Reviewed: The Hop Concept Dank & Sticky
Product description: The inaugural beer of The Hop Concept brand, this IPA boasts aromas of citrus and dank, resinous pine. As the flavor opens, huge notes of stonefruit and dank resin give way to a malty backbone and drying hop bitterness on the finish. Hops: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Comet, CTZ, Eureka, Mosaic, Simcoe. 8.5% ABV.
The Hop Concept – The Hop Concept Hop Freshener Series Dank & Sticky IPA – 16oz can poured into specialty glassware – 8.5% ABV
Starting this month, The Hop Concept beers are now available in cans. The first to be released in the new 16oz can format is Dank & Sticky, which was released originally in late 2014 as The Hop Concept’s first beer. (For those unaware, The Hop Concept is a sub-brand of Port Brewing like The Lost Abbey.)
For this year, the hop blend looks slightly different subbing in CTZ for Columbus (practically identical as CTZ stands for Columbus, Tomahawk, and Zeus – a blend of high alpha acid hops). And those checking the hops listed on the can with online resources will also see Eureka listed, which was previously known as Exp. 05256. So for all intents and purposes, the beer hasn’t changed for this year.
I’m sampling this from a couple of 16oz cans, which sport an all-new design that looks great. It’s clean and sharp looking with better brand recognition and logos than Port Brewing’s cans in my opinion. Instead of “Hop Freshener” taking center stage in super large font, “Dank & Sticky” takes its place, which is a smart move to differentiate the beers in this series. Peek at the bottom of the can, and a freshest by date of 8/2/18 is printed clearly. So, I’m guessing this can was packaged on 4/2/18. That’s a pretty generous shelf life for a Double IPA. My preference would just be to put the canned-on date on the bottom. And like the other Hop Freshener beers, this is marketed as an IPA but easily qualifies for Double IPA.
Into the glass, D&S is clear, light amber/deep golden in color with larger, yellow foam that lasts for several minutes. The aroma begins with zesty citrus like key lime and grapefruit with touches of pine needles and tree sap. It’s a familiar IPA aroma but bright and flawless. Digging in, this beer is just perfect in everyway. The front of the palate is rich and creamy even while aggressive ruby red grapefruit-focused bitterness piles on in the mid-palate, which peaks at an 8 out 10 intensity. Huge resinous hops dominate here for pure hoppy bliss.
The body on this beer is huge, though, and easily stands up to the hop bomb challenge. Rather than being sweet and sticky, there’s a perfect “quenching malt” character that I find in the best IPAs where a blend of caramel, toffee, fresh bread crust, and cereal create this dense meal-in-a-glass type of mouthfeel. That density is nicely cut with sharp pine needles and grapefruit rind to create exceptional balance. There’s an excellent interplay of flavors that never overwhelms. If anything, each sip beckons for another.
The finish is then semi-dry with moderate lingering bitterness. Given the specs, this is a well-mannered beer that isn’t just for enthusiasts. The base maltiness is just exquisite and holds up to the mega dosing of eight hop varietals. You get the whole kitchen sink here, but the beer ends up tasting familiar and approachable. Even when drinking this, I don’t think of it as a Double IPA as white alcohol flavors are absent. Only once you are halfway through the glass does the ABV sneak up on you.
Though the experience is a familiar one, D&S gives you the best possible experience of classic West Coast IPA flavors. It really shines in the details. This is another slam dunk from The Hop Concept.
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