Hoppin Frog Brewery – Hop Heathen Black
Hoppin Frog is a brewery that is new to me. Until B.O.R.I.S the Crusher was put on tap at the pub I work at I had no idea that it existed. Generally that doesn’t surprise me but being located in Akron, Ohio, a town I pass through each time I visit my family I thought I would have heard of it by now. Akron is devoid of any attractions besides the childhood homes of The Black Keys and a quality brewery should generate a lot more interest.
One of the reasons for this is that they haven’t kegged much beer until recently. It was all bottle before. Not only did I get to try two of their beers for the first time,I got them both on draft, which is rare for any bar to get a hold of. Like I said in my last review, they also happen to be crazy expensive.
Hop Heathen is a seasonal Black IPA from Hoppin’ Frog. The name is actually really deceptive. I expected something with a more intense hop to it. It really lacked the punch you would expect from something named as such. The pour was dark and thick; very porter like and produced a nice light brown foam, very smooth and silky. The aroma was where I was first surprised. It had a good, strong roasty quality to it, but the traditional hop smell did not shine through.
The first sip again, is surprisingly smooth, with very little hop to it. The roast really covers up the traditional floral and hop notes that are present in heavily hopped beers. Still it is a heavier beer with a strong mouth feel. Very porter like. In fact, if they had labeled this a porter I don’t think anyone would have noticed. As a style, black IPAs are very similar to porters, and this one rides that line. I expected a lot more hops and was a little disappointed with what it brought to the table.
As with B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher, Hop Heathen is powerful. Weighing in at 8.8% ABV that is well covered by the taste, you could easily drink way too much of this. It is smooth and could easily be consumed over a long period of time. Probably not good for the blood alcohol level. A with the other Hoppin’ Frog brews, it is expensive and hard to find. Certainly worth a try if you can find it. I really enjoyed it for what it was but I was really expecting something completely different.