Martin House Brewing’s Big Hoppa Is The Big Poppa Of Double IPAs And A Hop Lover’s Dream Beer. Plus, Its 11.9 Percent ABV Is Sure To Get Your Buzz Going.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Martin House Brewing’s Big Hoppa.

Fast Facts on Martin House Brewing Big Hoppa.
Style: Triple IPA.
ABV: 11.9 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 93.
Color: Deep orange—light copper.
Availability: Cans (4-banger paktech) and draft.

Just when you think Martin House has settled into a more mundane rhythm, it pivots and releases yet another new, weird beer. What’s better than a IPA or a Double IPA, you might ask? Martin House has decided that more malt and more hops is the obvious and necessary answer to that question. So while the Double IPA’s alcohol range is typically from 7 to 10 percent, Martin House dials it up even higher with Big Hoppa, a Triple IPA clocking in at a whopping 11.9 percent. It’s worth pointing out there that the terms double and triple aren’t super-official; rather, they’re loose identifiers in the IPA style that let you know where the beer lives in the alcohol space. For all we know, Martin House could have labeled this beer an Extreme IPA. But thankfully, we have avoided that mega-douche naming situation. For the most part, I’ll concede that I’m not a huge fan of the Triple IPA style. Is more always better? I don’t really think so. But let’s try this beer and see, yeah?

Background on Double IPA.
For style purposes, and to align more with the official Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, let’s take a look at a few points on the Double IPA style — and, for the Triple IPA style, just take these traits and add a healthy dose of more to it. Seriously speaking, though, the Double IPA style lives in the Strong American Ale category, which is all about showcasing American and new world hop varieties. You’re going to get pine, citrus and resinous hop action here. Big bitterness is commonplace, and lots of Double IPAs get a healthy dose of dry hopping as well. Because some beers in this style are not filtered, a moderate amount of haze can occur. Because of the large ABV, a smooth alcohol flavor is OK for the style (and not one of my favorite parts). If you’d like a more malty, sweet sort of beer that’s akin to a Double IPA, I’d suggest trying out an American Barleywine. But this style, along with its misfit Triple IPA cousin, should not hit you over the head with sweetness.

Big Hoppa pours a deep orange/light copper color into the glass. A bright, pillowy layer of foam is here, and it doesn’t go away. Even 30 minutes in, the foam still blankets the entire top surface of the beer. As I let this pour settle, I notice some tiny bits of what I think might be spent yeast or hop bits. That’s not a surprise, though, as this beer is a massively-hopped monster.

Some IPAs hang out and invite you to lean over and take a long, smooth sip. That is not what Big Hoppa is all about. I can smell the hop aroma without needing to lean in and get my nose in the glass. I sense a large amount of pine, citrus, stone fruit and a hint of something bubble gummy on the nose. On its website — and if you’re scoring along — Martin House states that it uses the following hop varietals in this beer: Columbus, Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic, Equinox and Falconer’s Flight.

This helmet beer is intense on the tongue! My first sip sends tingles along the edges of my tongue that continue to the way-back parts of both cheeks. There is a face-ripping amount of bitterness here, and I kinda dig it. The malt sweetness is here, and even though it provides balance, it is no match for the hop aroma and bitterness. After a few sips, my cheeks do continue to tingle on each sip, and I get a slow warming sensation along with it. The aftertaste is bitter, floral, boozy, and a bit sharp all at the same time.

This beer approaches 12 percent ABV, sure, but beyond its noticeable boozy notes and face-warming effects, it mostly drinks like a medium-bodied beer. Where’s the sugar-coating? Where’s the cloying sweetness? It’s not here! Amidst the intense bitterness, this beer also keeps its medium carbonation throughout the pour.

Overall Impression.
This beer might be one of those types that you split between a few friends. And I mean that, I think. I’m not sure if I’m 100 percent on-board with drinking an entire can of this beer by myself. Or perhaps I am? With each sip, either my taste buds are numbing from the bitterness and alcohol intensity, or I’m caring less. Maybe I will finish it after all? I mean, after paying $11 for a 4-pack of this beer, it might make sense to stick around and get that buzz on.

