Rough Draught: A double IPA that doesn’t overwhelm, and the tragedy of frozen beer

Christopher Bedford Former Editor in Chief, The Daily Caller News Foundation
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Okay, so here’s the deal. We had two great beers ready to review for you. Why “had,” you ask? Because now we only have one. Don’t get up in our faces about it. (Because it’s still a really good beer).

So here’s how it all went down. Bedford took the long elevator ride downstairs to the package store and picked up a 4-pack of the River Horse Hop-A-Lot-Amus Unfiltered Double India Pale Ale (sounds good, right?) and an 18-oz. of the Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale (also a solid-looking choice). The latter was kept at room temperature, and at The Daily Caller, we don’t play, so smart Bedford threw that sucker in the back of the fridge under some ice and went back to working and watching TheDC’s Vince Coglianese’s dad guide Larry the Cable Guy around the inner sanctum of the Pentagon on the “History” Channel (In the war between aliens and Nazis that was the History Channel, how the hell did the South win? Did not expect that). Point is, we got distracted. Dumb. Did we drink the beer? Of course. Could we review it in good faith? You know we couldn’t, and it hurts us too.

But fear not! The Hop-A-Lot-Amus is more than enough to keep all of us busy this weekend!

River Horse Brewing Company’s Hop-A-Lot-Amus Unfiltered Double India Pale Ale

Being a couple of hop heads, we were pretty excited about this bad boy. And the gang at River Horse up in Lambertville, N.J., did not disappoint.

First: the pour. Amber brown with a thin white head. So far, so good. Now for the real thing.

See, we’re here for the full experience here at TheDC. Start to finish, we never pull out. While some of us sniff our beers only because we see others doing it, our well-intentioned effort to look like we are drinking for journalistic reasons was well-placed today. What we’re saying is that this has a nice nose: It’s sweet and floral at first hint, and brought us right back to backyard barbecues when you crack open a growler of that local IPA you can only get when you visit home. A second sniff brings out an undertone of cereal-like malts, too. Boom.

Now for the wet part. You’re going to like this. We’re talking a grassy sweet flavor with a beautifully light, spritzy bitter that doesn’t overpower, but, well, spritzes across the tongue at 93 IBUs per second. It’s balanced by the malt we smelled — a taste that lingers in the back of the mouth while the light bitter continues up in the front of the house. But still, this beer asserts itself. The brewers were right when they wrote, “The heavy hop character of this double IPA is a subtle as a ‘rive horse’ in your lap, but finishes like a hippo in a tutu.” But unlike some (most) double IPAs, Hop-A-Lot-Amus really doesn’t overwhelm.

Honestly, you can sip or crush this beer (we tried both with equal success), but you better have put the kids to bed first. What are they talking about, you ask? Only the good news, brother: This brew is 8.3 percent alcohol by volume (now we’re talkin’). By our likely-faulty calculations, that’s about two-and-a-half shots of whiskey per bottle (at least by the measurements the crooks behind the bar give us when we demand whiskey).

Hop-A-Lot-Amus is available in 4-packs, but can also be found on draught. We picked ours up for $9.99. Sounds expensive, but we say it’s worth it.

Tune in next Friday for the return of Hop Stoopid and another mystery guest!

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