Beer writers, of which I consider myself one if only nominally, only have so many words to describe the intensity of the hops in a beer. Hoppy is one. You might see descriptions of pine, herbs, citrus or flowers, or lengthy treatises on bitterness. You may even read adjectives like resinous, dank or crisp.
Hop forward is my favorite of these and it’s because I’m not entirely sure what it means. You wouldn’t call a bock malt forward, nor would you refer to a saison as hop backward or yeast forward. Hop forward seems as if it is just a more succinct way of saying that the hops smack you in the face from the moment you open the bottle.
That’s not what happens with Abita’s Spring IPA. For an India Pale Ale, this is more akin to the East Coast version of the hop forward brewing style. There’s more fruit and flower than pine and bitter. It pours clear and gold, and goes back smooth and easy. But, IPAs are not Abita’s forté. Abita’s best work is done with wheat and malt in the exceptional Andygator, the Harvest series, and the Turbodog. Here, Abita makes a near-IPA with a balanced, easy flavor that is neither resinous or hop forward.
Brewer: Abita Brewing Company
Beer: Spring IPA
ABV: 6.25% IBU: 65
Container: 12 oz. bottle
Price: n/a (purchased as part of a mixed six) Point of Purchase: Wegmans, Syracuse, N.Y.
To The Eye: Golden and clear. My hard pour dissipated into a thin lacing.
To The Nose: Hoppy enough. Floral and citrusy. Very reminiscent of the IPAs made by Eastern breweries.
To The Palate: Drinks easy and clean. Medium-bodied with a low to moderate hop intensity. I caught citrusy flavors of orange and grapefruit, and flowers.
Aftertaste: Finishes clean and disappears.
Boozy Factor: I didn’t feel it, but I don’t doubt that it is more than 6%. I think it takes an above-average punch to make me notice these days.
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 7