Beer Profile: Hop Heathen by Hoppin Frog

Profiled by Ken Carman for

More of a Black IPA: not an Imperial, mouthfeel and taste-wise. But 8.8ABV? You’d never know. The brewers at Fred Karm’s Hoppin Frog have performed this magic act many times in their various brews. They manage to hide the ABV well, and that takesd talent.

The nose predicts plenty of roasty malt and some hops: though the bitter is in the taste and the fruit of the hops mostly in the nose. More fruit sense in the taste would help a bit, though not a real problem. The beer is good as it is, just could be a tad better.

The balance is very good, otherwise.

Black, obsidian: no light shines through. Hop character dominates, but deep malt sense backs it up well. Some hop astringency that clings to the roof of the mouth, though the deep malt sense moderates that. My take: it could use just a few more later additions vs. early, though there is a very, very slight grapefruit-sense to the hops. Just could use a tad more.

Head varies as poured, but never a lot, settles very fast. Deep tan.

Slight smoky sense to the deep, complex, roasted, malt. This lingers on the tongue making you wish for more. It can sneak up on you and make you think it’s just a real nice Black IPA. It tis that… and more. Careful!

Meet the Brewer: Mike Bristol, Bristol Brewing Company


Written by Natasha Gardiner for

Do you think we’re in a brewery boom today? Check back to the early 1990s when a massive explosion in craft brewing hit the Front Range. One of those brewers, Mike Bristol, was selling cars in Florida when he decided to move back to the Centennial State—he was raised in Fort Collins—and open a brewery in Colorado Springs. That was 18 years ago, and his Bristol Brewing Company has produced the winningest beer at the Great American Beer Festival (Laughing Lab). We sat down to chat with Bristol as he launched the newest editions to the brewery’s Belgian-style Ale series (read reviews here and here) to talk fickle yeast, science fair projects, and Adirondack chairs.
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