SKA Brewing Modus Hoperandi IPA
By: Tyler Mais
Beer Heaven is somewhere. Some undisclosed region of the world where enthusiasts can relish a variety of never-ending craft beers. Where specialty brews dont cost an arm, leg and security deposit. A bottle opener is always quick at hand, and meals are planned around beer, not the other way around. We’ll have “Bourbon Barrel Aged” and “Imperial” beers bubbling from public fountains and every neighbor has a keggerator. Though Beer Heaven may only exist in our dreams, it is my humble opinion that Colorado is as close as you can get without going into the white light.
After spending five months backpacking through South America, I found myself in desperate need of a beer, or many beers to be more specific. So with eyes full of adventure and a parched mouth, I set out for Colorado. Having grown up in the Oregon, my beer expectations are fairly high. However, despite my hop-headed bias, I was determined to keep an open mind and palate in my new Rocky Mountain home. I arrived in Boulder during the first winter storm of the season, without a hat or gloves. I was embarrassingly unprepared for both the cold and the quality beer in Colorado. Not knowing anyone, I ventured into a quaint downtown coffeeshop expecting to find the average selection of java to warm my bones. Instead I gawked at a wide selection of local Colorado beers. I chose to put my faith (as I often do) in the server’s recommendation. As she selected a 12 ounce can, my casual smile turned into a boyish grin of delight as I witnessed a perfect pour into a chilled tulip glass! “Oh Colorado,” I said with a sigh, “You and I are gonna’ be just fine.”
The beer was in fact, a local and statewide favorite. It took only two sips to quickly become my benchmark for all Colorado IPAs.
First Impression: The brewers at Ska Brewing knew their audience when they decided to use primarily canned beers for their distribution. Printed around the upper rim of the can is the playful message; “Walk, Kite, Recycle, Hide, Seek, Plant, Recycle, Grow, Shower, HHH, Tube, Recycle”. I would imagine the Boulder community (which is notoriously adventurous and sustainable) would love this slogan. The imagery of three suit-clad gentlemen enshrined in Hops highlights perfectly that this beer is all about the HOPS!
Pour: A rich amber color and fluffy head screams to be consumed immediately. It took all of my restraint to properly smell, look, and smell again before taking my first satisfying sip. One whiff instantly introduced the star of the show; a bright, crisp, piney hop aroma.
Taste: The beauty behind this beer lies in its balance in the beginning and middle of the tasting. From a mouthfeel standpoint, Modus Hoperandi starts with a fresh, slightly citrus flavor, then slowly melts into a piney, robust middle hop taste. A barely detectable caramel sweetness helps guide the hops on their journey over your tastebuds. The result is a great and balanced beer from beginning sip, until exhale. The only real flaw is the slightly bitter aftertaste. This beer is a classic, high percentage IPA that leaves most people satisfied after only one or two beers. Personally, my NW roots love the unapologetic hoppy nature of the brew. But after two of these bad boys, I am happily buzzed and in need of a mint before kissing my lady. However, if this is the measure of the quality of beers found in Colorado, I am in for a tasty winter season.