We’ve all got those beers that we really, really want to try and one of the top beers on my bucket list was the Humulus Ludicrous from Half Pints, based in Winnipeg, MB. Luckily I was able to snag a bottle through a trade (as well as most of the regular Half Pints portfolio), allowing me to try one of the more respected Double IPAs in Canada. For those who attended Cask Days, you may have sampled some Half Pints beers – Smoktoberfest (a Rauchbier) or Punk n’ Fest (a caramelly sweet pumpkin beer). (There was also a pre-Cask Days event at Volo that featured the Humulus and other Half Pints beers, but I was sadly too sick to attend.) The Humulus Ludicrous was also apparently destined for the LCBO at one point, but unfortunately things fell through. You can probably come to your own conclusion about who was at fault for that one.
This was an interesting beer to review in the same week as the Muskoka Twice As Mad Tom, because there is a distinct link between the two beers. The ABV on the Humulus is slightly lower (8% to 8.4%) and the larger IBUs (100 to 71) are offset by a bigger malt character. The Humulus is another big beer that could have been brash, but chose restraint in many ways. The nose had a lot of pine, green earthiness, toasted and caramel malts. Citrus and pine dominated the flavour, but the nutty caramel flavours from the cyrstal and Munich malts add balance and a lot of sweetness. The finish is quite bitter, but offset partially by the substantial backbone of the malts. There is a touch of astringency in the end underneath the resin. The mouthfeel is a little oily.
The Humulus is a good example of a Double IPA that is more of a seasonal beer. The malt character is too big to be a summer beer, but it lends itself very well towards cool fall evenings. It’s pretty close to fall in a glass, actually – pine needles and the earthiness of crunchy leaves. There is definitely a lot going on with this beer, even if it doesn’t appeal to hop heads because of the malty backbone. Good things are definitely happening in Winnipeg and Half Pints are quickly becoming a brewery to watch.