Review Date 1/21/2011
A few months ago, I was at the local Taco Mac a few miles from where I live, ready for a Sunday afternoon of football action, spicy wings, and draught beer. One of the brews that caught my attention right off was Sweetwater Dank Tank Series Border Hopper Ale, which had just been released. Sadly, it apparently caught the attention of a number of other beer enthusiasts as well, since the bartender returned with the sad news that the keg had kicked. Just my luck.
Things got better though, and a week later I picked up a bomber bottle at Sherlock's in Kennesaw, GA. I quickly stashed it with the rest of my liquid loot, but only now got around to popping the bottle two months after purchasing it. It's been kept chilled, awaiting just that moment when I was ready for a hopgasm.
Border Hopper Ale is described on the bottle as "a Double India Pale Ale brewed with fresh Citra hops from Yakima", Yakima being an area of Washington state widely regarded for the quality of its hops, of course. Border Hopper is another in the limited-run "Dank Tank" series of beers that Sweetwater releases when they feel like it.
Sweetwater Dank Tank Series Border Hopper pours to a bright orange amber color with a thick creamy head formation and a very spicy resiny hop nose. Taking a sip, the beer has a good chewy caramel malt backbone to start. Next up are the hops, they seem a bit herbal at first and vie with a touch of apricot fruitiness for the attention of your taste buds. Surprisingly, the beer seems to have less hoppy aroma than the nose promised.
To be sure, some citric spiciness pokes through, more so in the finish, but not as much as I'd expect in a Double IPA. There's a lingering bitterness along with a bit of alcohol warmth (the beer has an alcohol content of 8.6% by volume), but overall I found this to be an average Double IPA. Indeed, the bitterness seems to strike me more than the aroma here, and greedy sot that I am, I want both.
I will say that Border Hopper has good drinkability (if you're a hophead anyway) and the price is right at $5.99 for a 22 ounce bottle. A very good price by 2011 standards for a solid, if not exceptional, hop-oriented brew.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.