Beer Review 0022: Appalachian Hoppy Trails IPA

Hoppy Trails India Pale Ale is made by Appalachian Brewing Company of Pennsylvania. The company has four locations in PA: two in Harrisburg and one each in Gettysburg and Camp Hill. Beer is brewed in all three cities — I bought this particular beer from the downtown location in Harrisburg, where you can get a bite to eat as well as pick up six or twelve packs.

Hoppy Trails is a “flagship beer” of APC, meaning they brew it year-round. It’s marketed as an aggressively hopped IPA with an increase in maltiness to help balance the beverage.

I put a 12 oz. bottle of this east coast IPA to the test on March 12.

The pour produced a small to average sized head that lasted several minutes before forming a nice lacy cover. The beer is golden orange in color, very similar to summertime sweet tea. The body was slightly hazy but clear of any particles or sediment. I noted excellent lacing right from the start; there was a solid sticky ring around the top of the drink and it continued down as I consumed.

Hoppy Trails offered a big shot of pine to the nose followed by strong hints of citrus, orange to be exact. The presence of hops were heavy but largely one dimensional with the classic aromas of pine and citrus. I detected some malts, specifically toasted caramel, but they were somewhat hidden and hard to find. What we have is classic IPA aroma but nothing overly complex or unique.

The one dimension is continued in flavor — the palate is greeted with a nice orange taste followed by pine and then an overwhelming harsh bitterness that turns medicinal. The flavors at the start are quite nice, but the finish, which is of long duration, is harsh, unbalanced and an assault on the tongue.

I noted that the carbonation of Hoppy Trails was lively with a creamy and slick texture. The bubble activity in the drink surprised me; while it was not at the level of, say, a soda, it was very active.

While the overall flavors of this IPA were nice, they were one dimensional and quickly turned into a bitterness that was at such a level to affect the enjoyability of the beer. Although the company claims they tried to balance this beer, it clearly is not. For the average drinker, this is not a good introduction to India Pale Ale — and for an experienced drinker like myself, I didn’t struggle to finish the bottle, but I could name off several beers in this style I would rather quaff.

Appalachian Hoppy Trails IPA, 72 points. Price: $9.99 US for six pack.

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