I think the play here is to get a pour of this beer at your local craft beer joint, as it’s likely that the bar will serve this beer in a more manageable, smaller format. (Sorry, cans.)

All in all, I’m impressed by this beer, but I may not buy it again. I don’t get any off-flavors or perceive some otherwise unlikable trait, and it’s fun to drink at first. But the novelty factor quickly wears off for me. This beer is a booze-monster, and it’s tough to get through. I can understand why some craft fans may absolutely lose their shit over this beer — it’s interesting, it’s intense, it’s a hop head’s dream. It’s a Double IPA, with more! But there’s this: Maybe because you can do more doesn’t mean you should. Sure, this IPA pushes the envelope of what we think of when we drink IPAs. And, yes, this is one instance where there’s a novelty associated with it since there ain’t nobody else in Dallas-Forth Worth brewing a 12 percent ABV IPA. And, yet, here comes Big Hoppa.

Score. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Martin House Big Hoppa a 7.75.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
• Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
• Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Collective Brewing Project’s Boysenbarrel: 10.
• Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
• Community’s Legion: 10.
• Martin House River Horse: 9.75.
• BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
• Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
• Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
• Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
• Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
• Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Collective Brewing Project’s SMaSHY: 9.2
• On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti: 9.25.
• On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
• Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
• Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
• Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
• Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
• Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
• Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
• Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Bankhead Brewing Co.’s Giggle Water: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Poblano Paradise: 8.75.
• Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
• Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
• Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
• Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
• Lakewood’s Peach Artsy Tarsty: 8.25.
• Lakewood Brewing Grand Allowance: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale: 8.
• Community’s Texas Helles: 8.
• On Rotation’s Moar Blackberry: 8.
• Lakewood’s Thread Spinner: 8.
• Bishop Cider Co.’s Sour Cherry: 8.
• Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewing’ Nine Volt: 8.
• Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
• Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
• Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
• Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
• Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
• Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
• Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
• Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
• Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
• BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
• Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
• Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
• Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
• Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
• Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
• Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
• Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
• Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
• Revolver’s Bock: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
• Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
• Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
• Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
• Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
• Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
• Four Corners Brewing Company Homie Brew: 7.75.
• Cedar Creek’s Grapefruit Haze: 7.75.
• Martin House Brewing’s Big Hoppa: 7.75.
• TUPPS Full Grown Man: 7.75.
• 3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
• Chimera Dirty Dog: 7.5.
• Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
• Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
• Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
• Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
• Texas Ale Project’s Good To Go: 7.5.
• Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
• Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
• Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
• On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
• True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
• Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
• Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
• Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
• Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek Brewery Clover Kicker: 7.25.
• Noble Rey Sex In A Canoe: 7.25.
• Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
• Deep Ellum Rye Pils: 7.
• 3 Nations Mango SMASH IPA: 7.
• Legal Draft Chief Justice Stout: 7.
• Manhattan Project’s Plutonium-239: 7.
• Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
• Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
• Wild Acre Brewing Company’s Billy Jenkins: 7.
• Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
• Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
• Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
• TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
• Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
• BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
• Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
• Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
• Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
• BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
• Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
• Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
• Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
• Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
• Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
• Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
• Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
• Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
• Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
• Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
• 903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
• 903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
• Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
• Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
• Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
• Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
• Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
• Martin House’s River House: 7.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
• Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
• Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
• Community Brewing Company’s Silly Gose: 6.75
• Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
• Three Nations Texas Xmas Hazelnut Ale: 6.5.
• Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
• Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
• Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
• Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
• 903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
• Four Corners’ Celebración: 6.5.
• Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
• Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• Cedar Creek’s Maui Wowie: 6.25.
• On Rotation’s Mexican Barleywine: 6.25.
• Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
• Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
• TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
• Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
• Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
• Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
• Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
• Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
• Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
• Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
• Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
• Woodcreek’s Lakeside Cerveza: 5.
• Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
• Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 5.
• Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
• 903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
• Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
• TUPPS’ Day Off: 4.75.
• Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
• Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
• Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
• Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
• Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
• Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
• Good Neighbor Brews Slim Sweetness: 3.
• Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
• Franconia Wheat: 3.
• 903 Brewers’ Mythical Creatures: 2.5.
• Miller Lite: 1.

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