Starr Hill’s Four Kings variety pack is back for another run. The pack takes a very good beer — their King of Hop Imperial IPA — and gives it three different flavor variants. The variants and original are then packed in a case for your hoppy enjoyment.
Last year, Chelsie and I reviewed the 2016 variety pack. This year, Starr Hill was once again kind enough to send me a sample of each king: the original, orange, mango habanero, and coffee. Read on for a quick review of each!
Original: King of Hop is an excellent, juicy IPA. It’s so juicy, I almost couldn’t taste the difference between the original and last year’s lemon lime variant. This year, my King of Hop seemed more muted. It was sweet — almost too sweet — and didn’t have the bitter bite I love. Still good, but I hope next year’s batch will be a little zestier. 3.5/5
Orange: it seems that all the zest of the original King ended up here. This variant smells and tastes like orange zest, and not juicy or sweet at all. This is a good thing. Orange zest has such a clean taste, one that goes really well with the hoppier flavors of an IPA. The hops are the star here, with the orange serving as an accent. A great treat. 4/5
Coffee: I’m a fan of coffee IPAs. The roasty notes of the coffee beans go surprisingly well with the hoppy bitterness of an IPA. I was excited to try this one. It was good, but I think it needs another go-around to be truly great, as I think the balance between the two flavors was off-kilter. The coffee overwhelmed this poor king, and I barely got the hop bite that King of Hop is known for. 3/5
Mango Habanero: this was my favorite in the pack. Mango is the prominent flavor, and unlike many mango IPAs, it doesn’t taste fake. It has a pleasant scent and even better taste. The habanero seems muted at first, but sneaks up on you as you sip, providing a pleasant burn to offset the juicy sweetness of the fruit. The hops also balance both the heat and the fruit, making for a great trifecta of flavors. 4.25/5