Since we're on the subject of insane double IPAs, let's talk about Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s Hoptimum, a ridiculously intense ale that has a lot in common with Green Flash Palate Wrecker (which I wrote about yesterday). Sierra Nevada, based in Chico, Calif., first bottled Hoptimum last year, in 24-ounce bombers. This year it's in 12-ounce bottles, which is a positive development, since it's all but impossible for one person to drink 24 ounces of this extremely bitter, high-alcohol beer.
Bright orange with a 2-inch head that quickly disappears, Hoptimum is -- and this might be hard to accept -- a tad more intense than Palate Wrecker. It also smells vaguely like marijuana, which isn't surprising, given that hops are closely related to cannabis. And there are a lot of hops in this beer, which Sierra Nevada says rates 100 IBUs (though it's probably higher). It's a deliciously mouthpuckering brew -- but one that will appeal only to the most die-hard of IPA drinkers.
With a slightly stronger malt profile, more alcohol, and a corrosive nature, Hoptimum is harder to drink than Palate Wrecker. Given the price difference, though, Hoptimum might be easier to swallow.
Hoptimum is 10.5 percent alcohol. A four-pack of 12-ounce bottles costs about $10.