Last February, Beersurfing travelled to the Bay Area to hunt down that fabled beer known as Pliny the Younger, rated to be the second best beer in the world by BeerAdvocate and various others. They weren’t kidding, and the younger Pliny was excellent, but I would be crazy to not tell you about the countless other fine beers I found in the surrounding Bay area. I just found all of my notes a couple of days ago, (including some jotted down on a BART train schedule), and I owe it to all of you to tell you about each and every beer sampled in this wonderland of craft beers. If you love craft beer a little too much, the Bay Area is a great place to be!
Starting off this epic adventure was the Hop Crisis from 21st Amendment. This was the very first beer I had on the trip after 8 hours of travelling by plane and 1 hour of trudging through the rain in downtown San Francisco. I wanted the strongest IPA they had on the menu and some food that went well with it, so they brought out a pint of Hop Crisis and a delightfully delicious mushroom swiss burger. A brilliant topaz color, the Hop Crisis offers a very diverse aroma – I definitely detected maple syrup, rock candy, cedar chips, sawdust, and an unbelievable amount of hops. The taste was less impressive – the taste was overpowered by the bitterness of the dry hops, and it makes no attempts mask its 10.8% alcohol content at all. It was numbing on the palette and almost papery; suffice to say, it was difficult to finish.
Overall, the Hop Crisis certainly isn’t worth flying 800 miles for, but it hit the spot after a full day of travelling and was only the first of three beers at 21A. While I’ve had far worse beers, this one was entirely too bitter for my hop-loving taste buds, and should probably be enjoyed only by the the most die-hard hop-heads. Getting past the first sip is tough, and you really need to soldier through that entire pint. A pint of Hop Crisis will set you back $6 at 21st Amendment’s downtown bar, a bargain by San Francisco standards.