Oct 7, 2016

Flying Dog Single Hop Azacca Imperial IPA

Flying Dog’s Single Hop Imperial IPA series of limited releases has produced some truly fantastic brews through the years. Each has showcased the various talents of a wide array of hop varieties, from the standard (and sometimes forgotten) staples to unnamed experimental cones. This time around, the Maryland brewery has gotten their hands on a few pounds of Azacca, named for the Haitian god of agriculture. This U.S. born hop is a relatively new dwarf bittering variety whose lineage includes Summit and Northern Brewer.

The use of Azacca within this 8% ABV imperial IPA — which employs biscuit malt and rye as its base — allows the hop to spread its wings and let loose with a volley of pine, tropical fruits, citrus and a solid bite. Hints of mango, tangerine/orange and pineapple mingle softly while a decent bit of resinous pine carries the load — a soft toast and touch of honey linger with each sip. The hop bitterness (calculated at 75 IBU) isn’t overly fierce, but does provide a solid punch that nicely balances a light amount of malt sweetness.

Azacca Single Hop isn’t going to topple the absolutely stellar Simcoe version, but this beer is damn tasty in its own right. I love the hop bite, which directly counters the recent trend of focusing on fruit instead of the traditional bite of an IPA — it is greatly appreciated in a beer that also delivers a good amount of tropical flavors. Flying Dog has themselves another well crafted drinking experience with this one.

This is a review of a promotional sample.