Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.
With Christmas quickly approaching, it’s the perfect time of year to catch up with old friends and enjoy some of the best food the holiday season has to offer. Last weekend, my wife and I made the trek out to central Pennsylvania for an early Christmas celebration with friends. On the way, we decided to stop at Lancaster Brewing Company and pick up some brews to enjoy. Perhaps best known for it’s Baked Pumpkin Ale – I made sure to snag one to try – which is now done for the season, I asked the lady behind the counter for something super hoppy and she pointed me to LBC’s Boss Hog Double IPA.
Founded in 1995 in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, the brewery and pub produce close to 20 beers per year, with an emphasis on quality ingredients and creativity. The brewery’s efforts can mostly be found in a small six or seven state region around Lancaster. The brewpub is actually located in a repurposed tobacco warehouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and while we didn’t get a chance to stay for the food, it looked delicious and we plan on heading back in the future, perhaps when they’ve brewed up their Shoo-Fly Pie Porter, because I love shoo-fly pie.
Boss Hog Double IPA is a play on one of LBC’s year-round efforts, which is called Hop Hog IPA. It’s available in a four-pack of 16-ounce pounder cans and, at nine percent alcohol by volume, it’s safe to say LBC pulled no punches when it came to this effort. One of only two DIPAs in LBC repertoire, at least according to the information I found, Boss Hog is a year-round effort. Touted by the brewery as containing “citrus goodness” among other flavors, Boss Hog is recommended to be paired with salty grilled or roasted meats and sharp aged cheeses, though I tackled this beer solo, on mostly an empty stomach.
The can has your standard aluminum look, with a label placed atop it, but the artwork is kind of cool. It features a badass pig with a biker helmet and goggles on its head and wheat and hops woven into the design, with wrenches and bike chains added in to emphasize the biker motif. The label gives anyone unfamiliar with the beer a description of what they’re drinking, which I’m always a fan of – oh and there’s a hop with wings and the word “uplifting” inside of it. Here’s how the label reads, from the hog’s mouth:
“Overflowing with uplifting hop aroma and resinous, citrus goodness, our big, bad-ass Boss Hog 2XIPA delivers a crisp, clean, full-bodied palette that showcases its notable hoppiness, leaving you no choice but to enjoy another sip of this menacing brew.”
When I cracked open Boss Hog, I did not get quite as much of an aroma as I’d expect from a DIPA, though I could definitely note the smell of piney hops – it was a little sweet as well. I’m not quite sure where the sweetness came from, perhaps it was caramel from the malts? The look of this beer is a somewhat hazy copper, with an accompanying off-white head, which remained for much of the beer which was good. As for as the taste is concerned, Boss Hog is solid, providing a citrusy flavor with a hint of earthy tones and a nice touch of bitterness on the back-end. But, to be quite honest, it’s lacking a little and could really use just a little more hops to add a bit more of that signature DIPA flavor.
This beer is a run-of-the-mill DIPA, serving as a solid representation of the category but nothing to write home about. The four-pack was $12, which might be considered just a bit high for what you get, though it’s actually on point with its DIPA counterparts. Boss Hog’s average rating on BeerAdvocate is 3.73, which is a little high, as I give it a 5.9 out of 10. Don’t worry, Lancaster Brewing Company, I still have my eyes on that porter!
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.