Spring has sprung and so have the uber hopped up brews that make me so very, very happy. And, with that new varieties are popping up built off of solid base beers. Starr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, VA) has created a NEW 12 pack case built on their King of Hop double india pale ale (IPA). It includes the original King of Hops, Grapefruit, Lemon-Lime and Habanero. In stores starting April 1, 2016.
I thought it would be fun to take the case of hoppy goodness to our Harrisburg Beer Week 2016 planning meetings and do a little 30 second review of each brew with Tierney, Sara Bozich and Jimi the Intern. Sonora in Virginia was also taking part in our tasting. It went something like this…
Original King of Hop
Sonora: This was my first sip in over a year, and it was so fruity, I had to double-check to make sure I didn’t grab a Lemon-Lime by mistake! The original King, though, stands apart from it’s lemon lime brethren with a mellower balance of citrus and sweet. You also get a bit of pine on the aftertaste. It’s very smooth and refreshing. 4/5 in Untappd
Chelsie: Mmm! It reminds me a lot of Bell’s Hopslam (a fav of mine) but not quite as sweet. More sugar cane than syrupy… which is a good thing. Tropical nose. Tropical first sip that finishes with hints of pine. 4/5 in Untappd
Tierney: It’s a little too easy to drink for an Imperial. It has a bitter finish but not so bitter that I wouldn’t drink it. My review is, I like it! 4/5 in Untappd
Sara: Definitely too easy to drink for an Imperial! I remember the first time I had this. I remember what I was drinking and where I was at. So good. 4/5 in Untappd
Jimi: Easy drinking. I couldn’t believe it was 7.5% ABVs. Nice dry finish.
Grapefruit King of Hop
Sonora: This was the variant that seemed to deliver most on the flavor that was promised. You are immediately hit with grapefruit on both the nose and the tongue. I get more juice than zest on this one, though the peel and pith are definitely there – it is very much like drinking a boozy slice of grapefruit! The hops leave a nice finish on the end, balancing the juicy, tarty flavors of the fruit. There is less vanilla and pine on this one, with the tartness taking over the sweet; but not in a pucker-up way. 4/5 in Untappd
Chelsie: I super love the grapefruit! It tastes like real fruit not like a faux extract like some beers that claim to be grapefruit IPAs do. And, the tropical fruit is very prominent. This beers delivers! 4.25/5 in Untappd
Sara: Oh, wow! Nice grapefruit notes. 4.25/5 in Untappd
Tierney: 3.75/5 in Untappd
Lemon-Lime King of Hop
Sonora: There is quite a bit of lime zest on the nose. The flavor matched the scent, being very much reminiscent of lemon and lime peel as opposed to juice. The lemon and lime add a hint of tartness to the beer, complementing the already-present citrus flavors while providing an extra bit of zip. I also got a hint of vanilla on the back-end. It’s not overly sour at all – though I personally wouldn’t have minded a bit more of that. 3.25/5 in Untappd
Chelsie: Super big lemon flavor. Tart citrus the whole way through. It’s good. But I prefer the grapefruit over this one. 3.75/5 in Untappd
Tierney: Ohhh! Lovely. I want it to be my full-on boyfriend. (laughs) 4.25/5 in Untappd
Sara: I like it. But grapefruit so far is my favorite… until I try the habanero next up! 3.75/5 in Untappd
Jimi: This is really good. It tastes like hop candy. Sweetness balanced with a lemon hop flavor. Really good.
Habanero King of Hop
Sonora: A peppery scent is the first thing to greet you. After that? Hops, sweetness … and not much heat. You do get a bit of heat as it settles in your throat, but overall, this isn’t very spicy at all. That said, the addition of pepper serves to somewhat mute the citrus flavor I got from the other variants. You still get the hop bitterness and a dash of sweetness. This is a fine ale, but probably won’t wow anyone looking to feel the burn. 3.5/5 in Untappd
Chelsie: It has a nice warming feel on the back of your throat. Definitely some heat that’s balanced nicely with the sweet hop notes. Hotter than some beers I’ve tried lately that claim it has habanero in it. 4.5/5 in Untappd
Sara: (the Queen of Eating/Drinking the most vicious “hot stuff.”) I like it! I feel a tingle of heat all over – mouth, throat, stomach. It’s very good. 4.25/5 in Untappd
Jimi: I just ate a bunch of hot sauce on my pizza. So my first sip wasn’t hot but it’s building now that it’s warming up to room temperature and I keep drinking it.
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