In Your Face Hip Hop, In Your Face Hops

April 01, 2017

By Mike D'Orazio, April 01, 2017

You might be an IPA drinker. And you might be a hip-hop listener. But are you both? What you may not know is, hop-heads and hip-hop heads share something in common: aggressiveness.

We’re talking hard hitting raps. No soft shit! And we’re talking about huge IPAs. No session brews here!

The seven pairings below contain IBUs in the 100-plus range and rhymes-schemes of the in your face variety. Get hype!

Alpine Exponential Hoppiness and DMX, ‘X Gon’ Give It To Ya’

Honestly, is there a harder rap song than this? When he’s not rapping ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,’ DMX has historically been considered one of the most aggressive rap artists to ever come onto the scene. Throughout the ‘90s and 2000’s, his raw cadence had every hip-hop head walking around barking. His energy matches up perfectly with Alpine’s Exponential Hoppiness.

Described as “deceptively mild” for its alcohol by volume, the California brewery doubled down on the amount of hops during the boiling process when compared to its predecessor, Pure Hoppiness. There are so many damn hops in this West Coast triple IPA, the brewery used a couple of “body bag” sized hop sacks to finish everything off. If that doesn’t relate to DMX’s style, nothing does.

Green Flash Palate Wrecker and Run The Jewels, ‘Lie, Cheat, Steal, Kill, Win’

Since 2013, when Run The Jewels burst onto the scene, they’ve been killing tracks with ease on all three of their albums. On their second self-titled album, the track ‘Lie, Cheat, Steal, Kill, Win’ starts building with an forceful flow from El-P. Killer Mike follows through with some of his best work: “A revolutionary bangin’ on my adversaries/And I love Dr. King but violence might be necessary.” The track has a crazy crescendo that then takes listeners face-first into the hook.

Green Flash Palate Wrecker is as real as it gets when it comes to super-hopped IPAs. Stuffed with six pounds of Columbus, Centennial, and Simcoe hops per barrel, the IPA lives up to its name. Seriously. You can’t drink much after this one. At 149 IBUs, the fruitiness and hoppiness balance each other out after the initial shock to your gullet. Green Flash describes this beer as “hop-forward and aggressive,” so you know it’s the true pairing for the Run The Jewels track.

Knee Deep Simtra and 2Pac, ‘Can’t C Me’

Always controversial and frequently aggressive, 2Pac’s persona often outweighed his music. But in 1996 when the post-prison “All Eyez on Me” was released, fans heard a more hostile Pac than anyone had at that point. ‘Can’t C Me’ is a supremely aggressive George Clinton-assisted track that gets your head nodding in sync with the Dr. Dre-production.

A West Coast rapper like Pac should rightfully paired with a West Coast IPA like Simtra. Knee Deep's version is chalked full of citra and simcoe hops and “delivers a punch to the face” at 131 IBUs. Oh, it also clocks in at 11.25% alcohol by volume, so after one or two of these, you won’t be seen. Or can’t see. One of the two. Both?

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA and Eminem, ‘Just Don’t Give A Fuck’

If there was ever a rapper that embodied the spirit of not giving a fuck, it is Eminem. Controversial, aggressive, and brash, Em has said so many offensive things over the years you almost forget about the quality and substance of his raps. Syllable stacking and lines like, “Cursin’ at you players worse than Marty Schottenheimer” and “You ain’t gon’ sell two copies if you press a double album” made doubters believe a white boy could carry the baton.

Although not as hoppy as their infamous Hoo Lawd, Dogfish Head's 120 has withstood the test of time, sometimes literally. This high-octane IPA is actually cellarable, should a drinker choose. A rare option when it comes to IPAs. Described as “the holy grail for hopheads,” Dogfish brews this beer with a 120 IBU target and is saturated with high-alpha American hops throughout the boil. Ranging anywhere from 15-20% alcohol by volume, 120 Minute will get you doing your best Eminem impersonation.

I be tossin' and flossin', my style is awesome/I'm causin' more family feuds than Richard Dawson.”

Short’s Liberator and Busta Rhymes, ‘Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check’

Throughout the history of hip-hop, there haven’t been too many emcees with the raw energy that Busta Rhymes possesses. His wild and off-the-wall style compliment his classic and eccentric flow: “Watch me knock you out like Apollo Creed/Body blows busting your shit, making you bleed.” A child of hip-hop’s golden era, Bussa Bus always came correct with his rhymes.

Short’s Brewery certainly fits the bill of being off-the-wall and eccentric. Their seasonal Double IPA, The Liberator, is stuffed with 42 pounds of hops, which is twice as many as their next hoppiest brew. While being brewed, Liberator is hit with hops every four minutes for 120 straight minutes. And to cap it all off, they douse it with lemon and orange zest during post-fermentation to make sure your palate ain’t in check.

The Alchemist Heady Topper and Wu-Tang Clan ‘Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F' Wit’

Can I get a Wu-Tang? Straight from the slums of Shaolin, Wu hit the airwaves in ’93 with something most hip-hop heads hadn’t heard before: raw, aggressive, group rap. The nine highly-skilled emcees beasted on their debut album “Enter the 36 Chambers” and cemented the album as a hip-hop classic. ‘Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F' Wit’ fully embodies the album with rhymes like: “I be tossin' and flossin', my style is awesome/I'm causin' more family feuds than Richard Dawson.”

When you think of beer classics, Heady Topper should ring a bell. One of the first beers to truly set off the East Coast IPA craze, hop heads have been going wild over this brew since 2011. The beer is brewed in Vermont and only distributed within a 25-mile radius of the cannery, making it highly coveted. While the East Coast style is typically sweeter than other high-alcohol, West Coast IPAs, Heady comes packed with 120 IBUs for you to drink directly from the can. Be prepared to throw up your W’s.

Stone RuinTen and Travis Barker/Yelawolf ‘Push ‘Em’

The rap/rock duo of Travis Barker and Yelawolf provides more than ample energy for any hip-hop listener’s pleasure. Right from the jump on ‘Push ‘Em,’ Barker gets off to a frantic start with his commanding drum riff. Yelawolf jumps in with his southern style and compliments the fast-paced track. When the chorus hits, you know this track was built for moshing.

Stone describes RuinTen as “a stage dive into a mosh pit of hops.” Fitting? You know that’s right. When you crack a bottle of RuinTen, you’ll taste five pounds of hops in each barrel, twice as many hops as the Stone classic Ruination. The hop profile consists of Magnum, Centennial, and Citra. Sweet and bitter, RuinTen will hit your tongue with 110 IBUs and comes with a fitting tagline: Ruining palates since 2002.

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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