Calling all hopheads: Do Not Miss This Beer; Pond Hopper is going to make a serious impression—and once it’s gone, it’s GONE. PhD.EPA, as we’ve chosen to abbreviate this beer’s name, pours a slightly hazy pale copper color, dressed with a massively frothy, thick off-white head. The aroma… ah the aroma… this beer oozes fresh hoppiness. Look for spicy hops, citrusy hops, tropical fruit hops, piney, resinous hops, minty hops—all manner of different hoppy notes—provided by all US hops (Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, Perle) supplemented by a single Australian-grown hop (Galaxy, selected in honor of Thorbridge’s Caolan Vaughn, an Australian living in the UK). Tons of hops, but not out of whack—there is balance provided in the backdrop of British malts (including Golden Promise British Pils). The double in the name does not disappoint—the flavor is intense. Initially, pungent hop notes blend with an intense alcohol sharpness, almost giving the impression of a hop liqueur. Notes of melon emerge in the aftermath, as do many of the massive hop notes from the aroma [notably tropical (mango), pine and mint]. The malty character tries valiantly to compete with the hops, and it does hold its residual sweetness, but this is just not a fair fight—it’s like bringing a butter knife to a ninja battle! Of course, a ninja could probably do some pretty wicked things with a butter knife, but you get the point… Get it? Point!? We digress… Tasting this beer, “English” may not jump to mind—as it drinks like a monumentally epic Pacific Northwest Double IPA—but we admire the boldness in taking a British base for the malts and going absolutely medieval on the hops front… OK, maybe not medieval, since, hops were not really used in beer during most of the medieval era, but, again, you get what we’re saying (we’re saying this is some sadistically hoppy beer). But don’t misunderstand—the massive hoppiness that we’re describing is largely limited to the aroma and flavor—the finish is only moderately bitter, which feels more lightly bitter in the overall hoppy context of the beer—and that’s just what the brewers were going for with their use of hops and offsetting sweetness provided by the heavy-handed British malt bill. The high ABV and bottle-conditioning will allow this beer to hold up for years in your vault, and while usually we say that hop forward beers should be consumed fresh, this beer is so hoppy when fresh, that while you really do need to taste it now, it’s going to get pretty interesting as it ages and the hops mellow out over time. We can’t say with certainty what it will be like with extended aging, since this is a one-off brew that was just born, but we expect a smooth, refined maltiness to be allowed to play a more dominant role in the flavor profile at about 12-18 months in the bottle, and that this beer will hold up for 2-3 years to come. That being said, we can’t stress enough that it is a must-try right now, in its infancy. Brewed to be featured in June at this year’s SAVOR event in Washington, DC—which is already sold out—our members are getting to try this beer 2-3 weeks before it hits store shelves in limited supply. So covet thine supply thusly, and share it only with the most loyal of subjects. Cheers!