When Karbach broke many of our hearts (mine included) and joined “the evil empire”, one of the reasons they gave for making the move, was to allow them to experiment more with their brewing. So far, I have not seen much different from Karbach other than the Radler they decided to brew (rolling my eyes a bit here). Maybe now, we are finally seeing evidence of their experimentation, with the changes they are making to Hop Delusion. Hop Delusion started out as a Summer seasonal beer and was one of my favorites in their line-up. Now Karbach has turned Hop Delusion into a series, that will feature a different version quarterly. Space City Edition is the first of the new Hop Delusion series and it appeared in one of our Label Approvals post back in October. The second variant, Hop Delusion brewed with Mango, appeared on our latest beer Label Approval posted late yesterday, so look for it on shelves soon.
Like the original Hop Delusion, Space City is a double IPA that clocks in at around 9.0% ABV. The twist with this version is that it features Galaxy and Comet hops. My sample was canned 12/18/17. Space City pours as a clear, pale copper with a moderate head that leaves decent lacing. The aroma is of pleasant grapefruit with a little malt sweetness in the background. It’s a nice scent but not super powerful. Like most beers in the IPA family, the flavor follows the aroma – plenty of grapefruit with an edge of pith, something I don’t particularly enjoy. This is not a flaw, more of a “to each their own” type of thing. There’s a nice lingering grapefruit bitterness that hangs on the tongue, which adds to Space City’s appeal. The bitterness is listed at 100+ IBU by Karbach and the astringency in the mouthfeel reflect this. I enjoy the straightforward DIPA approach, especially after having so many hazy IPAs lately. For me, the astringency is a bit too heavy on the grapefruit flavor, hurting the complexity a bit, to recommend as a “must drink” beer. I’m sure most IPA fans will be pretty happy with this one though. I prefer the original version of Hop Delusion, but I am interested to see what they do with their upcoming mango version.