Hi everyone, I’m Ian. It’s been 165 days since my last Hardcore IPA. When BrewDog announced Hardcore IPA was going away in November last year, I was a bit sore about it. Okay, I was incredibly sore about it. Hardcore IPA for me has always been the brother-from-another-mother to Stone’s Arrogant Bastard in its presentation. Both are beers from another time, & to me still timeless despite their claims that ‘time has overtaken our original Double IPA ‘ & that ‘it is a beer more suited to 2007 than 2017 when you look at the world of highly hopped big-hitters‘. So for part 2 of this series, I take a look at what I considered the European behemoth of Double IPA’s, BrewDog Hardcore IPA.
Hardcore IPA in it’s current 9.2% form was first released in 2010. And it was alot heavier malt-wise than its original incarnation (which I think was in 2008 – I’m open to correction), & took hop heavy-handedness to a whole new level as BrewDog’s first double-dry hopped beer. It was easily the single most resinous beer I’d ever tried, & it honestly scared the bejesus out of me. In fact, after the first few mouthfuls I was ready to give up on it, noting it was borderline undrinkable. But, I persisted for reasons I still to this day don’t have an answer to.
The end result was me finding a beer that actually covered my savage need for bitterness overload with a metric-shit-ton of Simcoe, my favorite hop – even to this day. Even as the years followed, West Coast Double IPA’s such as Ruination (in it’s original form) became firm favorites, but they were too often incredibly hard to put a hand to, & weren’t anywhere near fresh, which killed some of their enjoyment.
The one thing I loved about Hardcore IPA was the fact its name was not only so apt, but the ‘Ford Mustang-esque’ colours really appealed to me as a massive fan of that car. If you think I’m crazy about craft beer, you should see how I am about Ford Mustangs. It is a beer I’d happily have in regular amounts, & at one point was happy to ‘session on’. Yup, I would. Wayne from Irish Beer Snob can happily attest to that one.
Hardcore IPA prowess aside, knowing this is going away to become a Tesco exclusive called ‘Mister President‘ (now we’ve got BrewDog beers in Tesco here in Ireland, I’m hoping Four Corners or whatever deal has been constructed around BrewDog/Tesco Ireland will see this hit shelves here), it was an ideal second beer for this series.
The bottle I picked up recently had an expiration date of July 12th 2017, meaning it had some age on it & not as fresh as I’d ideally like. But this beer could preserve a small galaxy with the amount of piney, resiny hops in it. Cracking it open, those piney simcoe hops are ready to fight.
The pour into the glass is still that epic hazy burnt orange colour that is unmistakable. And the head is still a full on creamy well laid trap that even Admiral Ackbar could appreciate & fall for.
That first taste is thick. It’s sweet caramel toffee malt with the bitter straight away intherelike it’s B.A. Baracas in that unmistakable black chevy van, & it doesn’t pity the fool; it gives a knock-out punch. Apricot, manog & pine soon follow like a flurry of rabbit punches, all the while that deeply intense bitterness hangs about like B.A. mean muggin’ with his arms crossed.
I still have an utterly deep love for this beer, in the same way my love for Arrogant Bastard exists. These beers wereso aheadoftheir time, & frankly still to me anyways (not according to Messers Watt & Dickie) are still highly relevant, with a completely different experience to the cut-and-paste of American craft beer styles right now that feel too common, & often unspecial. This beer remains as it always was. Hardcore.