A name thats hard to live up to
A Review of Hoppus Maximus by Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.
Let it be known that I fully appreciate the creativity that exists in the craft beer world. But sometimes I feel as though a few of the breweries out there never take the time to fully think through some of the names they are assigning to their tasty nectars. Now I am all for a funny or descriptive name on a brew, but there are a few times where upon reading the name I have certain expectations that arise. And it is always a letdown when those expectations aren't fully met. A good example of this was when I decided to give the Thirsty Dog Brewing Company's Hoppus Maximus a spin at the World Beer Fest.
Now I want to first start off by saying that when it was first handed to me, I had to do a double take. This beer was said to be an amber ale, but to me it came off as more of an IPA in appearance, and a weak one at that. There was a fluffy white head that had some decent retention to it and left a fair amount of lacing throughout the session. Some muted hops notes came through first in the aroma department, and they fell more in the citrus range than anything else. After that, a slightly sweet malt layer became noticeable for a moment, but faded into more of a toasted bread backbone for the duration. At this point, I was more confused than disappointed. Why call yourself an amber ale when as far as I can tell you are an IPA? Why call yourself Hoppus Maximus when you are only slightly hoppy in the first place? See my confusion? Anyway, I chose to continue.
The first taste again moved me to think that someone, somewhere got the classification of this beer wrong. I could not get the thought out of my head that this was a middle of the road IPA. There was a more than expected grapefruit flavor upfront that mixed rather quickly with a caramel malt flavor that almost fell into the ''too sweet'' range, but still managed to give some redeeming quality to the beer. The mouthfeel did this one no favors as far as its claim of being an amber ale either. Again it came across as an IPA in that department too. Kind of sticky and sweet, but otherwise fairly crisp and refreshing.
So here I sit looking at the score I gave the Hoppus Maximus and I'm still torn on if I graded it fairly or not. I did my fair amount of research after the fact, and everything that I found pointed to this one being touted as an amber ale. If I have to grade it based on that, in my opinion, it failed. The coloration wasn't there, and the flavors just didn't remain consistent with the style. Now if this beer were an IPA, or even a pale ale, I could only hold its name against it. Hoppus Maximus it is not. Somewhat tasty and drinkable it is. It would make a great session beer aside from my noted problems with the name and style claim. As far as recommending it, based on it's style proclamation, I wouldn't advise that any of you try it. However, as a somewhat drinkable beer that got its name screwed up somewhere, I'd say take it for a spin if you ever run into it out and about. Just don't think about it too much. After a while, that name on the bottle will begin to do battle with you and your beer understanding.