Hop Head India Pale Ale | Tree Brewing

very good
124 Reviews
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Hop Head India Pale AleHop Head India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Tree Brewing
British Columbia, Canada

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Over a decade ago, we brewed one of the most innovative IPA's in Craft Brewing. To this day, our award winning IPA is the benchmark for Real IPA's...as our saying goes "Drink Real Ale Cause Bud Is Just For Smoking"! Hop Head is full bodied and loaded with hops, delivering a distinct taste and aroma.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-13-2003

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Reviews: 124 | Ratings: 221
Photo of pugdogbeer
4.63/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Hop Head IPA from Tree Brewing in Kelowna BC is a very smooth, easy-drinking IPA owing more to American IPAs than its maltier Canadian and British cousins.

Cirtusy, sweet smell with a nice orange colour with lots of lovely lacing.

This is one of the smoothest, easy-to-drink IPAs I have ever encountered.

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Photo of MAB
4.54/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beerfly notice: Often available, on-tap, at the Hop-In Brew house, in Calgary.

Quite possibly my favorite bitter. I had this at a "Beerfest" event in Penticton, BC once and the guys had samples of cask-conditioned Hophead (with handfuls of hops thrown into the cask just before sealing it, they told me). It was heavenly.

This is not a beer for the faint of heart. If you don't like tasting hops, you're going to hate this beer.
But if you're the kind of person who would almost rather smell the beer than drink it (I said, ALMOST rather), then this is the beer for you.
Nice color, a bit more red than gold. Not as yellow as the picture on the box.
Fabulous aroma- as noted.
The taste is almost all hops, all bitterness, but it doesn't rip your tastebuds apart, either. There are also citrusey notes and there is an underlying sweetness from the malt. I find the balance to be not as badly skewed as others have suggested.
Well worth seeking out if you're a fan of the style.

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Photo of BenConnery
4.51/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was given a sample of this by a very helpful barmaid at the Railway Club in Vancouver.
The dark golden colour suggested it could be on the lighter side for an IPA. The hop presence was obvious from the first sniff of the glass.
The malts where present but the big thing for this beer, not surpisingly given the name, was the hops. I felt that despite the strength of the hop flavours and aroma the balance was beautiful.
I kept wanting to smell the beer again before every sip.

I do like the maltiness and hopiness of IPA's but prefer them a little more muted than most American style IPAs. This one seemed to achieve a flavour and feel somewhere between the english and american ones I felt, but I'm no expert (perhaps that would make it a true Canadian IPA).

I really liked this beer.
Mouthfeel? Hops...

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Photo of OliasOfSunhillow
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

By the time I got around to reviewing this beer, it was four months out of date -- I'd purchased a large quantity in Nelson, BC and squirreled it away at home. Oops, last bottle, better write something down. Despite being past the "enjoy by" date, the beer hadn't suffered a bit -- just as lovely as my first sip ever at Doc Willoughby's in Kelowna.

This is everything you want in an American IPA -- lovely amber color with a large white crown of foam, piney and citrusy hops everywhere in the aroma and the flavor, perfect balance between malt and hops (though my definition of that type of perfection is admittably skewed), drinkability for days!

I'll bring even more of this back next time I'm in BC.

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Photo of the42ndtourist
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(CANBIF beer)
mmmm... I love the way Canadian brewers do (India) Pale Ales.

Pours reddish, with white head. Nose is of Pacific hops, lots of wonderful aromas floating around. It's backed up by a slightly biscuity malt backbone, that does well to balance the hops. Bitterness is strong but not overly so.

A very well balanced beer, with plenty of hop flavours to satisfy. I like it a lot.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has a great label, covered in hops. It pours a pale gold color with hyperactive carbonation and lots of clingy foam that turns to a ring of lace. the aroma is of cascade hops with a juicy fruit malt background. The taste is an IPA lovers dream, very citrusy and piney with lots of pure bitterness. Id say it was hoppier than the Maximus Double IPA I also had tonight. Biscuity malt flavors hold up the rear. The mouthfeel is smooth and mouthcoating with hop oils. Is this beer bottle conditioned? the carbonation feels like it. This is a great IPA (and my first beer from BC).

I recommend it.

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Photo of IPEHs
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 341ML bottle to a glass.

A- Good looking amberish copper colour.

S- A good whiff of hops and citrus.

