Distilled: Evil Twin Brewing’s Hipster Ale

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From the July 24, 2014 edition

Evil Twin Brewing launched in 2010 and has been very productive since. Even though the company is constantly brewing new styles, Evil Twin still adheres to the idiom “quality over quantity.” It’s a brewery that’s produced a stable of solid and straightforward traditional styles while experimenting with unconventional recipes — mostly with success.

While it’s not one of my all-time favorite breweries, Evil Twin has more than earned its place in the circle of trust. So when I came across their Hipster Ale ($11.99 a six pack), I was a bit taken aback.

Was Evil Twin trying to cash-in on some cultural phenomenon (by using a term even the hipster-est of hipsters don’t like)? Or is the Denmark-and-Brooklyn-based brewery poking fun at hipsters? Or is it just some poor marketing idea?

After reading the ridiculous description on the side of the can, I’m guessing Evil Twin is attempting all three of these ploys. Or perhaps none of them? Like actual hipsters’ principles, Hipster Ale’s design is intentionally indeterminate.

But whatever the story is with Hipster Ale’s poorly-chosen name and concept, it all comes down to what’s inside the can. Evil Twin’s American pale ale is solid and perfectly enjoyable for the dog days of summer, but not without flaws.

Now what I see as a flaw, others, particularly hop heads, are probably excited about. Simply put, Hipster Ale is pretty hoppy for a pale ale. This is kind of a shame because the initial hop flash almost completely covers up the beer’s best elements — some nice citrus (a mildly sweet lemon) and subtle fruit flavors that would play very nicely within the traditional pale ale style.

If the hops were too much initially, the aftertaste went way too far in the bitter direction. Here it was closer to a strong IPA than pale ale.

Even if Hipster Ale goes too far with the hops — Evil Twin also produces a number of different versions of this beer using one hop varietal — it’s still pretty solid. Que sera sera, the beer lovers currently love their hops, so give ‘em what they want.

Photo by Meghan Ralston