After a few months of drinking lighter ales, American lagers, and Fishers Island Lemonades, I decided this past weekend I wanted to crawl back into the arms of my first love, the India Pale Ale. Being a white, middle aged male and saying that your favorite beer is an IPA is equivalent to a 23 year old female celebrating the nuanced flavors of a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. It’s not that surprising.
So when I went into my local liquor store to pick up some IPAs to drink while grilling, I noticed Loma’s Greek God of Hops double IPA staring at me from the top shelf. Loma’s Double of course is inspired by former Red Sox First/Third baseman Kevin Youkilis’ nickname, The Greek God of Walks. Youk is owner of Loma Brewing, and the craft beer company won the best commercial beer company at the 2017 California State Fair. That’s impressive when you got breweries like Ballast Point, Sierra Nevada, and Lagunitas all hailing from the Golden State and producing quality beverages at that.
Right now, the gold standard for me as far as IPAs go are the amazingly crisp and drinkable Sip of Sunshine IPA from Lawson’s Finest. It has notes of juicy tropical flavors and floral aromas. Heady Topper out of Vermont is some of the most hop forward, grapefruity goodness and one of the cleanest buzz one can experience drinking beer.
Just from those two examples, you can see that Americans love their fruity, citrusy IPAs that come from cascade and citra hops, but brewers have also been adding oils, peels, and actual fruit to keep up with the popular trend of juice bombs.
But I actually really like GGOH because it is NOT overtly citrusy. First of all, the can is fantastic, an outline of Youk’s head with his trademark goatee made of hops. When I opened the tall boy can, the IPA was way more piney than I had expected, and the lack of citrus was actually pretty refreshing. The beer balances its super boozy ABV (9%) with a quite remarkable drinkability which can be difficult to achieve in brews above 7% ABV. There is a hint of lemon in there for sure, but the EXTREME GRAPEFRUIT MADNESS that a lot of breweries are pushing out there was replaced by a more floral pallet. If anyone has ever had Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo IPA, GGOH has a similar mouthfeel, but a much bigger bite. I also really liked the fact that this beer didn’t get to malty on me. Sometimes, when an IPA doesn’t have a strong citrus profile the pine and malt notes bog the beer down in heaviness. And I need to drink more than one beer, my friends. So I had all four over the course of about five hours. Man, after that second one, my face was all warm and fuzzy. After the third one I was getting way to emotional watching my kids play in the yard. After beer number four (in front of TV watching Game of Thrones) I definitely knew I’d put some time in on the old beer gut that’s for sure.
I tweeted at Youk a while back to see if he was going to bring Loma Beers to Massachusetts, because obviously they would probably see well on this coast as well as the West Coast because of his Red Sox connections. He urged me to fly out to Sonoma Valley and give it a taste. Too rich for my blood, Youk. But probably taking some sound advice from a dear personal friend (me), Youk reconsidered, teamed up with Harpoon Brewery to make the beer local, and Massholes everywhere can enjoy this well balanced, pine noted, smooth as silk hop bomb. Yoooooooouuuuuuk hits yet another homer for the fans of Boston.
Photos: San Francisco Chronicle, LOMA Brewing