Swami's, Wipeout, Mongo, High Tide Fresh Hop, the list goes on....), I wish they'd lower the ABV target of the new line—or maybe even craft a parallel line of session-able hoppy beers.

It seems with Hop Concept they're maybe targeting Green Flash, which brews exquisitely-hoppy beers in the 8.1% range (but for whatever un-fathomable reason, GF recently reconfigured their main hoppy beers with a significantly-higher ABV).

Recently, though, we've also seen a veritable tidal wave of wonderfully-hoppy beers roughly in the 4-6% ABV range. That is my new sweet spot, as an 8.5% beer is not ideal for a long hang with friends, or for watching a 3-hr game.

So.... to Port/Lost Abbey/Hop Concept: As a guy who really loves your beers, esp. your hoppy creations, please consider brewing a line of 5% hoppy beers ...I know you can do it, and here's why you should want to do it: Hop lovers like me will flock to it ...while watching a game I'd love to drink 3-4-5 beers & still be able to walk out under my own power ...and you can sell more of a lower ABV hoppy session IPA! Sounds like a classic win-win to me! ;)


blackhook Feb. 15, 2015 @ 12:57 a.m.

...and a few phenomenal examples of recent session-able hoppy beers [to the uninitiated: A bunch of West Coast brewers have figured out how to deliver awesome hop flavors & aromas w/ a bit less bitterness—so as to not require a high ABV to balance], just a suggestion from a beer lover who loves you guys, i have no doubt Port/Hop Concept could equal &/or surpass these fantastically-hoppy low ABV beers....

Crux Off Leash Session IPA (4.5%, Bend, OR); Green Flash Citra Session (4%); Bale Breaker Field 41 Pale Ale (4.5%; spectacular hop flavors; brewed in the middle of a 5th-generation family hop farm, Moxie, WA); Boneyard Bone Light & Bone-A-Fide Pale Ale (4% & 5.5%; Bend, OR; these guys brew as great an ABV range of hoppy beers as Port, from 4-12+%, and they know how to deliver hop flavor at all ABV ranges); Black Raven Nothing But Flowers Session IPA (4.9%, Redmond, WA); Firestone Walker Easy Jack (4.5%, imo easily their best beer; no need to drink their +3%> flagship IPA); Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA (6.2%; slightly out of the "session" range, but spectacular hop flavors nonetheless, and still pretty session-able).

So, I'm officially throwing down the gauntlet to Port/Hop Concept ...please consider doing this, no doubt you would be hugely successful in this new lower ABV hoppy realm... for sure it's a win-win all around ;)


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