I always have high expectations from Toppling Goliath. Time and again, the Iowa-based brewer rewards my faith with stellar, hop-forward pale ales, IPAs, and DIPAs. Its double IPA King Sue—considered by many to be the brewery’s best beer—is a standard-bearer of the style, a true standout among a crowded field of contenders. But, for my money, King Sue isn’t Toppling Goliath’s best double IPA. That distinction belongs to Hopsmack!, a tropical hop bomb that delivers big fruit and doesn’t neglect the bitterness necessary to balance it out.
Hopsmack! is heavily dry-hopped, but it holds onto very little hop haze with a mostly clear body—at least when you dodge the particulate in the bottom of the can. The appearance may be the only area Hopsmack! can’t compete with the best in its class, as the orange body doesn’t hold much light. A decently sized white head forms and hangs around, but the end result is, dare I say, a little dull.
If the appearance is a hair of a letdown, the aroma is anything but. Hopsmack! smells like someone spilled an entire bottle of pineapple-mango juice while cutting up fresh pineapple and mango. It’s a ridiculously strong and distinct blend of fruit that has me excited to dive in for a taste.
The loud juxtaposition between bright, sweet, and bitter is exactly what I want in a double IPA.”
This is the kind of beer I typically end up reviewing from memory because it goes down so fast. Hopsmack! tastes like that blend of juice and fruit from the aroma, but with the bitter punch of an old-school West Coast IPA. The pineapple and mango combination rings through clearly on each sip with bright and sweet fruit flavor before the hops, well, smack you right in the face with defiant bitterness. The loud juxtaposition between bright, sweet, and bitter is exactly what I want in a double IPA.
Bitterness seems to be a dying trait in IPAs, but Hopsmack! does its part to reverse that trend, as a whopping 100 IBUs make for quite the punch. I love every bit of it. Hops work best when brewers use the full spectrum of flavors you can get from them: tropical, citrusy, grassy, and bright, but also bitter. With Hopsmack!, Toppling Goliath makes the best use of each, and the end result is one of the best DIPAs available.