I like a balanced malt bill and clean finish as much as the next guy, but sometimes when I’m craving a beer I just want to be socked in the mouth with alpha acids. My hopheads out there know what I’m talking about. I jones for that mouth-puckering, cheek-salivating, resinous, sweet and sour, chewy film of a delicious aftertaste that can only come from heaps and heaps of fresh hops. That bitterness is due to alpha acids, organic compounds found within female hop flowers.

While some people may think bitterness is a subjective taste, brewers can calculate it with a ratio of alpha acids quantified into International Bittering Units (typically seen on beer labels as IBUs). Your average American pale lager, say a Miller Lite, will contain around 10 IBUs, while a more bitter IPA like a Bells Two Hearted may have around 50. Certain freakish microbrews have claimed to top 1,000 IBUs, but really any number over 70 will always catch my eye. Thus I went on full fiending mode in Madison this weekend when I spotted the deliciously named Resin, an Imperial IPA from Sixpoint with an impressive 103 IBUs.
As a young brewery, Brooklyn’s Sixpoint has a growing reputation for pushing limits. Its brewmaster is a UW-Madison alum who was a part of the early days of Ale Asylum, and whom I believe distributes in Madison partially to show off his stuff. But whatever. Keep dropping these hop bindles, I’ll be copping every time.
Purchase: 4-pack of Resin from Star Liquors in Madison, $10.99
Style: Imperial IPA
Strength: 9.1 percent ABV
Packaging: The tall 12 ounce cans resemble Red Bull canisters, but the Resin is painted a cheeky lime green and gold with Sixpoint’s bold red star logo. It also has this W.B Yeats quote: “Whatever flames upon the night Man’s own resinous heart has fed.”
Appearance: Resin pours a cloudy amber-gold color with a beautiful eggshell white head.
Aroma: This smells like a sticky barrel roll in a fresh field of hops with mint, pine needles, lemon rinds, papaya, banana bread and wild flowers just a few of the scents wafting up from the glass.
Taste: It tastes like a freshly picked hop, with plenty of pine sap, spearmint, honey and lemon meringue over a base of nicely toasted grains, caramel and a wash of warming alcohol.
Mouthfeel: This has a full mouthfeel with the most chewy, puckering, salivating aftertaste of any beer I’ve tried in years. The brand name Resin couldn’t have been more appropriately assigned.
Drinkability: Resin is way too delicious for having this much kick. It’s not a sipper, per se, but you should probably limit to one per sitting. The flavor will stick with you for hour anyway.
Ratings: BeerAdvocate grades this a 90, and RateBeer scores it an exemplarity 98. This is easily one of the best beers I’ve tried in 2013, and if you’re any kind of IBU fiend, you really gotta hit this.