Milwaukee Brewing Company Hop Freak Double IPA
Writer Ritu Ghatorey said “Sometimes You Need To Look At Life From A Different Perspective.” And she was right, which is why I am going to do two reviews in one. I was able to try Hop Freak in 2 different formats in 2 different settings. My first experience was a draft of Hop Freak on the patio deck at Milwaukee Brewing Company overlooking the Milwaukee River on a hot Milwaukee summer day. My other experience with Hop Freak was out of a can on a cold, rainy Denver night. Both experiences were delicious, but very different.
After riding a bike around Milwaukee for a few hours, my tour guide and friend Jamie took me to the Milwaukee Brewing Company. Their vast tap list took me a while to go through but their double IPA Hop Freak stood out. I knew I made a great decision. The dark golden ale flowed into the tall pint glass and my thirst intensity increased a few levels. My initial smell brought a blast of carmel, citrus and a unique hint of herbal hops. Before leaving the bar to head into the sunshine, I took my first drink. The strong hoppy initial flavor was quickly overcome by a subtle sweetness that you find in great, complex double IPAs.
The bitterness of the hop profile lingered on my tongue, which brought out new featured flavors with each of my next few sips: carmelly sweetness, biscuity malt, jasmine tea, a hint of fruit and even pine. For the 8.7% ABV, it was surprisingly drinkable. Summer-friendly IPAs are hard to come by but the floral aroma and sweet aftertaste makes me wish that Milwaukee Brewing Company distributed to Colorado. Luckily when I was compiling my beer collection to bring back to Denver with me, I was able to find a pint-can 4 pack.
Upon my triumphant return home, the little green monsters on the Hop Freak labels kept imploring me to crack them open. After my kickball game was rained out, I decided to give in to their demands. The crisp CHHHH from opening the can confirmed that this beer could not be any fresher. The aroma took me back to the patio pier from the previous week and I chuckled at the 180 change in atmosphere from my last Hop Freak.
The lack of natural light made the pour seem like an even deeper golden color than I remembered, but with the aroma’s hints of carmel and herbal tea, I knew it was the same beer I enjoyed the week before. This time, the strong hop flavor was more subtle and the floral tea flavor initially stood out before the sweet carmel taste took over. Again I experienced the continuous bitterness from the hop, making each sip just a little bit different. This time, I slowly sipped on Hop Freak, making the I was surprised at the versatility of Hop Freak and enjoyed different aspects of each of my journeys with this double IPA. The change in perspective made me appreciate different features from the beer.