Hop Head IPA from the Tree Brewing Company in Kelowna, British Columbia pours a hazy, rusty amber colour with a sizable and frothy off-white head that settles quickly as a collared film while leaving a generous amount of lace. The aroma of this American IPA is not what I was expecting and a bit muted overall. Lightly caramelized malts have a fresh, grainy backing with a semi-sweet floral tone and a subtle hint of lemon oil and alcohol.
Hop Head IPA surprisingly tastes like toasted, chocolate malts up front. A light buttery tone gives way to an earth-like taste and a fairly strong bitterness that really lingers, but remains in control. Again, a hint of lemon or orange oil pokes through in the finish. I find it very well-balanced compared to most of its contemporaries. The beer is rather light-bodied with a medium-heavy carbonation that really pops on the tongue and a distinct oily quality that smooths over the bitterness in the aftertaste and adds to its drinkability.
The bottles Hop Head IPA comes in forgo traditional body labels in favour of an embossed brewery logo and have only a simple brown neck label with the beer’s logo printed on a green background image of hops. A freshness date can be found printed on the bottle’s shoulder. The sleeve has a lot of BC-inspired imagery like mountain climbers and bikers, snowboarders and golfers with a very brief description of the beer on the sides and a more lengthy one of the brewery on the bottom.
After trying the Hop Head Double IPA I was genuinely surprised at the lack of a pronounced citrus or fruity bite in this “regular” version, however this is positive trait that makes for a fairly easy-going take on the style that would work well with grilled meats, salads, breads and pasta with red sauce. Hop Head IPA recently became widely available in Ontario thanks to the team at North American Craft and can be found at many LCBO outlets. Its balance quickly earned it a spot in my regular rotation.
Type: American IPA
Region: British Columbia, Kelowna
Brewery: Tree Brewing Company
Format Purchased: 6 x 330 mL
Alcohol Content: 5.6%