New Belgium Hop Kitchen Botanical Imperial IPA

Another beer that was on tap at the local distributor. This is a beer that is not local, though. Instead, it's a brewer that I'm familiar with, and New Belgium has taken some significant steps toward going from the middle-low ratings to the better than average ones. Anything on tap and fresh has a better chance of getting a good rating, as it seems that beer is simply better like that (like this).

The beer is a delightful deep copper color that echos the color of the big, lovely vats that these beers are usually made in. The head survived the growler well, and it leaves a good cap of bubbles sitting on the top with very few points of nucleation inside the glass. The aroma is intoxicating hops. The hops seem like a good mix of mostly floral and slight citrus.

First sip is pretty freaking hoppy. The beer is leaning on the floral hops a lot more than I thought from the simple smell. This is not to say that the citrus isn't there - it is - and there is clearly some malt in there trying its best to tamp down the bitterness. For the most part, it's doing what it's there to do. A sip is good. A sip might be enough... for some people. But, I swig.

Tip-in is reasonable carbonation tingle with a floral front-load that can't be ignored. It's not subtle, but it doesn't have to be. The middle approaches with nettles dragging down the top of the mouth with spores of flowers dancing around the mouth as a result. There is an unexpected bread in the middle, and I like the combination quite a bit. The finish comes too soon with no giant bitter bite. Bitterness permeates the whole drink, so there isn't any kind of shock. There is an uptick in bitterness, though, but it is understated, if such a word can be used in a beer with hops so abundant.

Bottom Line: Hoppy beers are good. This beer blends hops with malt in a great example of the style.

4.5/5

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