Coast Brewing Co.
HopArt India Pale Ale
If there was a flagship beer for the Palmetto State, I think arguably most would say Coast‘s HopArt IPA is the one. And for me, it was the first South Carolina beer I ever drank.
Even from my early days as a craft beer geek, HopArt has always been the one SC brew that’s stood out to me. Brewed year-round by the North Charleston brewery, the 7.7% IPA is a beast on both the malt and hop fronts using organic Two-row, Munich and Caramel 20 malts and Cascade, Centennial, Nugget and Mt. Hood hops. Aside from the Warhol-esque bottle art, HopArt will always be the first SC beer to cross my palate. Before my tastes had matured, the bready malts and biting hops weren’t very pleasing to me, but this has since become one of my favorite beers in the state.
The nose is a perfect balance of big piney hop notes and more mellow, biscuity malt tones. On the hop end, pine is the most prominent quality, and that’s backed with citrus and tropical fruits. Lemons and grapefruit dominate with a bit of peach and mango mixed in as well. The backbone is quite malty, with a sweeter biscuit note being the most noticeable throughout.
The contrast of the nose is just as prominent in the taste. It begins with an abrasively bitter hop flavor with those citrus notes popping early on. In the middle of the mouth, it’s a bit more mellow as it fads into the malts, but still stings the tongue. But on the finish, this thick, bready malt character takes over everything. Those biscuit flavors take over everything as the citrus fights its way through.
While the malts do a good job of balancing out the hops in HopArt, I wouldn’t exactly call it a balanced beer. It’s extreme on both fronts but at no point does it become too overpoweringly strong. There’s something hopheads of all facets can enjoy, whether they want pungent bitterness or smoother maltiness to their IPA.