Tonight I had to deliver some tickets for tomorrow's Cubs game to my friend Mike, who lives in Burr Ridge. I could have just as easily--no, much more easily--mailed them to him three days ago, but the hand delivery gave me an excuse to say hi to Mike. That, and Brixie's is on the way back from his house. And who trusts the postal service anyway, am I right? Tonight was a worthwhile trip. I made a couple bar friends--a fireman and a hair stylist--and also a pretty satisfying beer choice.
Usually when a beer has the name Hop [superlative/animal], I get a bit leery. My experience is that these tend to be the one-dimensional hop bombs--to steal a term from Zuch--that don't distinguish well from one another. But Bridgeport, an Oregon brewer, is new to the area, and I'm a sucker for the chance to try new things before everyone else.
As the name implies, Hop Czar is a double-IPA, but it wasn't at all the hop bomb I'd feared it would be. If anything, I'd say it's maltier than it is hoppy. Of course, it could very well be that I've been on such an IPA kick--'tis the season--that I've desensitized myself to the hops.
The aroma has a strong floral scent with a little citrus, but it's also quite musty. It's the first beer I've ever had that smells like both real flowers and fake flowers at once. It drinks pretty nicely for the 7.5% ABV, starting out syrupy sweet and malty and finishing piny and bitter. Brixie's serves it in a 12-ounce glass, but I don't think it would be a stretch to have a full pint. That said, it is a slow-sipper if you really want each tilt of the glass to count--no more than an ounce per.
Grade: D, for deceptively branded, and I mean that in a good way. I wouldn't make special trips to Oregon for it, but now that it's here, I would gladly drink it again.