John: An old Flemish myth revolves around the “hopduvel”. His is every farmer’s fear. I quote, “The hop farmers fear especially the hopduvel. The hopduvel stands especially for a storm which generally by the end of prevents august and entire hop fields can fall down.” It sounds like a label attached to the usual seasonal changes, storms, droughts, pests and diseases that farmers face year after year. Whatever the history the name of Victory’s brew is good.
Being the hops lover that I am I couldn’t resist Victory’s HopDevil. Reviewing on a hot summer Saturday afternoon while watching baseball made it that much more enjoyable. I love the smell and taste of hops and HopDevil met my expectation.
A nice, thick, copper head started me off. Even though the head only lasted a few minutes it looked good. HopDevil comes with a mouthfeel that is just heavier than water. Kind of “oily” in a good way. Of course there is plenty of hops but this malty/sweet ale surprised me. The backbone of malt took put me into sweeter ales that I enjoy and took away any harshness of hops. With the malt, smokey toast and caramel it was nice to sip. Finish is pleasant leaving memories of a good beer and a buck or two well spent. Grade: A
I really like this beer. If you are a “hoppite” you’ll appreciate the change and be able to add another strong hops ale to your repertoire. If you are a purist with hops avoid it because of the sweetness.
Michael: His beady red eyes glare, menacingly, mischievously. The small orange horns jut out of of his green, leafy face, a head of hops, revealing the devil he really is. Its HopDevil, the creature adorning Victory’s label and preparing me for a ‘menacingly delicious’ brew. My first round of Victory, was definitely a win. Their Moonglow was complex and rich, easy enough to be sessionable, but special enough to be contented with just one.
HopDevil initially was not my first choice. I was searching for their Prima Pils, which eluded me and thus remains on my to-do list. But, I wanted something sprightly, as it was to accompany the Superbowl and I figured a rich stout wouldn’t be quite the proper partner to such an occasion. Already staring at the Victory shelf, I grabbed a sixer and headed out.
My initial focus is usually on the appearance of the beer. I guess my reasoning for such routine is because, well, I was told to taste beer in just that certain way. With this beer, however, as the liquid rushed from the bottle to my glass, the aroma was so powerful I couldn’t help but be drawn in. The hops was booming from the glass, screaming citrus, grapefruit specifically, and earthy, piney tones. After gathering myself and holding the glass out arms-length, I could see the sticky head settle to a finger or so and rest on a copper, not-quite-clear body. It was intermittently disturbed by a few drifting bubbles of carbonation.
The taste was intense IPA. At first, perhaps a bit of maltiness, but that was soon drastically overwhelmed by the hops. The finish was intriguing. The peak of taste intensity was several seconds after I had swallowed. The hops lingered long on the back of my tongue, like I had a piece of the plant caught in my molars. For me, just testing the pale ale waters, this beer was a bit too big. But if you want a kick-in-your-face IPA, its seems like this should do quite the trick. Be careful, though, because at 6.7% a few of these could turn you into the mischievous one.
As not just yet a beer geek (although my aim is to be so), I can’t judge particularly well on style alone. Rather, I have just my opinion to give. So for some, this may be a bit of hop heaven, but for me, I don’t think I’ll be running with the devil again for some time. Grade: B
Final Grade: B+