Welcome back craft beer fans, hop heads, barley wine braggadocios, and lager lovers. We’ve got a new entry from our friends at Reuben’s tonight. Recent winners of Washington’s Best Places for Beer > Brewer’s Tap Room according to RateBeer. I’ve long been a fan of their beers, Crikey is a solid NW IPA, their Life on Mars is a stellar Red IPA, and their Imperial Black IPA remains one of my favorite Black Ales of all time.
The Reuben’s beer we are really waiting for is Blimey, but we have yet to see it distributed in Bellingham. Fear not, for a supposed worthy adversary has been made available in these parts, Hat Trick IPA is packaged in a rather nondescript and unassuming standard 22oz bottle, with a shocking 12% stamped discreetly on the label. A simple black and white label gives merely a hint at the hop wallop contained within.
Brewery: Reuben’s Brews — Ballard, Seattle, WA
Beer: Hat Trick — Triple IPA
ABV / IBU: 12% / 90+
Cost: $8.99 / 22 oz
Availability: Limited, get it fresh while you can
22 oz Bottle stamped clearly with 012716 in the side of the label, making this one just 19 days old. Not too shabby considering the lengths that most beers have to go through with the current three tier system in place, even though this brewery is within driving distance.
Appearance (3/3) — An orange tinged amber hued, heavy looking liquid flows into the 13 oz glass, some bright coppery hues form around the edges as well. A slowly settling, nearly pure white colored head forms and leaves behind it some great lacing with each sip.
Aroma (8/12) — Surprisingly dominated initially by huge caramel malt characteristics, candied hops, chewy lime, light cereal grains, and a slightly piney hop aroma. Fairly light and sweet malt notes dominate the senses here. A hint of lime leaf and honeydew melon rind as well. Very malt forward, much more so than anticipated, though not in a particularly bad way.
Flavor (14/20) — Dominating tropical fruit characteristics lead way to an herbaceous and resinous, pithy body. Big notes of Kaffir lime leaf, lemon peel, citron, pine, earth, and tree bark. Sticky and bitter hop notes. Leading way to a fairly sweet malt profile featuring caramel, toffee, honey, and candied ginger, this tastes like gnawing on fresh hops covered in pine needles, then covered in honey. This is like hops on steroids. A real chewy, bitter, semi-sweet hop assault, with a satisfying warming finish.
Mouthfeel (4/5) — A full bodied beer with low to medium carbonation level, an unsubtly slight warmth on the finish, with a lightly sticky and lingering finish.
Overall (7/10) — Not quite as expected, though still very, very good. Exceedingly malt forward and is almost lacking hop balance, it could use a bit more juiciness or sweetness. That said, this leans heavily on a strong malt foundation with an aggressive and assertive, piney hop balance. This is a very solid triple IPA, but it errs heavily on the malty side of the spectrum, almost too much so. A very rich, heavy, assertive hop showcase. A piney and resinous showcase of earthy bitter hops balanced upon a sweet caramel base.
OVERALL – 36/50 VERY GOOD
Keep up the good work Reuben’s, here’s to Blimey! Let’s send the Washington Hop Mob to Bellingham next year!