Ode To A Double IPA

Bev Blackwood - head for Texas and check this out!

My usual beer of style of choice is Imperial Stout, with North Coast’s Old Rasputin being my absolute favorite.(So much so I have a dog named after it!) However, being a Foam Ranger, hops are a requirement in my daily diet, so I was delighted to see the arrival of a local favorite at my store the other day, Hop Delusion Double IPA from Karbach Brewing Company (in cans no less!)You may have heard of Karbach before, as they topped a list of breweries experiencing rapid growth last year and their growth rate was over 1000%.That statistic was in part a testament to their huge success, but was also a statistical anomaly.Their prior year production figures were only for a partial year, making their annual growth appear unusually large.Statistics aside, Karbach’s rapid rise is anything but an anomaly.Brewmaster Eric Warner knows his beer and knows what people like.Eric’s resume starts with learning to brew in Germany, writing the homebrewer’s textbook on German wheat beer and Kölsch, and brewing at such nationally known breweries as Wynkoop and Flying Dog.He has brought a sense of irreverence and fun to our local brewing scene along with great beers like Sympathy For the Lager, a Vienna-style lager, Wiesse-Versa, a merging of German and Belgian brewing traditions, and the hilariously named Yule Shoot Your Eye Out, Karbach’s Christmas seasonal

Hop Delusion is a beautifully balanced Double IPA, which I prefer to Karbach’s year-round double IPA, Rodeo Clown.Both are very tasty, I just like the combination of Magnum, Amarillo, Mosaic and Simcoe that give this Hop Delusion its rich fruity aromas and strong hop bite.Indeed, when it comes to hops, balance is where the real artistry comes into play.Too often I’ve had homebrews that are all bittering hops or all flavor hops without the necessary malt sweetness to tie it all together into a rich, satisfying beer.Brewers can get there a couple of ways; adding specialty malts to the mash or by mashing a bit warmer to produce the long chain dextrins that add to sweetness and mouthfeel.One of my brewing heroes, John Maier of Rogue Brewing, said their philosophy was to add a lot of specialty malt so they could “throw more hops in it.” That nod to balancing bitter to sweet elements has stuck with me ever since, both as a brewer and a consumer of craft beer.Karbach Brewing has recently expanded and opened a new taproom.I haven’t had a chance to get over there yet, but will be visiting soon.It’s exciting to be in the midst of the craft beer boom and to have new beers as well as old favorites popping up on my local shelves and taps every week.

The author

Bev Blackwood II is the Southwest Brewing News Contributing Editor for Texas and has been covering Texas beers for 17 years An award winning home brewer, Bev has also brewed professionally at St. Arnold Brewing Company and was part of the team that brought home Saint Arnold’s first Great American Beer Festival gold medal in 2007. A long time member of Houston’s premiere homebrew club, the Foam Rangers, Bev teaches their Beer Judge Certification Program course and has also taught at Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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