If you walk into just about any brewery one thing they all have in common is a flagship IPA, on draft all the time. There’s no denying that IPA is at the forefront of the craft beer boom and for a lot of brewers a solid IPA can make or break the brewery. Beers like Two Hearted Ale by Bell’s and 60 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head are brews that you’re likely to see anywhere in the country and for good reason, they pack a ton of flavor into a 12 ounce bottle and are always satisfying even for the most eclectic hop-head. Train Hopper is Witch’s Hat’s flagship IPA, it’s a beer that has been around every time that I have popped in for a visit and continues to be one of the most satisfying beers on tap at the South Lyon Brewery.
Starting with the pour Train Hopper fills your glass with a beautiful light copper color and has a light pearl colored head. Right on the tail end of that picture perfect pour is a fresh and floral, paired with some citrus, giving a clean and balanced out aroma that is as pleasant and refreshing. Keep in mind, this all before even tasting the beer. Train Hopper is brewed with 5 different hops, so there is no questioning it this is a hoppy beer. That doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of Train Hopper though, the brew is balanced out exceptionally well with some nice citrusy notes on the front end and a dry finish with hints of pine on the back. One of the most impressive feats of Train Hopper is that even with an ABV at 6.9% and an IBU of 72 the brew is still relatively lightly bodied. It might not be as light as a session IPA but everything is so well balanced out that Train Hopper is an enjoyable pour even on the hottest days of Michigan summer in which the temperature gets up to a humidity fueled 95 degrees.
I started this review by talking about how pretty much every brewery has an IPA on tap all the time. On a personal note the overall abundance of the style has often left me tired of IPA in general. However, when it comes to Train Hopper this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Train Hopper was the first beer that I ordered when I discovered Witch’s Hat and the beer was definitely love at first pint. It’s been almost 5 years since Witch’s Hat first opened their doors and to this day Train Hopper is still a beer that I order on a regular basis. I’ve never gotten a glass of Train Hopper and sat thinking “man I really wish I ordered something else”, these thoughts simply don’t happen with this beer. You can’t underestimate a beer that satisfies and delivers day in and day out regardless of the circumstances or whatever mood you think your palate is in that particular day. Train Hopper fit’s that bill, it’s consistently good enough to be a daily pint while still managing to be complex and flavorful enough to satisfy those who might not have the option to drink this brew on a regular basis. If you’re a hop head make the trip to South Lyon and grab a pint… or a growler.. or both!