This right here is a nice box of IPAs from Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. The Hop Spectrum pack contains four IPA varieties, and each one is noticeably different from its packmates with its own character and flavor. The Hop Spectrum pack holds three cans each of Pernicious IPA, Coastal Love Hazy IPA, Coastal Love Session IPA and Freak of Nature Double IPA.
Coastal Love Hazy IPA
You see a name like Coastal Love Hazy IPA, and you’re probably expecting a cloudy IPA with strong notes of citrus and other fruits that leans toward the New England style. You’re so smart.
This juicy IPA pours pale yellow with a thick, bubbly head offers the flavors of citrus, peach and white grapes but without being overly fruity, The citrus flavor isn’t specific to one fruit, but the aroma is oranges and grapefruit.
The bitterness is prominent and comfortable with a clean, bubbly finish and little aftertaste. ABV is 6.3%.
Appalachia Session IPA
The Appalachia Session IPA turns the dial down a bit on bitterness and alcohol content. This stripped-down IPA is brewed with Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic, and Motueka hops that give it a bright and light fruit flavor with just a small fraction of the usual IPA bitterness. The beer is a paler yellow than the other beers in this pack and has a haze to it. You can have a few of these without beating your taste buds to death, which makes it a very accessible for beer for someone breaking into IPAs or just someone with a lawn chair, a cooler and a Saturday afternoon to kill. ABV is 4.7%
Freak of Nature Double IPA
We’re wrapping things up with Freak of Nature, a double IPA that weighs in at a boozy 8.5% ABV. This slightly hazy beer is brewed with a plethora hops, with some added per usual in the process (
Centennial, Chinook, Columbus and Warrior) with others (Amarillo, Centennial, Columbus and Simcoe) dry hopped, or added late in the process when the beer has already cooled.
Even with all that hopping going on, my palate was overpowered by the alcohol and couldn’t taste much else. The booze and the hops combined to create something that was more like bitter medicine to my taste buds than a pleasantly bitter IPA. Your mileage may vary depending on the ferocity of your taste buds.
Let’s finish things off with Pernicious. I do love this beer.
This is the beer that really kicked off my appreciation for IPAs. Pernicious is the beer that I wish Freak of Nature could be. Pernicious swings a hefty 7.3% ABV around and is hopped to within an inch of its life with Amarillo, Centennial, Columbus, Motueka, Pacific Gem and Warrior hops used during the boil and then dry hopped with Amarillo, Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic, Motueka and Pacific Jade. Damn that’s a lot of hops.
This IPA is almost clear and leans heavily toward the West Coast style. Turning down the booze a bit and turning up the hops creates a perfect balance that’s missing in Freak of Nature. Pernicious delivers the typical West Coast flavor profile of pine, herbs and grapefruit in a drinkable package with a nice, clean finish.