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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": Readers' Choice #2

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jun 13, 2007 4:00PM

2007_06_BOTWRC.jpgYou sure surprised us last week when we unveiled our first readers' choice "BotW" selection. Not only did you argue with each other over Goose Island Summertime, but Goose Island brewmaster Greg Hall interjected himself into the discussion and gave us - and by extension, you, since June is "readers' choice" month - propers.

But that was last week, and we expected some discussion among you in the comments; much like the ending to "The Sopranos," everyone's entitled to his opinion. Just remember that when we unveil this week's readers' choice in the next paragraph. It was recommended to us by reader Eric Monson of Lincoln Park.

Not content with offering us just one selection, Mr. Monson gave us a list beers that were in his fridge when we made the call for suggestions. The only thing missing from his details were the expiration dates on the bottles. While we appreciate unbridled passion as much as the next beer geek, Mr. Monson had us at this week's selection.

This week's reader's choice, courtesy of Mr. Monson, is Victory Brewing Company's HopDevil ale.

2007_06_botw24.jpgIn suggesting HopDevil, Eric said that it was a "great IPA: perfectly balanced and refreshing without being too bitter." Sure enough, like Schlitz, HopDevil gives you the kiss of the hops, with none of the bitterness. Unlike Schlitz, however, the kiss of HopDevil is akin to a long, slow, deep, soft, wet kiss that lasts three days. For all the hoppiness in this beer, there's also a balance of malt that one doesn't find in most IPAs. We found notes of grass, bread, and floral on the palate that would have paired perfectly with some grilled chicken breast. The spice from the hops on the middle of the tongue were amazing

Another thing we loved about this beer was foam retention. When we poured this into our glass the day we wrote out tasting notes, we took a phone call and left the beer sitting in the kitchen. When we returned ten minutes later, the foam was still as pristine as when we first decanted the beer. HopDevil left thick lacing rings on the sides of the glass. For a hoppy beer, the finish on this was very subtle and nondescript. Overall, this was a wonderful selection by Mr. Monson. Nice choice; we're going to have to re-read your e-mail and pick up your other suggestions.

Sam's Wine and Spirits lists HopDevil on their website for around $9.50 a six-pack. It, and Victory's Prima Pils, are selections worth picking up from this Pennsylvania-based brewery. But do it before the humidity sets in, and let us know what you think of Victory Brewing Company's HopDevil, Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."