GIVEN THE THOUSANDS of breweries now operating in the States and the untold slew of new releases each year, some degree of repetition is to be expected. Even so, perhaps Fort Collins Brewing ought to have reconsidered before releasing Hoptitude. Not only does the beer pick a fight with Sierra Nevada’s burly Hoptimum (which is a better pun, moreover),it also tips drinkers to gird up their tastebuds for a serious hop assault.
Reading a little deeper reveals Fort Collins real intent, which will send serious hopheads elsewhere for their fix. Hoptitude is indeed pitched as an imperial pale ale—but not an imperial IPA. Rather, this is an imperial “extra pale ale,” and the distinction is an important one. Instead of the deep amber hues, skyrocketing IBUs, and sticky thick bodies of a seriously amped-up IPA, Hoptitude rates only 5 SRM and 54 IBUs. Nor does its 7.5% ABV fall too assuredly into imperial territory.
Hoptitude’s aroma confuses things further, being suffused with pale malt husks instead of juicy nectars. Where are the hops? On the palate some citric, orange, and floral notes do eventually poke out along with a bit of pine, but the overall impression remains quite malty (caramel and honey, though too pale overall to be very full). A straight bitterness finally arrrives in the finish, though too late to synch up with the flavors that preceded it. It’s commendable that Fort Collins made an effort to bridge the gap between two styles—Double IPAs and American Pale Ales—but the product misses the point of both.
Served: 12 oz bottle