Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale

I still can't quite figure out how some people seem basically immune to being in high places. I mean, I have no problem being on the 50th floor of an office building or in an airplane 35,000 feet off the ground. Rather, I am talking about being high (off the ground) and having the feeling you're not completely safe at the same time. I think I inherited this great fear from my father, who absolutely hates heights. He used to pay me $10 when I was 12 years old to climb the ladder and clean the leaves out of the gutter. But I guess age has made me wiser.

I had a roommate after college that painted houses and repaired the shingles on roofs. And I saw him move the ladder many times without even getting off of it--he'd just hop it over to the next part of the house where he needed to be. Now that's what I call "Hop Stoopid" but we'll get to that in a second. For me, hanging a picture twenty feet up the wall last weekend and changing a battery in the giant clock opposite that picture were giant intrusions on my well-founded fear.

When I was considering going to Cornell around 20 years ago, one of the college tours took my father and me around the campus. If you're not familiar, Ithaca is Gorges, which basically means it's a gorgeous campus with gorges cutting through the entire landscape. There was one place that they had a suspension bridge across a very deep gorge with shallow waterfalls far below. Of course, that beautiful view is where the guide stopped to chat... briefly. With the wind making the bridge sway, despite the 15 foot fencing, my father interrupted the guide and told him "we go back or we go forward, but we're not standing here anymore." Pussy :) But while I am not manic about it like that, I don't like heights.

Bring in the Hop Stoopid Ale brewed by Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California. I've had a few of this brewery's other offerings, all back in April, and have been a fan since. I'm guessing that there are some big Hops in this guy. As usual, there is a long story on the side in like a 5pt. font, making me search for a magnifying glass. On the smaller bottles, fine, but this big 22 ouncer had plenty of room for bigger words. Something about hop extraction equipment and cleaner hop flavors ends with "Another kettle of Hop Stoopid is once again raised up and fermented on high." OK. I hope it's a great beer.

Wow, I can't stop sampling the very powerful grapefruit aroma! There are some orange and spicy elements in there too. Big hops up front on the palate. Lots of grapefruit and pine, and very nicely balanced with some sweetness. There is a terrific bitter bite and the 8% alcohol shows up nicely and is a welcome feature as the beer progresses. Crisp, refreshing, fresh. Just an all-around wonderful beer, especially for those that appreciate the kick-ass flavor of hops.

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