Soaking up the suds with James Crane

Firestone Walker — what the hell are you doing? Have I not been paying enough attention? I realize you have a good many brews that I haven’t tried. Sure, I drank some of your barrel-aged beers, and they were delicious, but what have I been missing out on? You have a big, full catalog, and my experience with you only tackles a small percentage of it.
This week, I’m drinking their Luponic Distortion. The can was rather unassuming, labeled as “Revolution 002.” There wasn’t anything to explain that and I didn’t think to give it much heed. Upon doing a little reading on their website, however, it became clear. What they have planned is really quite interesting.
Luponic Distortion is not really a beer. Well, I mean, it is a beer, but Luponic Distortion refers more so to a line of beers. The individual beers in the line are referred to by number, meaning the one I’m currently drinking is Luponic Distortion Revolution 002. In truth, they are all generally the same beer with one notable exception. Each one will use a different mix of hops.
Exploring hops isn’t anything new. That’s a rather popular trope in modern beer. We’ve shoved them in dried, fresh, in pellets, in the mash, during secondary fermentation and even right into the bottle. I’m not familiar with any brewery doing it in quite this fashion, however. With everything else being equal, this would be a great way to really experience the difference between different hops. It’d really give one a feel for what a certain combination tastes like as one could easily contrast them with another brew of different hops. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a list of which hops are present in any of the different versions.
The pour wasn’t anything too special. The brew was a pale yellow with an appropriate amount of white head on top. It left some lacing down the side of the glass, but I won’t be writing any poems about it any time soon. The scent, however, was really quite inviting. It was all about the hops. It didn’t smell bitter or skunky, as hops sometimes can, but it did seem to showcase every other aspect of the bud. There is citrus and pungent chlorophyll. The hops smelled fresh and juicy. There was a lot of fruit undertones happening there.
The taste was a little bit of a letdown after the scent, however. It wasn’t that it was bad, it just didn’t match the interest the nose generated. One thing worth noting was that the hops actually hit the tongue up front. It was the biscuity malt that was there on the finish, providing a nice, savory end. The hops themselves were almost kind of sweet, like fruit sugar. There was just this slight bit of bubble gum, just to emphasize that juicy part that much more. It wasn’t super abrasive or strong in flavor, as many brews that emphasize their hops can be. It was a bit more gentle and subtle than that, but still quite hoppy in its own right.
I believe the strength of this brew will be in trying its successors. It is a bit of a letdown that I missed the first one, but I’ll certainly be on the lookout for future iterations. With so many hops in the world, it’ll be neat to see what they do next. It may be a novelty, but it is a novelty I can get behind.

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