Beer Review: Jack’s Abby’s Hoponius Union

Jack’s Abby is an excellent brewery from the not-so-excellent town of Framingham, MA. They’re celebrating their second anniversary and because I’m too cheap to drive out to Framingham for a growler of their Second Anniversary Lager, I figured I’d celebrate the occasion with their standard-bearer, Hoponius Union, an IPA-inspired lager. An IPL, if you will. And you will.

hoponius #1

From Jack’s Abby:

This lager harmoniously combines lager yeast fermentation and west coast IPA hops. Our India style Pale Lager is like a traditional IPA but with a twist – it’s fermented cold and aged for extended periods. A blend of classic American hops creates a huge tropical fruit and citrusy hop aroma. A dry finish accentuates the pleasant bitterness and hop profile. Hoponius Union uses locally grown dehulled spelt from MA.

OG 15.5 Plato / IBUs 65 / ABV 6.7%

Beer Advocate: 96, 95
RateBeer: 99, 100
Untappd: 4.04

You’ll notice the 100 on RateBeer’s style rating. As far as I’m considered Jack’s Abby defined/created this style. Often imitated, never duplicated. Accept no substitutes. Word.

Appearance: Hazy golden to yellow in hue. I held this up to a yellow light bulb and got Princeton orange, but under the LED light on my iPhone, it’s straw yellow. Deceptively colored, I’d say. The big fluffy white head leaves a minimal lacing. YMMV on the lacing.

Smell: God, I love hops. This is better than (okay, as good as) sniffing glue. Lots of citrus (grapefruit), some grassiness and some pine.

Taste: Smells like it tastes. Crisp with a good maltiness to balance the hops, while still allowing them to take center-stage. If this beer were a band, the malt would be the Edge and the hops would be Bono. Also, the band would be better than U2.

Mouthfeel: Clean. Dry. Effervescent. Everything you’d expect from a lager. But also not too thin, either. The best of an IPA with the best of a lager.

Final Verdict: 4.5 out of 5. Buy it.

This India Pale Lager, a style-defining brew, is a triumph of craft brewing in the truest sense of the term (that may or may not have existed before right now). Jack’s Abby says it “harmoniously combines lager yeast fermentation and west coast IPA hops” and I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a better description. Though my U2 one wasn’t bad.


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