If you’re going to name your beer after the B.O. of a mythical half-bull creature, name your brewery Hoof Hearted, and then – just to top it off – have the minotaur fart on the label, it better be pungent.
Thankfully, it was.
I sat down with a couple friends at Jury Room last week to try new Columbus brewery Hoof Hearted’s Musk of the Minotaur IPA, and the aroma isn’t bullshit, but it is strong. Sweet orange predominates, backed up by the sharpness of lime, grapefruit and pine. This quartet carries through to the flavor, with the orange transitioning to a big mango flavor out front, and the lime sharpening and becoming spicy like ginger. There’s a little alcohol warmth present too, and it accentuates the spiciness of the hops. The sweetness hits you right up front, fades, and then comes out again on the finish. The mouthfeel is excellent, velvety smooth, with a nice round medium body and a finish that drops off quick but then lingers for a minute longer.
But it needs a little work. I think filtering ales is for pansies (unless it’s through hops!), but this hazy, cloudy, straw colored brew looks more like a hefeweizen than an IPA. Some cold crashing and more careful racking is in order. It was a little undercarbonated for my taste, but my friends thought the creaminess made up for it. The flavor needs some work to be as bold as the aroma, and although there’s sweetness, there’s no malt character. Toning down the harshness would perhaps let a little malt through. Do not misunderstand me though, this is 80% of the way to being a great beer.
We noticed Four String’s Brass Knuckle APA was on tap as well, and thought it might be a nice comparator. I had tried it when it first came out and thought it was badly flawed, but I’ve had it several times since and enjoyed it. We expected it to be a bit smaller, owing to its being an American pale ale and not an India pale ale, but imagined it would be a good local bout nonetheless.
I have to say, Brass Knuckle is one of the prettiest beers I’ve seen, crystal clear with a beautiful bronze hue. And the phenols were gone, thankfully. But alas, inconsistency struck again and the aroma was gone, too. The flavor was lacking in hop character, and frankly sort of boring. It was well-carbonated with a thin body and a quick finish. It was no longer objectionable, but no longer interesting. I hope they can dial it in with time.