While in Helena recently, we had a chance to try a pint of Madison River Brewing Co.’s double IPA, Hop Juice, on tap. The name conjures up great images of hop cones and the flavors and bitterness that lie within. While Madison’s four flagship brews are widely available regionally in six-packs, if you’re not reasonably close to the Belgrade, MT brewery, you’d not know they put together some pretty nice seasonals.
Hop Juice is brewed with Amarillo and Simcoe hops along with a pretty hefty amount of malt to create an 8.8% abv beer with an impressive 110 IBUs. It pours a bright, rich looking golden amber color with a white head that doesn’t last. Aromas are of caramel malts and some citrus hops and something I can’t quite put my finger on that resembles floral hops. There’s a moderately full-bodied wave of caramel malt in the initial flavor that transitions quickly into a punch of citrus hops. Fairly high levels of hop bitterness complete the flavor profile and stick well into the finish.
Note to Madison River: Send something besides Salmon River Honey Rye and Copper John Scotch Ale to the area’s brewfests. We’ve all tried them. Don’t be afraid to put your creative side on display.