T- Hops are strong and linglering on the pallet, but still a very pleasent drink.

M- Bitter, but with a lagerish carbonation that opens the pallet to a nice hoppy finish.

D- Great beer. Has a nice balance of hops, malts and carbonation.

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Photo of Garin
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear coppery gold beer with a nice effervescence. On top floats a creamy, dense, sticky, lacey head that just won't quit.

Pine and citrus hops dominate the nose, with hints of caramel underneath.

The flavour is all IPA. Resinous, and a solid citrus peel bitter, with loads of hops at every level. Strong bitterness starts early and lasts through the aftertaste. A lingering sweetness stays on the tip of the tongue, and a clean maltiness builds over time. Grapefruity burps afterwards.

Smooth and easy drinking, I can drink this all night. At the GCBF this year, I did. It's utterly fantastic. Boy do I ever wish I could get this in Alberta.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hubba hubba, I'm glad I brought a 6 of this home with me from the West coast. Great looking ale, tight creamy white head that recedes to a solid cap, brilliant clear copper body with lots of carbonation action. Considerable lacing as well. There is some caramel malt hiding behind the lip-smacking aroma of aggressive hops, along with pine, grapefruit, and some lemony citrus as well. The flavour is one big soul kiss of Cascade hops, earthy, piney, citrusy, through which a small breath of toasted malt manages to come up for air briefly every once in a while. The best Canadian IPA I've sampled yet. Smooth creamy mouthfeel at first, but becomes oily on the finish due to the hops.

We used to have this available in Calgary back when Tree first started in about 1994-95. I think it's high time we got it back on the shelves here in Alberta again, I'm chomping at the bit for more.

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Photo of LadyBastet27
4.36/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first beer that I have tried from Tree Brewing and let me tell you it won't be my last. Doubt I can get it in Ontario but I'll try. Pours a deep amber/pumpking colour with a creamy, pillowy, good sized head.
A sweet aroma of perhaps banana but spruce/hops too...Medium body that was lightly bitter.
Lively carbonation and a nice long, hoppy finish. Overall I was quite impressed.

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Photo of Derek
4.36/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the Guildford mall Liquor store in Surrey, BC. I'm not sure if this was a particularly fresh bottle, but this is AWESOME!

A: Very clear, orange-copper tone with a fluffy white head, great retention and lace. Exceptional.

S: Citrousy Pacific Northwest hops (floral & citrous), with a little bready malt.

T: Certainly balanced towards the bitter side, but very smooth. Not at all harsh. Pleasant British Pale malt, slight caramel flavour, with a huge wack of Northwest hops (quite assertive, but not overbearing). Very nice.

M: Moderate body with a slightly acidic feel. Moderate to high carbonation, prickly.

D: Very drinkable.

I think this one's under-rated. In a blind tasting, it should compete with the best of them. Perhaps it's the modest 5.8% ABV that detracts people... but it's still packed with quality flavour, and it's just that much more drinkable!

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Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a clear golden/orange, medium sized white head forms, stays all the way through, laces nicely. Smell is hoppy, lots of pine, caramel and citrus. Taste is nice and balanced, lots of pine and floral, with some grain and caramel. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Excellent IPA, best Canadian IPA I've tasted yet, at least in bottled form.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

20oz pint at Bottlescrew Bill's in downtown Calgary - this was my introduction to hoppy IPAs (fuck you Alexander Keith!) a few years ago, and here I sit now, with a tap option right in front of me!

This beer appears a clear, medium orange-brick amber hue, with one chubby finger of thickly foamy, somewhat bubbly, and eventually creamy off-white head, which leaves a respectable amount of patchy webbed lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells evenly of grapefruit/orange citrus pith, lemon-heavy iced tea powder, biscuity and bready caramel malt, and further floral, leafy astringent hop notes. The taste is bitter grapefruit, orange, and lemon rind up front, followed tightly by a bewildered dose of crackery caramel malt, a bit of wet white bread, and rounded out once again by some mildly bitter floral hops.

The carbonation is fairly soft, in a tacky, frothy sort of manner, the body a decent medium-full weight for the style, mostly smooth, and even a bit creamy. It finishes more or less consistent, the semi-sweet malt, and varied bittering hops lingering for a whole while longer.

