Hoppin’ Frog Teeny Tiny Test Batch IPA
The funny thing I quickly learned about Hoppin’ Frog’s Teeny Tiny Test Batch IPA is that, apparently, after they made a test batch, they just kept on making more of the stuff.
So, it seems this Chinook-hopped beer worked out well for them. I have to say, it’s an enjoyable brew, with a fresh aroma and flavor.
Brewer Fred Karm actually told Cleveland.com that it was the third batch of his experiment that hit the mark, prompting him to take it “from 10 gallons to 10 barrels.” That’s not a teeny-tiny batch, but it isn’t exactly a shipment of Bud Light either. Apparently, I was lucky to find a bottle of the stuff from this Akron-based brewery. It actually came out during the summer, so I’m a bit late, but if I found it, surely there is still some around.
This Teeny Tiny Test Batch IPA has a hazy golden color more typical of a pilsner or wheat beer than an IPA, which was interesting. The thick, bubbly white head stuck around with plenty of lacing as the beer was consumed.
The aroma carries an initial citrus quality with lots of pineapple, yet the oncoming bitterness is evident. Since it is a lighter bodied IPA, that means a thinner malt backbone, allowing the hops to take front and center position. Interestingly, the initial taste was a bit odd and unexpected and, frankly, difficult to describe.
Once I took a few sips of it, it settled into being a crisp, dry-ish, and very drinkable medium-bitter IPA with a hint of a biscuit or cracker quality to it that plays well with the piney bitterness and pineapple notes.
When I started getting toward the bottom of the bottle (it was a 22-ounce bomber, so it took a while), the beer began to develop a lingering, sharp aftertaste that seeped into my throat a bit. It was a bit of an acidic tartness that was not necessarily unpleasant, but unexpected. In short, if you grab one of these, you may want to share it with a friend.
This beer marks the first time Hoppin’ Frog used the American hop Chinook, and it turned out a pretty good, 55 IBU India Pale Ale with a manageable 7 percent ABV. Rest assured, the experiments and teeny tiny batches are ongoing, so expect more of these.
Hoppin’ Frog is big on putting out specialty beers on draft and in bombers. Expect more, potentially better, teeny tiny IPA experiments.