Bear Republic Hop Shovel IPA

Bear Republic Brewing Co - Hop Shovel IPA

Brewed by: Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Beer Classification and Specs

  • Style: IPA
  • Variation: American
  • Seasonal: No
  • ABV: 7.0%
  • IBU: 100

Notes: Bottled for the first time in 2017.

Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients

Hop Shovel is dry, but with a soft and rounded mouthfeel achieved by using a high proportion of wheat and rye. Hop varieties Mosaic, Meridian, and Denali provide an abundance of flavor and aroma.

Hops: Mosaic, Meridian, and Denali

Malts: Wheat and Rye

More Hop Shovel Images

First Impressions

Artwork: An old timer is holding his hop shovel filled with whole cone hops.

Color: Golden, with slight haze.

Aroma: Powerful orange citrus.

The Tasting

Arrived in: 12oz. Bottle

Served in: Specialty IPA Glass

When visiting family up in the North Bay Area over the years, a required activity was always a trip up to the Bear Republic Brewing brew pub in Healdsburg, CA. Nothing beats a Big Bear Stout paired with one of their many amazing burgers.

In recent years, we always wanted to try this beer called Hop Shovel. Whether it was a seasonal offering or limited release, we never knew — since we always kept missing it. One time we came as close as the keg kicking the day before we got there. Luckily for us, Bear Republic solved the problem by putting it in bottles year round for 2017.

This beer got off on the right foot immediately — as soon as the cap popped and hissed, its bright citrus notes were in the air. After splashing down into the glass Hop Shovel IPA’s aroma intensified, like a pulpy glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. It packed big time notes of orange peel and citrus juice, with some undercurrents of stone fruit at the end of each whiff.

Appearance wise, Hop Shovel IPA looked like a traditional West Coast style India Pale Ale, with a pure white head. That sticky topper rested on a light golden colored body with a slight haze to it from the rye and wheat. There were very mild levels of carbonation, with some slow traveling trails of effervescence.

Its lessened carbonation levels and mosaic hop profile made this beer TOO easy to drink. Hop Shovel’s light body created a bone-dry crispness that paired wonderfully with its punchy citrus character we wanted more of with each sip.

Hop Shovel started off smooth, where citrus notes of tangerine and orange slowly built. In the finish it transitioned from juicy citrus, and started to bring on the India Pale Ale bitterness we were after. It left our palates gently pulsating, but we wouldn’t say this beer drank like it was over the top with hops.

And that was the most impressive attribute to Hop Shovel — how well it hid its bitterness. Hop Shovel went down with the ease of a session ale, yet offered plenty of tangy citrus hop character to go around. It just didn’t come across like 100 IBUs worth. More like 65 or so.

Final Score: 3.5/5

3.5 Stars

We have been waiting many years to try this Bear Republic creation, and it was totally worth the wait. If you’re after a 100 IBU experience that goes down with seemingly much less bitterness, and the juicy flavors of tangy citrus, Hop Shovel IPA is the beer for you.

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