Hop Wallop (besides being one of the better names I've seen in a while) is a well reviewed double IPA that I've been wanting to try for a while. However, because it's so difficult to find east coast beers in Southern California, I didn't think that I would get a chance to try it any time soon. The makers of Hop Wallop, Victory Brewing Company, distribute to a wider range than most breweries, but I was having a tough time finding them out here. Then I finally found Hop Wallop at a local liquor store, along with some other offerings from Victory that undoubtedly will be popping up on this blog in the future.
Hop Wallop pours a perfectly clear amber color with a decent two-finger cream head. On a side note, this was the first time I used my new Russian River tulip glass and it was a good beer to break it in with. Hop Wallop left some nice lacing down the glass as I drank it.
The beer has a pretty solid double IPA smell. Floral hops hit the nose right away followed by a strong malt presence and a slight earthiness. I tried for a while, but couldn't figure out what was creating the earthy aroma.
The taste isn't the hop bomb I was expecting from the name, but it's still pretty good. The stars of the show (as they should be in a double IPA) are the hops and the malts and they're constantly jockeying to take the forefront of the taste. The taste starts with some malt sweetness, then takes a hard turn and brings a big hit of floral hops, and then fades out on a smooth malty note. The finish is surprisingly gentle but not to the point that it just dies. It leaves the slightest malty hint on your tongue that definitely leaves you wanting more. The balance in this beer is near perfect.
Final Grade: A-