Before you read this know that I have had a few beers before this one even touched my lips. Not necessarily on purpose, but the first few I had planned on reviewing, apparently we have already reviewed! I guess that is what happens when you have a few years of BOTW already done! What this means is that this review is going to be amazing…even if the beer is sub par.
Let me start this one by stating a scientific fact: East coast water is different. It has different minerals and there for different profiles, knowing this it is hard for me to compare east coast beers with our beers accurately. But hell, I love the beers out west and they are the thing by which I judge all others. So I guess they’ll simply have to deal with it.
For this BOTW I chose the Wildcat IPA from Old Bust Head Brewing company in Vint Hill Virginia. This caramel colored IPA is not modeled off of West Coast IPA styles that tend to be big and crazy, and while they do a good job, it is hard for it to hold a candle to true big IPAs of the west. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. The beer is well balanced and while it somewhat masks it’s 6.2% ABV you can tell this is a bigger beer. The thing that throws me is that there is not that bitter punch in the face hop bomb that a lot of big west coast beers present. Instead this is a complex fruity beer with tons of sweet mild malts that is a joy to drink and aside from the banjo music in my head it could be from anywhere in the US. The thing that I truly dig is that they did it their way, they did not try and copy the others that brewed a bready mildly sweet respectable beer that I think spans the styles and could find a fan in anyone. Good beer is good beer no matter where it comes from and this is one hell of a beer. For the fun of it I checked it’s ratings on Beer Advocate and was pleased to see it ranks at a solid 74% which means good but not great. And while this may seem a little odd given what I have said remember this was meant to be a transition beer, a beer to get folks stoked on hoppier beers without scaring them off and they did a hell of a job! So I guess at the end of the day if you like good beer, and are open to different qualities in beers based on ingredients and the regions they come from this beer should be on the short list.
The good folks at Old Bust Head definitely love their craft and they do a fine job at it. Unfortunately they do not distribute out there in Colorado so take a road trip and while you’re there bring back a few cases for us!
Cheers and Beers!