Hippity Hops Chrysanthemum IPA, Caution Brewing Co., Lakewood

Style: American IPA

Serving Type: 16-ounce draft pour (available in taproom only)

ABV: 7.5 percent

Hop Meter (1–10): 7

Malt Meter (1–10): 1.5

Reviewed: September 2015

I feel like IPAs get a bad rap. So, here’s an abbreviated history lesson that I hope instills a little love for the misunderstood brew. Hops contain an antibacterial agent well-suited for yeast. A hefty amount was added to pale ales in the late 1700s to ensure a successful (not stale) beer delivery from Britain to the British-occupied India. The inclusion of additional hops left the brew with a bite that some drinkers found to be a palate wrecker. With a new flavor profile, the India Pale Ale was born and the Brits rejoiced in their discovery—a means to preserving their precious suds for lengthy sea voyages. Finito.

It’s true, though; in the world of craft beer, IPAs may be the most polarizing of them all. While I appreciate the zing of a hops-heavy pint, some executions lack consideration for other ingredients that could complement or soften the sometimes pungent taste of the natural preservative. Enter: the intricate and ornamental chrysanthemum flower. Used in some Asian cultures to render a sweet hot tea, these beauties are the perfect sidekick to a bitter shock of hops. The brewmasters over at Caution Brewing Co. paired this duo to create what may be the most drinkable IPA I’ve ever had—an oxymoron, I know—the Hippity Hops Chrysanthemum IPA.

What often makes this style of beer off-putting is a harsh, hoppy punch with little else to entertain the senses, and this is where Caution’s concoction changes the game. Whole chrysanthemum flowers and Chinese rock brown sugar go into the vats, sweetening the three different kind of hops with a light, earthy nectar and rich, molasses-y confection. The result is an unobnoxious, soft-finish IPA even cynics should consider trying. Where one or two pints of any IPA is about as much as my taste buds can typically handle, I could stay on the Hippity Hops train for much longer.

The Ideal Drinker: That friend who’s cautious (how fitting) and should sip on something more adventurous than Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale.

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