As previously mentioned, seeing this on tap for the first time was a very pleasant surprise. It is a fair bit fuller and smoother in draft form, but is otherwise quite in line, flavour-wise, with the bottled format that I usually put back in large-ish amounts, when the occasion calls for it. One of Canada's best for the style, IMHO.

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Photo of prosper
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

served at 45F.

Pours a nice clear golden amber color. weak head that dissipates quickly, some of the foam clings tenaciously to the glass - but not much.

Smells absolutely glorious. A toasty, yeasty smell, like fresh baking bread. Lots of caramel, and slight hints of fruity esters, like peaches or apricots. Fruity, citrussy hops are a highlight - probably Cascades or Crystal, or one of the other pacific west coast varieties.

Tastes like it smells. Has a hint of evergreen, perhaps, with lots of earthy, toasted flavours, and dried fruit. Finishes with hops, and a grapefruit-like astringency. Quite dry, but with a very full body. There are far more hops in the aroma and flavor than bitterness. I'd guess most of the hops were added late in the process.

Mouthfeel is slightly astringent, moderate acidic co2 zing. Full body.

I could down plenty of these. I'll buy more.

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Photo of Hornet2003
4.24/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-This looks like your average IPA. Coppery reddish brown colour with a fluffy white head.

S-Hoppy. haha. What do you expect? Citrusy fruits. My friends are regular Molson drinkers and they thought it smelled like grapefruit. That's what I like to hear!!

T-Very refined, clean, crisp taste. Not too bitter even though it is aggressively hopped. Somewhat dry finish since the malt back bone is not as pronounced in this beer. This is pretty much the hop bomb of BC IPA's(well this, and Phillips).

M-Very pleasant. Not too prickly on the tongue. Just enough to keep the tastebuds on their toaes.

D-This is my daily drinker beer. Very smooth. Not too much alcohol(5.8%ABV) and no where near as ridiculously bitter as some of the other PNW IPA's around these days.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a tulip pint glass.

Deep rusty red and copper orange and very clear. Some good slow rising thing carbonation below a somewhat thick and faint tan four finger billowing controlled head. Some ring like lacing and island retention thick capped top. Always manages a puck while drinking.

Great nose on this. Soft hop citrus, and juicy sensing qualities. Some sweet leafy herbal tea and faint caramel. Highly aromatic but nothing exceptionally large.

Palate delivers nicely with a varied hop quality. First taste is bitter grapefruit oils and warmth, followed by a minty aftertaste and refreshing soft bitterness. Nice toned down sweetness with some caramel like senses in the mid palate. Great controlled lingering bitterness finish with orange pekoe like tea. Very light bodied with just a touch of playful carbonation, but not a wet palate at all.

This really packs a great hop punch for an easy low ABV. One of the better Canadian made IPAs I've had in some time.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Christie's Carriage House - pint comes a golden color with a thin sweater of head.

Nice light, fruity hops smell on the nose - grapefruits and other citrus fruits couched in a sweet malt backdrop.

Not overwhelming hops but they're lively and fresh. Grapefruit with dashes of other citrus, mixed with bittering hops in the body and a hint of pine. Not an overly active malt body but a sweetness is hidden there. Too light body but enough hops to keep in mind that this is a legit IPA.

Good carbonation, lively exciting drink. Not an American West Coast IPA but close - a Canadian version. Hoppy enough to meet my fix and drinkable enough to have multiple pints. Check it out!

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Photo of bludtek
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Slightly hazy light amber. Not that much of an off-white head.

S - Fresh and hoppy. Citrus and fresh cut juniper boughs come through.

T - Grapefruit and bitter hops quickly has its way with the initial malty sweetness. This beer is all about the hops. Wonderful floral,then intense citrus, and finally pine and cedar sharpness carry this beer through its long finish. This micro brew conisitently delivers.

M - I have to say the hops dominate this one (not that there is anything wrong with that). The malt puts up a good fight, though, and makes for a good mouth feel. A lingering bitterness follows(another characteristice I do not mind) that wants my nose to explore a bit further on the next sip.

