Is Sweetwater Hop Hash Infused Double IPA the son of Johnny Hash? It probably is, though I for one am not paying for the paternity test. If you don’t already know, Johnny Hash Double IPA was an entry in Sweetwater’s Dank Tank series of one-off specialty beers. It seems to have been popular enough to spawn a sequel in Hop Hash, a year-round release for Sweetwater.
Both of the beers are double IPAs, and they tasted very similar to me in their amazing hop intensity, especially in the grapefruit citrus and in-you-face resin departments. They use the same malt bill and one suspects the same hops (Sweetwater does list Centennial for Johnny Hash which is not listed for Hop Hash, and “hash blend”). Hop Hash is also a little less potent than Johnny Hash (which was 8.5% ABV; Hop Hash is 7.8%), but it is definitely a hop monster all the same at 100 IBUs (don’t have the IBU count for Johnny Hash but would assume it’s in the same range).
In any event, here’s what Sweetwater says about Hop Hash on the label:
We scraped all the hash out of the Yakima hop pelletizers that we could get our sticky fingers on to concoct the dankest double IPA out there. The pure hop lupulin, AKA “HASH” (the resiny stuff), meshes seamlessly with the 2-row, pilsner and wheat malts, allowing it to deliver a pungent punch to the palate.
Wasn’t that nice of them?
The first time I tried Sweetwater Hop Hash Infused Double IPA was at Taco Mac just after it was released. This was on October 9th of 2014, and as it was pint glass night I got a free Sweetwater glass (yay me!) with my purchase. As is usual for Sweetwater, despite this being a so-called “high gravity” beer, I got a full mug pour and that for just $6.50. Here’s what I jotted down about it:
Sweetwater Hop Hash DIPA. Big resiny pine and grapefruit in the nose, chewy caramel malt up front, then more and lots more of those wonderful resiny pine tar grapefruit seed hops. This one tastes like a fistful of pine needles, and it’s all rounded out by a huge bitter finish.
Now that I’ve placated all of you geeks out there that insist a double IPA must be drunk before it’s even brewed, I’ll let you know that I’ve been salivating at the chance to review this beer. It’s that good. Since I bought a six-pack ($10.99) just after trying the beer at Taco Mac, though, I wanted to hang onto a bottle and try it with some age. That’s what I’m doing tonight with a bottle marked “Best if Enjoyed Before 12/29/14”.
My slightly-aged-but-constantly-refrigerated bottle of Sweetwater Hop Hash Infused Double IPA pours to a hazy orange color with a thick creamy head of foam and a simply sinful nose of sensuous resiny hops. Taking a sip, this one is all chewy caramel malt up front but don't worry! The hops show up and quickly, in all their sticky, resiny, piney, herbal-grassy glory. At the last, they’re amazingly bitter too as one might expect.
They are not kidding when they say resiny, this stuff is like pine tar in its intensity and massive bitterness. I hesitate to say this beer is "balanced" because it leans so much to the hop side, but I will anyway, because it has a big enough malt presence to support all of those hops.
I find the beer has a bit more bread character as it has aged but it’s still exploding with hops. I might even like it better now with about 7 or 8 months on it.
Sweetwater Hop Hash Infused Double IPA is just an amazing beer. Would I but it again? Well duh. I already did.
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.