It is important (in my opinion which we all know to be infallible) for successful companies to respect and even honor those within their own ranks as well as those they work with externally to make whatever products or services or goods they produce available at all. Though this is true in most any industry, it’s both exceptionally true and equally prevalent in the beer world. This is by the effective dedication of this beer by Victory brewing, to the hop ranchers and farmers who’ve made this Imperial IPA possible. After all, though the bines grow like weeds (which they are effectively) they do no good to anyone just sitting there awaiting a flock of birds or some other form of possibly migratory mammals who may for whatever reason feel like chowing down on some hop cones.
So before us we have the Victory Hop Ranch Imperial IPA. A lovely, yellow bodied, hop forward blast of brewing brilliance, the 9% ABV beer is such that even in 12 oz. 4-packs one is sure to find their night well served and altogether well settled after the handfuls of sincere gobs that they’re sure to consume such within however long it takes them to finish. We’ll run down the specifics of this beast in the normal fashion now, beginning as always with the pour and presentation.
Pouring easily into the glass, the beer presents us with a yellow and mostly transparent, yet also slightly hazy color and appearance that is the sort of standard for IPAs that we can all admit we’ve come to expect. Smelling of a rather citrusy hop profile overall, it possesses a nose that to my mind is largely dominated by the citra and mosaic hops used in its creation, with the Chinook and Azacca stepping in almost as backup vocalists in what might be called a hop cone 80s style super group. Brewed with pilsner malt and oats, these flavors of these hops are well supported by a somewhat grainy and somewhat tangy total flavor profile.
Opening with the somewhat resinous aspects of the hops, a yeasty, zesty sort of middle then allows for a lovely transition then into another round of tangy, almost piney nature that at an (educated) guess I would chalk up to the Mosaic. As an “Imperial” IPA (meaning again for those who may have forgotten that it is over 8% ABV), it is surprisingly clean when it comes to the alcohol itself, coming across as markedly less boozy than I had initially anticipated while still possessing enough punch to let you know what you’re getting into. Altogether this is another instance in which I cannot help but feel that the word “balance” is the most apt and appropriate term to apply here.
Being a big seller as it has been in the shop, the Hop Ranch is a winter seasonal release available in both bottles and on draft where available. Not likely to last too long on shelves, it is a beer I can confidently recommend to most any hop head or IPA enthusiast, but one I do so with along with a slight implied sense of urgency, as once they’re gone, they’re gone for the year. So relax and enjoy them while you can.
This being the case, it is to Victory Brewing, to their diligent hop ranchers and of course to you that I say as always…
While the brewery may have provided the product mentioned above for free, I was not required to write a positive review, I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the honest opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nicholas Goroff is an actor, writer and craft beer reviewer at EveryJoe.com. Certified as a Cicerone beer server, he is working towards obtaining certification as a beer judge while employed at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett, NH. When not reviewing beer, wine and spirits, he is typically writing political essays, screenplays and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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