Not My Kind of IPA


Everyone knows I’m an unabashed HopHead. If you’re a brewer that produces a beer with “IPA” written anywhere on the label, I will drink it. Sometimes I feel cursed to love hops so much because they arguably have the greatest impact on the taste buds. If you’re not careful, you can quickly lose your ability to appreciate styles with more subtle flavors. This is a theme I’m going to mention a lot on this site. If you don’t like it, send me loads of free hoppy beer and I’ll stop.

Anyhow, I was walking through my favorite beer store last week and stumbled across this beer. I’d never heard of Three Heads Brewing before, but I was intrigued by the illustration on the label and the description on the side:

Voraciously hoppy and not overly bitter. The Kind brings enormous aroma and maximum flavor. It’s like taking a walk through a pine forest and ending up at a citrus farm. This beer brings joy to the world, one sip at a time.

I also noticed a relatively low ABV for a big bottle. Alrighty then! Sold. Sounds like a perfect beer to enjoy Game 2 of the World Series with. 

Let’s review based on the label description:

  • “Voraciously hoppy”: not sure I would have gone with voracious, but it is hoppy.
  • “Not overly bitter”: it’s definitely got a bitter finish, but not overwhelming. And I kind of like bitter anyway.
  • “Enormous aroma and maximum flavor”: The aroma was less than enormous, and I think the bitterness overwhelms the flavor.
  • “Pine forest –> citrus farm”: I agree so long as the “pine forest” was last year’s Christmas tree and the citrus farm was the world’s largest grapefruit. 
  • “This beer brings joy to the world”: I’ll give them this one because I’m always happier when I’m drinking a craft beer.

The primary gripe I have with this beer is the lack of carbonation. It seems like it would be a better beer if those bubbles were there to make it dance around on my tongue a little bit more before the bitter impact hits. This has been a fine beer for the game, but I don’t think I’d rush out to buy it again.

Taste: C+ Citrus hops are delicious, but this grapefruit is overwhelming my taste buds.

Drinkability: B. Could be higher based on the fairly low alcohol %. I’m grading this lower because of the carbonation issue and the bitterness.

Vitals: 22oz, ~42F in my trusty Dartmouth pint glass. 6.8% ABV, 76 IBUs.


5 comments on “Not My Kind of IPA

  1. I totally would have been seduced by that label too Chad. It reminds me a LOT of the label for Blue Hills (was it Black Ops) that Derek review a while back. Very slick, nice graphic, but average beer. Sorry to hear it wasn’t a new favorite, but appreciate you taking one for the team.

  2. I wonder how fresh it was… I’ve found that beers tend to lose flavor and aroma over time, but keep the bitterness when they age. That and the flatness makes me think it was an older bottle, but what do I know.AO

  3. <html><head></head><body bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><div>I’ve also seen beers go the opposite direction and become over carbonated when they go bad as well. Most brewers still don’t do the "best before" on their labels. It would be interesting to know which ones should be enjoyed as close to bottling date as possible and which can be laid down for awhile. ABV isn’t really an accurate predictor.&nbsp;<br><br></div></body></html>

  4. I just checked the label and it didn’t have any sort of dating or "enjoy by" advisory on it. The only thing that makes me think it was relatively fresh was that Julio’s just started carrying it a couple of weeks ago. I think this beer has potential with some subtle tweaks. It says something to me that while it wasn’t my favorite, I did drink the entire bottle. There have been other IPA’s I’ve opened that have gone straight down my kitchen drain after only a couple of sips. Ahh well, it was still nice to try a brand new IPA!

  5. I tried this beer back in June or July and remember having the same reaction you did Chad. It didn’t smell very good and lacked a lot of the normal hop characteristics I look for in the style. Looks like I gave it a C-.

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