At first, Brewdog’s Hoppy Christmas Festive IPA reminds me of the classic Jack Hammer Ruthless IPA – which is also a heavy hitting seven-point-two-percenter that makes you pull a face like Homer Simpson sucking a super sour ball (at first). Only, the festive version’s less angry. Less forward and in your face. It’s had a few. It’s merrier.
Once poured the light head disappears quickly, and despite the name, hop levels are relatively subdued. The “pineapples, citrus and papaya” mix is surprisingly gentle as well. Reserved. Held back. And the crisp, refreshing bronze IPA goes down quickly and smoothly.
It’s good, but I was expecting something crazier, really. Something more screamingly Christmassy and special. More off the wall, even. Seeing as how it’s once a year and all. Instead, Hoppy Christmas is subtle. It’s understated. Boozy. With a strong backbone. But… not bad.