Beer Review 0039: Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA

Sounds dangerous, right?

This marks the first time I am featuring a beer by Athens, Georgia based Terrapin Beer Company; whilst strolling the beer aisle this week I decided now is the time, given that Athens-formed rock group REM announced last week they’d be disbanding after thirty-one years.

Terrapin was started in 2002 by two brewers who met while working at another microbrewery. John Cochran and Brian “Spike” Buckowski thought they had something to give the beer world that had yet to be seen or tasted, so they brewed up their first drink, Rye Pale Ale, and it won gold at the Great American Beer Festival.

And the story takes off from there; Terrapin now brews in a 40,000 square foot facility and has expanded the line to five year-round beers and three seasonals.

The beer I’ll be reviewing today is Hopsecutioner IPA, an India Pale Ale the brewery says I may lose my head over. The bottle does feature a terrapin executioner, so…

Hopsecutioner is made with six different types of hops and comes in at 7.3% ABV (alcohol by volume) but is advertised as a balanced beer, not an overly aggressive hop bomb. IBU’s (International Bittering Units) come in at 78 on this one, and check out the very cool cap:

Upon unleash from bottle, golden hazy beer was produced, sweet-tea like in color, with a soapy and frothy head that had a lasting quality. The body was hazy with no particles or sediment and plenty of bubbles fizzing to the surface. Lacing was good with wispy webs covering the glass here and there. Nice color, nice head, overall very respectable.

As expected, the aromatics were heavy on hops, with Christmas tree prevailing. Loads of pine with some sweet flowers, and a minimal malt presence represented with a caramel note. I noticed an underlying but faint whiff of passionfruit, which added wonderfully to the depth of aromas, considering this one is kind of cut and dry for the hops category. Simple but nice, clean and crisp.

And continuing the theme of just plain good… pine and grapefruit are heavy on the palate, followed by a transition to some caramel and a bitter finish, which is balanced and not extreme. The finish is somewhat short in duration; I categorized it as in between short and average, but there’s a nice citrus blast that shows up; more on the orange side than anything. The higher ABV is hidden quite well.

No complaints here from me. Is Hopsecutioner a memorable beer? Well, not really, but it is damn good. It’s one of those beers that if you see out somewhere, you’ll grab a couple of bottles because it will be reliably good. A very nice IPA, while not the most complex in the world, it will reward your palate and make your desire for a great craft beer quenched.

Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA, 89 points. Price: $9.99 US for six pack.

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