When I’m faced with a large amount of beers to choose from, like I was at Fat Head’s (E. Carson St, Pittsburgh) last week, I usually look for my favorites first, and then try to pick one I’ve never tried. One of my favorite types of beers is India Pale Ales. All IPA’s share bitter flavors of hops and can sometimes also have sweetness from malts. English IPAs, like Boulder Beer Cold Hop, which I am reviewing today, are characterized by a malty sweetness that balances the hoppy bitter flavor that is sometimes overwhelmingly present in similar beers. They commonly have high alcohol content, as well, and Boulder Beer’s Cold Hop is no exception, clocking in at 6.5% ABV.
Cold Hop has a dark gold pour with a moderate amount of thick head that quickly reduces down to a thin line around the glass. The aroma is a mixture of hoppy freshness with a bit of grassy earth. Up front the taste is hoppy, with a clovey bitterness that is fresh and clean. The back end of this brew is sweet, with a caramel sweetness that lingers. The beer is lightly carbonated with an alcohol tinge that is quite pleasing.
I love IPAs mostly because I am a total sucker for “smack me in the face” hops. Hoppy flavors add a level of crispness and cleanness to a beer that is extremely refreshing. Boulder Beer Cold Hop is overall a nice drinkable beer with true hoppy flavor that is lacking in some similar brews. While I love the upfront taste, I am not a fan of the sweet caramel aftertaste. Personally, I feel that this aftertaste takes away from the refreshing flavor that is so pleasant upfront. Its taste is absolutely true to an English IPA, though, and I feel that Boulder Beer Cold Hop is a success. Give it a try and let me know if you agree!
By Beth Kerr