A Wonderful Welly One-Off: Kolvoord Hopburst Double IPA
Like nearly any item, the value of a beverage is often determined by its scarcity. And recently, I had the pleasure — nay, the privilege — of trying an incredibly rare beer from Wellington Brewery called Kolvoord Hopburst Double IPA.
Wellington Brewery, known for its fairly run-of-the-mill Special Pale and Dark ales, occasionally releases what’s known as a “Welly One-Off,” which are special limited edition beer releases that are generally experimental and/or offbeat. With a run of just 1000 cans, Hopburst is like an albino rhinocerous — technically in existence but you’ll probably never encounter one. However, if you do, it will impress you.
Kolvoord Hopburst, which takes its name from an obscure Star Trek reference, is a double India pale ale (IPA), a beer characterized by its floral, citrusy and bitter notes. Unlike a standard IPA, the double varieties kick it up a notch, with higher International Bitterness Units (IBUs) and higher alcohol content. In the case of Hopburst, it’s got 90 IBU (that’s a hell of a lot), and 8.6 per cent alcohol content (that’s also a hell of a lot.)
While the stats might indicate a burly bastard of a brew, Hopburst actually impressed me with how reserved it was. The flavours were potent, with strong notes of grapefruit and cantaloupe, but while I was expecting to be assaulted by hops, I was instead treated to a nice, well-balanced, crisp beverage. Not to say it was soft — instead of being kicked in the teeth by bitterness it was more like being squeezed warmly in a bear hug. Drinking Hopburst is definitely a physically stimulating experience, but not entirely painful.
But I’ve got some bad news for you folks. It’s gone. All of it. I was only afforded the opportunity to try it because my co-worker (and esteemed liege) Julian Uzielli swung by Wellington brewery in Guelph, and grabbed the last six. I was just fortunate enough to be given one.
So what does this mean for you, poor, Hopburst-less folks? It means keep your eyes on Wellington brewery, especially their Welly One-Offs. When this craft brewery attempts something funky, it’s confirmed that the result can be amazing. So take a trip to Gueph, visit the brewery, and pick up some weird beer. Just remember to sip it slow.