Thursday, April 25, 2013
Oshkosh Beer Sampler 020: Rampant Imperial IPA, The Beer Snob’s Malt Liquor
A slanted and endless survey of what’s pouring in Oshkosh, tallied one beer at a time.
What: Rampant Imperial IPA; 8.5% ABV; 85 IBUs.
Where: Gardina’s and Festival Food are selling Rampant in 22 oz. bombers.
Why: Because, apparently, this is what the kids want. New Belgium was a brewery that once prided itself on brewing beers that were inspired by the traditional ales of Belgium. So much for that. Rampant is a big, dumb hop bomb that has about as much to do with Belgian-style beer as a 40 of Colt 45 Malt Liquor does. Not that it’s a bad beer (Rampant, that is). In fact, it’s very good. The hop flavor – and that’s essentially all the beer consists of – is terrific with a tropical fruit aspect that’s very appealing. I recently had a homebrew made with Mosaic hops that had a very similar quality. That succulent fruitiness is rounded out with sharp, citrus notes that finally give way to a hammer blow of bitterness that sticks with you for a good long while. And it conveys all this hop flavor without becoming syrupy, something that tends to mar a lot of IPAs. Bottom line, if you love big, hoppy beers, you’ll probably enjoy this quite a bit. You’ll like the price, too. Right now we’re only getting bombers of this in Oshkosh, but I’ve seen them going for just $4.99. Six-packs will follow soon and will, most likely, be priced like any other New Belgium sixer. For a beer this big, that’s incredible. If these prices hold, Rampant is destined to become craft beer’s version of Olde English 800. They ought to skip the six packs and go straight to selling it in Forties.
About The Picture: This whole thing may have just been a long-winded excuse for me to post a shot of my hop shoots. Look closely at that shot (click it to enlarge it) and you’ll see a bunch of reddish tendrils creeping up out of the earth. A few months from now, those babies will be 18 feet high and dripping with juicy hop cones big as your thumb. This year, I’m growing Hallertau, Tettnang, Fuggles, Cascade, Nugget and Goldings. I have a feeling we’re going to have a nice crop.