Always at the forefront of American stunt brewing, Dogfish Head says it has concocted an India pale ale that clocks in at an insane 658 IBUs, making it the “hoppiest beer ever documented.” For quick context, the number of IBUs, or International Bitterness Units, in a Bud is about 10, and abrasive imperial IPAs that some consider an acquired taste rarely top 100.
In Dogfish’s release, founder Sam Calagione says Hoo Lawd, as it’s known, “isn’t for everyone,” but it “comes with bragging rights.” It’s brewed using an extract from three normal kinds of hops, plus a freak experimental variety called Alpha Beast.
While this resin-y taste exemplifies the pivotal styles of early craft brewers like Sierra Nevada, beer enthusiasts’ hop-mania isn’t even about actual beer anymore: There’s hop soap and lip balm, hop tattoos, hop Christmas ornaments. With any luck, Hoo Lawd will start a hops-arms-race armistice, since what Dogfish isn’t saying is that it’s possible humans can’t even taste up to 658 IBUs.
Either way, the beer’s going to be on tap tomorrow at Dogfish’s Delaware brewpub, where people will line up and do what they always do with beers brewed with whale testicles, wild beard yeast, or the gimmick du jour: Try it once and then never again.