My current home, California, is known for its hoppy beers. Some of the best IPAs in the world come from here in the Golden State, so needless to say I’m often spoiled when it comes to availability and selection of those award-winning lupulin treats. However, every once in a while a beer comes out of the Midwest that gets the hopheads talking. This is one such example.
No other ingredient stirs the passion of a Master Brewer like the hop. Inspired by this legendary flower we challenged ourselves to create a world class IPA. Head Hunter is an aggressively dry-hopped, West Coast-Style IPA with a huge hop display of pine, grapefruit, citrus and pineapple. A punch-you-in-the-mouth brew for those who truly love their hops! Uncivilized? Yes. Aggressive? Absolutely. Award Winning? Hell yes!
Even without the proper glassware it was still obvious to me how delightful looking this beer was. It poured a golden yellow/copper color with a half inch of filmy white foam. Streaks of bubbles raced up the side of the glass, with the lacing hanging off in ropes of foam.
Right out of the gate it is obvious that Head Hunter is jam packed full of hops. The nose is full of pine, citrus, and tangerine notes that figuratively scream West Coast IPA. Hints of cedar and bready malts add a little complexity, but are often overshadowed by an off acetone-like smell that is more present once the beer warms.
The taste begins with a spicy blend of piney hops and cedar notes. Cracker malts and a citrusy amalgamation of orange and tangerine pops up in the middle to shift the flavor profile a bit. It finishes with notes of peach and grapefruit that skews the balance meter deep into the hoppy side of the scale. Sadly not quite as tasty or balanced as the nose.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but rather viscous. The heavy amount of hops give it a dryness that evaporates the beer and leaves some clingers behind. Very much in line with the West Coast IPA style.
Head Hunter is on point when it comes to its representation of the West Coast IPA style, especially considering it’s from a brewery located in my home state of Ohio. However, there are a lot of killer beers in this style and I don’t think Head Hunter was quite able to surpass some of those heavy hitters. I quite enjoyed this beer and will definitely revisit it on future Midwest excursions, but when compared to the best of the best it falls just a head or two short.
Overall: 8 out of 10
As an INDIA PALE ALE: 7.5 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: Green Flash WEST COAST IPA, Stone RUINATION, Firestone Walker UNION JACK IPA