Post Saint Patrick’s Day Beer Review: Green Flash’s Hop Head Red

Robert Pursell Contributor
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In addition to having quite possibly the best weather in the U.S., San Diego boasts one of the nation’s premier craft brewery scenes. So while beer lovers in Chicago, Boston and New York love to proclaim the merits of their city’s breweries (presumably in between sessions of snow shoveling), those from the city of Ron Burgundy laugh, with sun-kissed skin and smelling of hops, realizing their city more than holds its own.

Just looking at the lineup of breweries that have risen to national prominence out of the San Diego area over the past decade is awe-inspiring. Stone, Green Flash, Ballast Point. For those of use who’ve slogged through a miserable winter, realizing how many national acclaimed breweries are based out of sunny San Diego is like adding insult to injury.

Be that as it may, today, we here at The Daily Caller have decided to focus our attention on the second name on that list, the Green Flash Brewing Company and their Hop Head Red Ale.

Over the years, Green Flash has gained a reputation for making India Pale Ales that push hop notes far past where other breweries would stop. The general theory of, “that’s a great beer, now add more hops to it” seems to pervade most of their offerings, and the fact that they’ve been able to pull it all off without sacrificing taste for massive IBU levels, is a testament to their craft.

But despite Green Flash’s love for hoppiness, the first thing you notice with Hop Head is its heavy malt profile. Hop Head pours to a beautiful hazy shade of red belying the full-bodied, resinous caramel malt base, which can be smelled as soon as you open the beer.

The beer pours with a slightly underwhelming tan head, and while initially concerned this might be indicative of an overly weighty, sluggish beer, the body is probably best described as mellow. The malt overtures fade to very strong floral hop notes achieved through dry hopping with Amarillo hops and before fading to a balanced bitter, slightly smoky finish.

What’s perhaps most notable about this beer, is that despite packing a pretty diverse away of flavors, it finishes mostly clean, and isn’t too heavy. It’s a beer you could easily drink four or five of (if you can make it that long, the beer packs a 8.1 percent ABV) and, as noted by resident beer expert Christopher Bedford, it carries a slight taste of cereal in its body.

Translation: It’s a great beer to drink early and often as you attempt to recover from Saint Patrick’s Day, regardless of whether you decide to start that process after work, or first thing in the morning with the hair of the dog that bit you.

A four pack of Hop Head pints will run you about ten bucks, but it’s well worth the price.

So, as the Irish say, Sláinte. Hopefully your post Saint Patty’s Day hangover isn’t too harsh.