The best thing about returning from Mexico is access to the unbelievably large selection of the best beers in the world. While I applaud Mexico for taking its slow but tenacious initial steps towards breaking out of the dualistic stranglehold that is Modelo and Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma breweries, they have a very long way to go compared to the available beers here in California. My head spins as I walk the isles of Whole foods or BevMo, overwhelmed with the plethora of stellar beers found locally and imported from around the world. I'm like a man dying of thirst when I return from San Miguel and realize how limited I've been for the past few months.
The first thing I reach for on the shelves of my local beer store is a double India pale ale. My desire for hops is a need that must be satisfied to fill the bitter (pun intended) void left by most of the Mexican beers I've been drinking. What caught my eye was Knee Deep's Hoptologist DIPA and although I'd never heard of it before, I took the chance that it was good based on the odd label image and the somewhat disturbing choice of a name for a DIPA.
As it turns out, this beer was delicious in all of the ways I like this style. The aroma was evident in the form of pine resin with some subtle fruitiness. Huge hop presence in the form of tasty grapefruit, tangerine and pine. Bitter sweet with caramel malts that tried their best to stand up to the crazy amount of hop flavor. Beautiful light copper color with a brilliant clarity. Knee Deep Brewing is out of Lincoln, California and began brewing in March of 2011. They are planning to eventually brew in Reno, Nevada at least they projected to move there by the end of 2011.
After searching around on the Knee Deep web site I found that this beer took first place in the double IPA competition during the S.F. beer week and held at The Bistro in Hayward, Ca.. Interestingly, followed by Pliney the Elder in second place. I have to admit that I've got a lot of respect and admiration for Pliney but I'm having to agree with the judges in this case and Hoptologist may be replacing Pliney as my 'go to' IIPA.
As a side note, I've got another beer tasting class scheduled for the end of April and am racking my brain to come up with a unique and hard to find selection of beers from the classic styles. I know that one for my list will be Knee Deep's Hoptologist. Cheers!