Hop Ottin’ India Pale Ale

Anderson Valley Brewing Company in Mendocino County, California is one of my favorite breweries, as it produces some solid beers across different style ranges. I love their 20th Anniversary Imperial IPA, Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, ESB (Extra Special Bitter), and my old reliable Hop Ottin’ IPA. AVBC is also one of the pioneers in sustainable brewing, with solar power providing for around half of the brewery’s energy needs, in-house recycling and wastewater treatment facilities. They were recognized by the Waste Reduction Awards Program of California five times from 2000-2005. The packaging also carries some fun and quirky attitude, from the references to Boontling – a local dialect which is used in beer names and underneath bottlecaps – to the company mascot, which is an amalgamation of a bear and a deer (ergo, a beer). Personality aside, a brewery isn’t worth anything if it can’t produce good brews, and AVBC does deliver.

At around Php 135 retail, this is the best value IPA one can get their hands on in the Philippines. Global Beer Exchange, the sole distributor of American craft beer locally, went on sale for the Holy Week, selling cans of AVBC brews at only Php 100 each. Of course, I had to get a six-pack, and only because I didn’t have enough spare cash to get a case.

In the Boontling dialect, Hop Ottin’ is translated as “hardworking hops,” and indeed, the hops work overtime in this beer. It’s immediately noticeable with the piney, resinous aroma. Once you take a sip, you get real good initial wave of biscuity malt, followed by a lingering, palate-coating hop bitterness. This may not be as great smelling as a Sculpin, or as blatantly hoppy as one of Stone’s beers, but as far as locally-available IPAs, this one is a go-to for me, especially when on a budget.

I wouldn’t recommend this for first time IPA drinkers, though, as they may find the bitterness overwhelming. For that purpose, I’d say it would be best to start with English-style or East Coast IPAs such as the Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale or Victory Hop Devil, respectively, and then going on to increase the International Bittering Unit (IBU) level as the palate adjusts. There are some people, though, myself included, who are just born hopheads and will love this style from the initial sip.

Bahl hornin’! (It’s good drinking)

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