Morale: Very Low

Brewery and Country of Origin: Throwback Brewery of Warehouse Unit #3, 121 Lafayette Road, North Hampton, NH, 03862, USA

Date Reviewed: 10-02-13

As Throwback Brewery tells you, this is a hoppy beer which gets its primary character from organic Willamette hops sourced from Foothill Hops Farm in Madison County, NY. Now, if you know your American history, you'll immediately question why that is. After all, Willamette hops are named after the valley in which they're grown which happens to be in the state of Oregon, not New York. Fortunately, New York boasts a good climate for growing sensitive plants like wine grapes (around the Finger Lakes), and of course, hops. Willamette hops are similar to British Fuggle hops, and as we just said, are named for the large valley region of Oregon which was brought to the forefront in the 90s... to nerdy computer whiz kids, of course. Yes, we are indeed referring to the wondrous MECC PC game franchise simply known as Oregon Trail. The games (our favorite was 1996's Oregon Trail II) "simulated" the arduous and sometimes deadly pioneer trek across 19th century America to yes, Willamette Valley in a covered wagon. You've probably played the game before. If you haven't, well, yell at your parents. While on your journey, you had to traverse scorching deserts, ford "extremely treacherous" rivers, and endure the harsh winters of the plains, all while keeping you and your family free of various diseases like Cholera, Walking Pneumonia, Typhoid, and Whooping Cough among others not commonly found in the developed world anymore. But it wasn't all doom and gloom. You also got to hunt for game and harvest wild fruits. Occasionally, you'd come across a random person with a 21st century Ohio accent in headgear asking if you want to trade your 8 oxen, 12 boxes of bullets, $156 dollars (which could buy you France back then), a 2014 Ford Fusion Titanium, and probably your oldest daughter for an ounce of chamomile and an ox yoke, which always conveniently broke hundreds of miles before Fort Hall. But perhaps the best part of Oregon Trail II was starting at Independence, Missouri, where you (obviously choosing to be a doctor) optimistically bought your family all of the provisions you envisioned you'd need out on the trail. Essential things that easily fit on a covered Conestoga... like a piano, two cast iron stoves, spare wagon wheels, three banjos, two dressers, and multiple anvils. And don't forget the gratuitous food and medicine, just in case you don't come across enough wild berries on your trip west. If you make it to your destination (Oregon City) without dying, you're rewarded with some land and an epilogue which chronicles your fate in Oregon. Some of the time, you become a successful entrepreneur, doctor, lawyer, or explorer. But let's be real. You probably didn't make it to this point because you died of dysentery along the way.
Date Sampled: 8-12-13 (8-10-13 original) At: 7 Prescott Place, Allston, Boston, MA 02134, USA
Beer Style: American Red IPA
Alcohol by Volume: 6.40%
Serving Type: Brewery Growler, 20 oz Mug Glass
Rating: 3.91


Hopstruck pours somewhat smoothly with a below average level of carbonation action, giving this beer a third inch tall foam head with a low density and a low retention rate. This beer is fairly shiny and has a clear appearance with no visible sediment. This beer has a deep reddish color with some brown hues and displays a moderate amount of lacing.


The aroma is full of moderately strong citrusy and piney hoppy bitter notes and is balanced with some roasted malt sweet caramel like character. This beer has a fair bit of nutty sweet cookie or biscuity notes. The aroma starts off with a sweet beginning and leaves the olfactory senses with a bitter, floral hoppy sensation. There is no alcohol in the aroma.


This is a medium light bodied brew with a below average viscosity and a matching weight. This beer has a moderate amount of carbonation and a slightly dry and crisp finish. Overall, this beer is light, easy to drink, and has a crispness which delivers a good amount of refreshment. This beer offers a small amount of trailing coolness, and no alcohol warming.


This is a sweet beer for an IPA with a good deal of roasted sweet caramel malt and a noticeable amount of nutty biscuity notes. After the initial sweetness subsides, the traditional piney and slightly citrusy northwestern hops take center stage in what is a pretty bitter, floral aftertaste which lingers for a bit of time. There are no fruity notes or alcohol present in the aroma.

Our Take

Provided you survived the long journey, you may have become a farmer whose primary agricultural product was that of Willamette Hops. This aromatic, floral, and slightly fruity hop variety is very bitter and is the sole reason why this red ale has an IBU of 72. This is a hoppy beer full of citrusy flavors and a full, aromatic experience, all mixed in with a fair amount of crystal and Munich malts which help balance this relatively easy going IPA. This beer also differs from the norm as a Red IPA, offering a bit more color, slight malt notes, and depth to its richness. This is a versatile beer which goes well with burgers and grilled chicken, as well as softer cheeses. We'd recommend it to anyone looking for a good, hoppy beer with a nice balance, a strong citrus profile, and a good amount of crispness.