For someone who’s been let down more often than not with Imperial and Double IPAs, I’ve tried a few lately. When I saw a 4-pack of Hop Crisis (cans of course) from the 21A that I hadn’t tried yet, I jumped at it. I’ve enjoyed their sessionable Bitter American, as well as Back in Black black IPA, and Allies Win the War (English Strong Ale brewed with dates). While hesitant due to my tendency not to enjoy DIPAs (like Avery Maharaja) or to simply find them to all have a similar alcohol sweetness that I don’t care for dominating the flavor (Firestone Walkers’s Double Jack and numerous others), the 21A’s track record was enough to give it a try.
Thankfully, the one thing that I did NOT find was that typical alcohol sweetness. I may be describing it incorrectly, but it’s something I taste in most huge IPAs… something even insane amounts of hops can’t hide. Hop Crisis comes in at 9.7% ABV, so I fully expected it, but thankfully, I found it more balanced and “drinkable” that anticipated. The citrus (grapefruit and apricot) and earthy, pine of the hops come through in the nose and on the tongue, but not in an obnoxious way.
DIPAs are not a go-to beer for me, as much as I love hoppy beers. I prefer something that isn’t trying so hard to cover up the high alcohol booziness in a beer. However, as far as this style goes, I find the 21A’s “Hop Crisis” balanced and without that alcohol sweetness I find in many other brewery’s attempts.