With winter in gear, so to is hoppy beer. Hops are integral to a beer’s (specifically IPAs) bitterness, but they do much more than just making beer bitter. Hops exist in thousands of varieties, and can emulate the taste of almost anything, specifically fruity flavors like pineapple, citrus, and more earthy, plant flavors like pine and grass. Best of all, bitter beers augment the heat of of spicy dishes; what more way to feel warm than to singe your taste buds?
My current kick with beers is from Dust Bowl, a brewery local to the Central Valley, located just below Modesto on the 99. I like variety, so I naturally picked up a box of their Hoppy Variety Pack: Hops of Wrath Indian Pale Ale, Tomorrow’s Clear West Coast IPA, Peace, Love, and Haze Hazy IPA and Mouthful of Miracles cold IPA. I could go on about all their descriptions and tasting notes, but for simplicity sake, the “cold” IPA was quite unique. Cold brewed beers are traditionally lagers, which are smooth beers that often lack hops. On top of being a lager IPA, I swear its grains a bit toasted, making it a perfect winter buddy.