Beer: Hopsauce Brewery: Rubicon Brewing Co. Style: American Double IPA ABV: 8.2 percent
Though few things in the world are completely black and white, the spectrum of beer lovers can pretty much be broken up that way. On one side you have the grainiacs, who seek out the darkness of roasted malt and all things barrel-aged. On the other, you have hopheads -- lovers of lupulin and alpha acid aficionados who have one motto when it comes to brew: the bitterer the better.
Hopsauce is a brew designed for this second camp. The spring seasonal from Rubicon Brewing Co. (a new entrant to Arizona's beer scene out of Sacramento, Calif.), Hopsauce is a hophead's dream, created using 1,800 pounds of pale malt and more than 100 pounds of hops.
The appearance: blood orange-like. Poured into a tulip glass, Hopsauce is an almost perfectly clear ruby-orange, topped with a small clumps of sticky, off-white bubbles.
The nose: biting. A good swirl of the grass reveals the full force of the brew's hop payload -- heavy citrus pith, grassy spice, weed-like dankness. Hints of honey and some cheesy funk are all that's there to balance.
The flavor: constantly improving. When colder, the beer's a little muted, showing just occasional flashes of the greatness promised by the aroma. The promise is fulfilled as the brew warms, however -- flavors of grass, weed, crackers, burnt sugar and booze increase in accordance with temperature. At around 60 degrees, this beer is a 100-IBU beast.
The body: medium, viscous, sugary. Moderate carbonation prickles the tongue while the alcohol is nowhere to be found.
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The overall impression: gives new meaning to the phrase "hopped up on the sauce." The hopheads shall be pleased.
Hopsauce is available in bottles and on tap, but is just one of several Rubicon beers now available in the state. If you're looking for some good examples of what they have to offer, try Rosebud, a strong ale brewed on the day of Jerry Garcia's death and named for one of his guitars, and Monkey Knife Fight, a pale ale named for the most awesome thing that could possibly ever happen.
Zach Fowle is a Certified Cicerone, an accredited guide to beer.