Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Couple of Double IPAs to Choke Down this Weekend in Oshkosh

Here’s a duo of blistering ales that’ll send a thrill through the bitter hearts of the lupulin freaks among you. If you’re not keen on scouring your palate with the juice of the hop, look away... look away. Both these devils are now available in the packaged beer section at Gardina’s.

In their native element.
DirtWolf Double IPA
Pretty name for a beer, no? Makes sense: Humulus lupulus is the binomial name for hops, with humus being the Latin word for soil and lupus translating to wolf. Anyway, me thinks it’s a good handle for an aggressive beer such as this one. DirtWolf is brewed by Victory Brewing of Downingtown, PA. It replaces the fondly recalled Hop Wallop in their line-up. Basically they’ve undergone an update, dialing down the maltier aspect of Hop Wallop to shed more light on the juicy, dank profile of the hops in DirtWolf. The beer pours to a light-tangerine color with a soapy head that’s surprisingly meek. Pine resin, lemon rind and grapefruit hold sway in the nose. As the beer warms the aroma grows decidedly catty. Hey, some people like that. This is an exceedingly flavorful beer with bursts of grapefruit rind and tropical fruit that mask the malt and goes to bitter in a blink. At 8.7% ABV it’s big in every way. Go to it, you freaks. Gardina’s sells this in 4-packs $9.99

Illumination Double IPA
Here’s an especially stinky thing from our friends at Central Waters of lovely Amherst, WI. This one is also well named. After a bottle or two of this you’re going to feel rather illuminated (as in lit up; it’s 9% ABV). This seasonal beer is well known around here and this year’s vintage will surely please its fans. This beer is even wolfier than DirtWolf with everything about it seeming to be a bit more. It’s a shade or two darker than DirtWolf pouring to a handsome gold under a slender cap of white foam. The aroma is a treat. Again with the pine, but with some pineapple and a sweet underpinning of candied fruit. This beer also starts throwing up cat box as it warms. Everything but the urine carries over into the flavor and then gets beaten to a pulp by the beer’s incredibly aggressive bitterness. Damn! But there’s a creaminess, almost silkiness, to the beer that works well with its sharp, bitter quality. Nice trick, there. You don’t need me to convince you. If this is your poison, you already know that you’re going to be drinking this soon. Gardina’s is the only place I’ve seen it in town, so far. It’s selling there in the packaged beer section where you can pick up a sixer for $13.99.

One More Thing
These beers are, of course, attention parasites. If their alcohol content doesn’t do you in, they’ll reward your stamina by destroying any beer you attempt to drink in their wake... their bitterness lingers in your mouth long after the cup has been drained. So the thing to do is to make a full experience of it. Pair these with a food that can hold its own against their bullying. I’d suggest you go with a malodorous cheese, such as aged brick, aged blue or, if you dare, limburger. These all pair incredibly well with big IPAs. Or is that just too much? One thing that surprises me is how often I encounter hop heads who shy away from foods with flavors that are as unique and pronounced as those in the beers they love. Maybe when they come around with a 9% limburger cheese...

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