Titletown Brewing Company
With the Brewers' season now over, the Packers have an even bigger influence on my weekend beer purchases. It's hard to image a better beer for a Green Bay game than one from Titletown Brewing. This small brewpub has recently increased its distribution of draught beer in the Madison area, and among its offerings that go well with the Packers is the aggressively hopped Hopasaurus Rex IPA.
What is it? Hopasaurus Rex of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Style: The India Pale Ale (IPA) emphasizes the bitterness of hops, which provide herbal, citrus and piney character to both aroma and flavor. IPAs are medium-bodied and often golden- to copper-colored. They range from 5.5% to 7.5% ABV.
The IPA beer style emerged in the 1700s when British brewers found that using a large amount of hops would help preserve beer during long sea voyages. When all or at least the majority of the hops used to make an IPA are varieties grown in the United States, as with Hopasaurus Rex, it's given the American IPA distinction.
Background: A few years ago, when Titletown brewmaster David Oldenburg was developing a recipe for his IPA, a dinosaur exhibit at the nearby Neville Public Museum in Green Bay provided the inspiration for an aggressive hoppy brew. His Hopasaurus Rex is made with four types of American hops, including Cascade, Chinook, Warrior and Citra. The combination gives this beer distinctive grapefruit bitterness, especially when it's fresh.
Hopasaurus Rex is usually served at the brewpub in Green Bay, and ranks among the top three best-selling beers for Titletown. Unfortunately for Madison beer enthusiasts, it's available on tap only at a handful of local bars and restaurants. Hopasaurus and other Titletown beers have made recent appearances at the Old Fashioned, the Malt House and Dexter's. But if you miss it, it's likely to reappear every few weeks, because Titletown tries to send about a dozen kegs a month our way, and this brew often among them. The beer finishes at 6.5% ABV and sells in Madison bars for around $4/pint.
- Aroma: Assertive floral hoppiness.
- Appearance: Golden copper color, slightly hazy, and a medium tan, rocky head.
- Texture: Medium bodied with a moderately sharp mouthfeel.
- Taste: Lots of citrus and grapefruit bitterness.
- Finish/Aftertaste: The dry grapefruit bitterness lingers long enough to give it a crisp ending.
Glassware: Hopasaurus Rex will commonly be served in the basic bar pint, which doesn't add or detract from the beer. The strong hoppy aroma and flavor will be the star of the show no matter what glass it's in.
Pairs well with: With all its citrus-bitterness, this beer might overshadow many dishes. Select an entrée with modest spice that will hold its own against the hops. If you're looking for munchies for a football game to share with friends over a Hopasaurus, try an order of cheese curds (and if you're at the Old Fashioned, order the sharp and flavorful Tiger Blue sauce).
Rating: Four Bottle Openers (out of four)
The Verdict: I really like a grapefruit type of bitterness in an IPA. It seems dryer and crisper than IPAs with resiny and piney hop tones. The sharp citrus nose and crisp bitter flavor of Hopasaurus Rex is solid from beginning through its finish. You may want to call around to your favorite tap-houses to see who has put the most recent keg on tap, because it's definitely best when enjoyed fresh, when all those hops roar onto your taste buds like a Tyrannosaurus Rex chasing down a meal.