Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Heelch O'Hops Double India Pale Ale

When I first spotted Anderson Valley Brewing Co.'s Heelch O'Hops Double India Pale Ale on the shelf at my closest liquor vendor, I almost overlooked it. It's label looks an awful lot like that of their Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, right down to the antlered bear sipping from freshwater, and I thought, "Oh yeah. That stuff was pretty decent. Not this time." However, closer inspection made me wise to the fact that Heelch was something completely different. A double I.P.A., it clocks in at a vigorous 8.7% alcohol, and comes in a 650mL bottle. Heelch is a native of Boonville, California, and murkily pours the colour of new penny, 'neath a cloudy off-white head.

With a juicy satsuma and Florida orange nose, I got a preview of a big and bitter ale that was enticing and a bit playful. The flavour follows that pattern, debuting with syrupy citrus before swinging 'round toward an able hoppy finish. According to the Anderson Valley website, Heelch contains a staggering 100 IBUs.

Too sweet by degrees to be an elite strong beer, Heelch O'Hops Double India Pale Ale merely manages to be a good one--and I was perfectly happy with that. I'd have struck a balance with a bit more in terms of IBU count and dryness, and a little less emphasis on juiciness, but there wasn't much else to complain about.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

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