Three Brothers Hoptimization IPA Review: Lots Of Bark, Some Bite

It seems that many breweries these days are founded by brothers, and I say, good! What better way to keep the family close than to brew and enjoy delicious craft beer? Three Brothers Brewing in Harrisonburg, Virginia is such a brewery. If you follow my reviews, then you know that the thing that probably annoys me the most, is when breweries do not give enough information about their company on their website. Come on, guys! We want to know who founded you, when, where, why, and how. We want to know your brewing philosophy, your goals, and your vision for the future. Unfortunately, breweries providing this information are few and far between. Three Brothers has a nice website and a nice statement of their ideas, but the only information we get about their history and their company, is that it was founded by Adam, Jason, and Tyler (what are their last names??), and started production in 2012.  And the only information they give about the beer in question, Three Brothers Hoptimization IPA (7.1% ABV), is that it contains bold, bitter hops. Sigh. Well, let’s give this beer a try anyway.

Everything On Tap Review: Three Brothers Hoptimization IPA:

Bottle: The label is a lovely shade of aquamarine with white lettering, and a darker blue-green logo highlighting the large digit 3. The glass is medium-dark brown.

Pour: The color is a deep copper-amber, lightly hazy, with a tinge of Sahara khaki. The head is beige with small, dense bubbles. The head dissipates at a moderate pace, leaving slight lacing.

Aroma: For an IPA, the caramel, roasted malts are overwhelming. They punch you in the nose with toast and light bread. After you recover from the old one-two, you can detect decent grapefruit and herbal hoppy bitterness. On the bouquet’s finish, some pine hops tickle the nose.

Flavor: Again for an IPA, the hops are too weak. The first flavor to hit the palate is roasted, toasted, caramelized, malted grains, as if it were an English ale. The hops come through in a bit of earthiness, some herbs, and a bit of pine resin. There is some bitterness, but for a beer called Hoptimization, the hops take second place to the malted grains. It is not bad, but it is just not what I had hoped for.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is very heavy and a bit creamy. The carbonation is low — very low for an IPA. So the entire impression is that of a stout, or an English amber ale, and definitely not an IPA. Again, it is a decent beer, but I want an IPA to hit me with hops and complexity, and this ale just does not.

Structure: As mislabeled as this ale is, it does have a decent structure. It seems solid and broad enough to stand up to strong food flavors, if not to aging.

Food Pairing: I imagine that this ale would go well with red meat, especially rare roast beef. It would also pair well with hard and tangy cheeses such as Asiago and Parmesan, and it seems like a great flavor combination for a great Reuben sandwich.

Overall Rating Out of 5 Possible Beer Mugs:

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