Jun 1, 2018

Hardywood Hopkeeper

It’s not too often you run into a a double or imperial IPA lately that really gets in your face. I mean, like aggressively with a good amount of bitterness and pungency. More often than not, the experience fruit-forward, gentle and with a higher level of alcohol. Virginia’s Hardywood Park hasn’t forgotten those types of IPAs. Sure, Hopkeeper only rings in at 30 IBU, but there’s still more bite in this bottle than most beers of similar ilk.

And it’s not just the hop bitterness that this beer presents. There’s that pungent, catty pine resin that dominates from start to gloriously lingering finish. Leafy hop notes, grapefruit, a touch of tangerine, earthy honey and cereal grains all present themselves at varying degrees throughout the drinking experience. Hopkeeper is a big IPA that reminds me of days gone by when hops dominated in every fashion and the more confrontational the flavor profile was the more we wanted. That’s changed for sure with modern examples of the style, but I’m thrilled that breweries like Hardywood let loose once in a while with a beer like this.

As you’ve probably gathered at this point, I loved this beer. Hopkeeper has just the right amount of resinous pine and pungent hop profile tempered with a gentle malt and honey sweetness to make me cry for more after I’ve poured the last of the bottle into my glass. I miss beers like this and hope, as with most things in life and beer, tastes come full circle and we tone down the fruit-forward nature of IPAs for the old school flavors I want.