If I were to guess, Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum Imperial IPA is the hoppiest beer I have ever consumed. If you use International Bitterness Units to measure the hop concentration, Hoptimum rings in at 100. Stone’s does not reveal the IBU rating of its Double Bastard, but many guess it to be north of the century mark. Allegedly, a brewery in Ontario called Flying Monkeys makes a beer tipping in at 2,500 IBUs, which I’m guessing tastes like battery acid.
My problem with hoppy beers is the burn. I don’t mind the hoppy flavors of citrus and pine, but its the burning sensation when swallowing that is the real drag. Elysian’s Space Dust IPA comes in punch at 73, which is comfortable for me without too much burn. Actually, the aftertaste was quite refreshing for an IPA, which I will get to momentarily. Up front is the typical hoppy pine and citrus nose as you would expect from this style, a credit to the Chinook variety of hops utilized. The flavor had a citrus taste — Amarillo hops here — with a slight sweetness, likely from the malt. But, what makes this beer superior was the finish: dry and crisp. The flavor was intense, thanks to Citra hops, but cleared right off the palate for an exceptional finish.
Much has been made recently about Anheuser-Busch InBev’s purchase of Elysian in January 2015.
While it’s sad to see an independent brewery gobbled up by Big Beer, one cannot begrudge the crew at Elysian for taking the payday. Elysian is the third legit craft beer in A-B’s portfolio, joining newly acquired 10 Barrel Brewing, Blue Point Brewing Company and Goose Island. There’s significant handwringing over the potential of A-B meddling with the product, but given their hands-off approach with Goose Island, this seems unlikely. It turns out that this was purely a business decision, with zero regard for quality. Two of the three partners opted to sell out, screwing the third partner (and brewmaster). While Elysian may will lose its indy all credibility, one thing is clear: Space Dust IPA is a hell of a beer.
Brewer: Elysian Brewing Company
Beer: Space Dust IPA
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 8.2% IBU: 73
Container: 12 oz. bottle
Price: Purchased as part of a mixed six-pack Point of Purchase: Wegmans, Syracuse, N.Y.
To The Eye: Golden to amber with a little haze. Fluffy foam which dissipates into a nice head that hangs around.
To The Nose: Pine and grapefruit.
To The Palate: Big grapefruit flavor with an intense resin flavor.
Aftertaste: Dry. Crisp. Wonderful.
Boozy Factor: It doesn’t hit you quickly, but it does it you.
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 9