Hop Stoopid - Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma
Here's a beer I've been putting off for a while... Hop Stoopid from Lagunitas is pretty much everything I hate about craft beer. That may sound a little extreme, and I'm probably being overly dramatic, but that's why I've passed on this beer for so long. First, I've had four or five other Lagunitas beers in the last six months or so, I haven't thoughts highly of a single one. The common thread amongst those beers, they were too hoppy for their style. I complain a lot about brewery's who try to be extremely extreme and push the IBU envelope by just cramming obscene amounts of hops in a beer. That was my impression of Lagunitas, they make traditional style beers, rinse their bottles with that beer, then fill the bottles with hop tea... Hop Stoopid, their Double IPA, seemed like it'd just be more of the same. Just look at that name... there is no way I'd like this beer.
One thing I like about Lagunitas is that their bombers are only $3.50, so I figured I'd just get Hop Stoopid out of the way and write that $3.50 off as a the cost of doing business... So I got this beer home, opened it up and prepared myself for a tastebud melting hop bomb. To say I was disappointed in what I found in the bottle would be an understatement. I was flabbergasted... I wasn't just pleasantly disappointed that this beer was so NOT what I was expecting, I was amazed.
Now, this IS a hoppy beer, it's quite hoppy, it's a Double IPA after all. What is remarkable about the Hop Stoopid is that the hops are pleasant, complimentary and actually quite delicious. This is contrary to other Lagunitas beers where the hops seemed like an afterthought trying to strong arm their way in to control of your taste buds. Hop Stoopid is different because it makes those hops take center stage but share the limelight with complimentary flavors like citrus and sweet honeyed pine. It doesn't hurt that this beer is really smooth. None of the bitter finish of Lagunitas' other beers is evident in Hop Stoopid. I don't know the science behind it but it seems like there is a bitterness threshold and once you cram enough hops into a beer it stops being so bitter. It sounds crazy, I know...
Lagunitas did a fantastic job on this beer, I'm a partially converted IPA hater thanks in some small part to Hop Stoopid. I can't say IPAs are my favorite style of beer by any means, because so many of them are done for the sake of being done... "Here's an IPA that's really hoppy! You should buy it!" Hop Stoopid has changed my perception of Lagunitas enough that I'm willing to try more of their beers in the near future. I still have bad memories of the beers I'd had from them, but in many ways, Hop Stoopid has left a good taste in my mouth and I'll definitely be drinking it again!