After my first post I was told there was a theme to my top-rated beers. So I prefer wits and hefeweizens, and happen to have a German heritage. So sue me. But we’re on this site because we love beer, plain and simple, and at the end of the day all I care about is whether or not that first sip puts a smile on my face. I personally think most IPAs are lazy because all you can taste are the hops, but good IPAs make good beers, just as with any other genre. The one thing the best IPAs seem to have in common is notes of honey on both the nose and finish, which while you could argue about that in a Dogfish Head 60 or 90, Bell’s Hopslam just comes right out and says it. So that’s what I look for in my IPAs: hops mellowed with a touch of sweetness. So when looking through the grocery store for something local and new, I had to raise an eyebrow at Devils Backbone’s Catty Wompus, which I’d not heard of yet. With only 50 reviews on Untappd, this seemed like an ideal six pack to bring home.
Catty Wompus, Devils Backbone Brewing Company – @dbbrewingco (Lexington, VA)
Belgian IPA, ABV 7.5%, IBU 50
Presentation: Bottle pour into pint glass.
Appearance: Pale amber and gold hue. Medium head dissipating at a normal pace.
Taste: I do believe I’ve mentioned my almost total lack of smell. DB notes “pine and citrus notes” whereas I picked up just a touch of honey on the nose. Either way, it’s something sweet from nature. With an evenly balanced crispness and hoppiness, this is about as pure an IPA as you’ll find.
ABV/IBU: You’re not going to realize you’re drinking a 7.5% beer, which is either a good thing or a really good thing, depending on if you wake up in a ditch or your own bed the next morning. What should be a medium bitterness is barely present.
Overall: As I’d hoped, there was just a dash of flavor in the Catty Wompus to take the dry, bitter edge off the hops. This is a very solid IPA which should find fans among all kinds of beer lovers, especially someone who is just casually browsing the beer aisle at a chain grocery store (which is where I surprisingly found this). While this might not be a heavyweight among IPAs by a couple of different measures, I think that’s awesome. With the cheeky “Womp us” predicted by that 7.5%, you’ll still get more mileage here than going after the aforementioned heavys, imperials, doubles, etc. As the first bottle blended into the second, this beer really hit its stride, and left me wanting still more. If I didn’t have a day job, odds are I’d have done just that.