March 9 2010, 10:14 AM
When Colorado microbreweries tout "Imperial IPA," I warn my taste buds to take cover: Things are about to get really bitter. And the hops Twisted Pine Brewing Company uses in Hoppy Man---Chinook, Cascade, Simcoe, and Northern Brewer---impart aromas and flavors that run the gamut of hoppiness, from flowery and smoky to grapefruit notes. Beyond the range of hops varieties, they also hop the beer six times. (And yes, they dry-hop it.) So I had mentally armored myself by the time I poured the beer---a very pretty amber color---into my pint glass. But the smell and taste of this very well-balanced beer, which left my bitter taste buds intact, caught me by surprise. Sure, it’s still delightfully hoppy on the tongue, but it's the clean, sharp type of flavor that lingers lightly after the fullness of the malts. Inspecting the beer more closely, the 10.5 percent ABV explains the mature balance. Such a high alcohol level doesn’t come without a good dose of malts. Hoppy Man was originally brewed for the Great American Beer Festival, but Twisted Pine has brewed a small amount again for limited release, so grab a bomber of this refreshingly well-balanced IPA soon.