Another box of hopped goodies from a dear and esteemed friend of mine! Rob from The Perfect Pint Project has graciously gifted me with two IPAs to review for your reading pleasure. This week I shall demystify the contents of a bottle of Fat Head’s “Hop JuJu”, and next week I shall aim my brew palate pontification pen at Brew Kettle’s “White Rajah”. Neither of these is available in my drinking vicinity (Chicago and its burbs), and I have never actually seen one of these in person. Whenever I receive a beer that I can’t find in or around my town I am smitten with a giddiness which is quite comparable to that feeling I get when I dramatically outkick my coverage at a social gathering and go home with a doxy of such beauty, she must be blind or psychologically unhinged to have selected me to be her evening romp betwixt the sheets. It’s just a beautiful feeling that, in either case, ends with something wet and tasty being pressed against my lips.
Brewed by Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon out of North Olmsted, Ohio, Hop JuJu won a gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival for the Imperial India Pale Ale category. That is quite interesting, but as a journalist it is my duty to also report that 82 other beers won gold medals that year. And one of them was Natural Ice. Natural. Fucking. Ice. I would rather gargle Bill Cosby’s semen in front of my parents than drink Natural Ice. But I digress with that moot point; Hop JuJu is a unique and excellent IPA regardless of how insubstantial its accolades might seem.
I’m dedicating a paragraph to Hop JuJu’s aroma. I don’t believe I have ever had a brew with such redolence. The contents of its aroma aren’t special or unique, but their freshness and poignancy are amazing: pine (being the dominant one here), grapefruit, oranges, and ripe lemons. IPAs, because of the hops, tend to appeal to the olfactory senses the most, so it really is a testament to this beer’s quality when it stands out as the best of the best in that category. I think a perfume company needs to concoct a fragrance for women that smells like fresh hops. If I smelled that on a woman I would lasso her with my penis from across the pub.
The liquid is clear and bright orange with a tint of red. Carbonation activity is average. Its head is fluffy, bone white, thick, uniform and clean. Although it’s commonly reported for this beer to have a strong array of citrus flavors, that was not my experience. It did contain a noticeable citrus blend (orange, lime, and grapefruit) but a very resinous pine flavor governed the session. It finishes with an extreme bitterness, saltine cracker, a spicy kick, and a lick of caramel before moving right into a piney, grassy, bitter aftertaste. Even for 100 IBU’s the bitterness is cranked up to top gear, especially in the aftertaste. It’s light and watery in texture but finishes with a slick oil texture. The lacing is moderate, and par for the course as far as imperial IPA’s are concerned.
I’ve never had an IPA like this. Its aroma is outstanding and gives the impression that it may be dry-hopped. And its texture finishes on the oily side like a wet-hopped IPA. The resin and pine bitterness are a tad off balance for me, as my palate is more welcoming of citrus, tropical fruits, and malt. But Hop Juju is still a high quality IPA and I’d load up on this if I saw it in my store. As an IPA fetishist I assure you this is one unique IPA. Kudos to Fat Head’s for coming up with a recipe that stands out in an IPA lineup like a masturbating clown in a convent.
Beer Type: Imperial IPA