Beer: Hop Ranch
Brewer: Victory Brewing Company
Style: American Double/Imperial IPA
Description: Hop Ranch pours a hazy golden straw color with bright white creamy head and decent head retention that doesn’t linger too long, but leaves a thick spotty lacing on the glass. The aroma is a hop explosion with citrus notes being on display through grapefruit, lemon zest, and pineapple dominating with ever-so-subtle hints of a sweet malt backbone wafting through. The taste backs up the nose with the hops displaying a citrus and tropical fruit bomb, being dominated by mango, pineapple, and grapefruit up front before the sweet malt washes over, subduing any harsh hop bite. The medium body and mild carbonation work in perfect tandem to cleanse the palate in between sips. This is certainly a beer with a huge hop presence but very little harsh hop bite that still manages to have a semi-dry finish. Simply a textbook example of a DIPA!
Food pairing: Hop Ranch is a DIPA that can stand up to nearly anything you throw at it. The body and strong hops give it staying power, but this is a beer that pairs very well with a wide array of standard American foods. Try pairing this with a juicy cheeseburger and do not hold back on the toppings one bit; the spicier the better, as the hops will add a layer of subtlety to the topping while the malt bill will seamlessly melt into the meat. Also try pairing with hot wings. Again, the spicier the better, as the beer will both enhance the spice up front but subdue it on the back end with the sweetness from the malt bill. Hop Ranch also pairs well with spicy Mexican, Thai, and Indian dishes and is a great match with your next pizza. This truly is a workhorse beer and can pair extremely well with a huge array of foods, so feel free to experiment with this one!
The final word: Victory Brewing Company is no stranger to hoppy beers and has been brewing them even before they were fashionable; see Hop Devil. Victory has hit two homeruns in the DIPA department as of late with DirtWolf and now Hop Ranch. This is a beer that, despite being very heavy-handedly hopped, still maintains a thick juicy quality that makes it fairly approachable for those new to craft beer. The use of the new hop Azacca combined with the growingly popular Mosaic hop have a deliciously juicy and creamy IPA that still maintains perfect balance and a fairly dry finish. This is a DIPA that will quickly move towards the top of your favorite IPA list!
Rating: W W W W W
Where can I get it? Currently available in 12 oz. bottles at: Armetta’s Pizzeria, Clarks Summit; Exit 190 Beer Deli, Dickson City; Backyard Ale House, Scranton; Dooley’s Pub & Eatery, Old Forge; and Wegmans, Wilkes-Barre.
Remember, enjoy responsibly! Cheers!
-Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer, and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour on 102.3 FM Saturdays at 10 a.m.