Confusion in a Can
A Review of Hop Crisis? by 21st Amendment Brewing Co.
Posted on 7/26/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
                   
Dull
The search for better beer often has one go down some great paths. Then from time to time, you end up on a path that leaves you really wishing you could just go back and take a different turn. I think that I find myself on the path of wanting to turn around more so than most, due to a certain trait I have. Any time I see a beer that the brewers decided needs a description more than just the ''style'' of beer it is, I find myself wanting it. Call it a clever marketing ploy if you must, but it works on me. If I see a stout that has written below it ''A stout aged in bourbon barrels'', or an IPA that has ''Aged on imported hops from the fertile grounds around a blazing volcano in Fiji'', I really want to try it. Sometimes you find a really great beer, and others you find yourself thinking ''What the hell just happened in my glass?''. Well I hate to say it, but the Hops Crisis? left me doing the latter.

This beer is a head scratcher from the moment you open the can. First of all, it says its an Imperial IPA. I was expecting a huge hops blast as soon as it was cracked. No such luck, but I still held out hope. Sometimes you have to let these things breathe, ya know? When I went to pour it, I was introduced to surprise number two. This beer looks like a straight up pilsner. Its has a thin, golden yellowish color that most resembles apple juice. There was about two fingers worth of fluffy white head, but it was gone in just a few minutes leaving just a thin layer on top of the beer. Now here is where I should tell you that this beer is described as ''an ale aged on oak spirals''. As if reading that were not confusing enough, smelling it was even more confusing. There were some really good aromas floating around in the glass, however they were all mixed together and difficult to single out. I noted some sweet malts, grapefruit hops, alcohol, oak, and even some vanilla. Being able to pick out these aromas gave me hope that, while I was confused by the look and initial smell, there might still be a chance for this beer to shine.

Going in for that first sip, I pretty much had to fight the urge to give up all hope for this beer to be a great redemption story. There was a muted grapefruit taste up front, but it was lacking the bite one would expect from an Imperial IPA. It could be due to the fact that there is a higher than usual malt feel to this beer. It comes through in a faint bready tone. It almost took over the beer completely from the middle section and on, and was only subdued by the occasional oak flavor poking through, until at the very end the muted grapefruit flavor comes back. I kept going back for more sips, not because I was in love with what I was tasting, but because I was wanting to find more flavors in there. It pains me to say it, but I just couldn't find them. The ''Imperial'' part of this beer really falls short.

The mouthfeel really doesn't help this beer either, considering the style it is claiming. There wasn't much body or carbonation to the beer at all. It felt watered down the whole time. It was very thin. I still kept coming back to a substandard pilsner the more I drank it. There was no coating or sticking feeling to it, and when it comes to Imperial IPAs, that is almost a requirement. The only redeeming quality that might be in there is that it's 9.7% ABV is completely masked. You can't taste it at all. Now I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing here, but I can only imagine that if you could taste the alcohol in it, it would be a bad thing.

It makes me sad that this beer came up so short. I have had some really good offerings from 21st Amendment before. This beer just seemed to have an identity crisis from the word go. Looks like a pilsner, smells like a mix of an IPA and a lager, and has the mouthfeel of a common bar draft. I would have a hard time recommending it to anyone as a must find beer choice. It just came up short on several important levels. I guess I could tell you that if you had to pick between pisswater and Hops Crisis?, definitely go for the Hops Crisis?. Though the flavors are mixed and confusing, it still would be a step up from the other garbage you had to choose from. Just remember when you pick this one up, the hops aren't the only crisis with this beer.

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Hop Crisis? by 21st Amendment Brewing Co.
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