D - I love this beer. It gives me the bitterness, taste, and aroma of hops I often feel is missing from other beers. I definitly seek out the few stores in town that carry it. I can see how it might not be for everyone, but for hop lovers it is definitey worth a try.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured into pint glass aug17 2009

A clear golden copper, with a big head that slowly forms a island, lots of lace, not quite marking each sip but still very nice

S lots of hops(go figure) heavy citrus lots of grapefruit and some pine

T like it smells, but bigger flavor and a little bit of well balanced malt and some booze i could not smell. other then there DIPA this is the best tasting beer ive had from tree brewing, just a toned down version of the DIPA

M/D no complaints here this was hard not too drink, downed 2 in the time it took me to write this

too bad the DIPA is a seasonal, this works very well in between, well worth trying

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Photo of BigBry
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad to see Tree Brewing available in Calgary.
Standard 341 ml brown bottle, hops everywhere on bottle and on case. Pours crystal clear, dark gold color, lots of little bubbles keep on going. Full, dense, creamy head with great retention, nice lacing too. One inch of white foam against the golden liquid, good head stability - beauty. First smell is pine, but also pick up citrus (grapefruit), the hops dominate like they should. The flavour is exactly what you expect from an IPA. Lots of hoppiness, more citrus and grapefruit matching the smell. Just enough malt to balance the fruitiness and bitters. Slight oily finish, just enough to leave the hop flavor on the tongue. Smooth, easy to drink, with just enough bite to clean the palate.

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Photo of Noxious26
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass.

Clear, gold-orange colour. Thin white head recedes to a skim across the top. Lots of carbonation streams. Patchy lacing down the sides.

Aroma is loaded with strong hops scents. Citrus fruit, pine, and floral dominate the nose. There is a hint of sweetness in the background.

Hops, hops and more hops. True to it's name, this is an exceedingly hoppy beer. A bit of a sweet touch on the tongue at the swallow, but almost immediately swept away by a rush of hop bitterness. Finish is bitter as is the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied and moderately carbonated. Very crisp, but with a bit of an oily feel left in the mouth.

The hop dominance and bitterness might drive away some, but I would actually call it only moderately bitter. Certainly not excessive. This is actually a rather delicious brew, but I don't think it's something I'd want to drink all night. That hop bite at the finish would probably get to me after awhile. All-in-all, I'd buy this regularly if it was available in my area.

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Photo of mickeymac
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this on tap and from a bottle on a recent trip to Vancouver. It's a nice golden orange with a foamy head that leaves a fair amount of lace. A nice, piney hop smell dominates but enough malt is backing it to make an impression. At first, the taste didn't really hit me that well but after trying a second, I was hooked. It's slightly sweeter than many IPAs but not sticky sweet; very well balanced. Drinking more than two starts to produce that familiar hops stuck to the tongue experience, so it may not be an all-night. However, it's quite drinkable.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - nice amber hue, one finger of soapy toffee coloured head

S - definite floral & piney hops dominate, exactly what I would expect from an American IPA

T - nicely bitter floral/piney hops at first, then a spicy but caramelly malt linger on the tounge

M - starts sharp & spicy with an expected hop kick, but smooths out nicely on the aftertaste in spite of the spiciness

D - with a 5.6% APV, I still think this is a very easy drinking IPA, enough punch to satisfy the hop lover, but I could see myself easily starting a big night off with several of these

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Photo of Orrshow
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Pours deep golden amber with some off white frothy head. The head retains reasonably and leaves tons of lacing.

Smell – Lots of hops odors when put to the nose. Floral and citrus hops are very present. It’s clear that cascades are used here. I can also smell bread and caramel malt aromas. Nice.

Taste – Extremely bitter from the start. Bread flavors come next with slight caramel sweetness. There is lots of citrus as well with some pine flavor. The aftertaste is a dry and bitter.

Mouthfeel – Toned down carbonation and a great body. It’s a little oily as well.

Drinkability – Top notch. I like my hops though…so it won’t be great for everyone.

One reliable IPA that I like to revisit. Tree's best beer by far.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- This nectar was poured fairly aggressively into a pint glass and the result was a nice, tightly wound layer of bubbly foam that starts out around one finger thick and settles into a thick patchwork over the beer itself. The color of the brew is a very hazy coppery-gold color with tinges of orange when held up against the light. Hard to tell what the carbonation is like but the lacing is very nice with thick clumps of foam clinging and creating shapes on the side of the glass, before slowly sliding back into the beer.

S- Well balanced between somewhat citrus hop bitterness and caramel malt sweetness. The hops themselves have grapefruit qualities with other assorted citrus rind tartness while the malt portion of the aromas suggest honeyed toffee and bready richness.

T- Overall this is rather light in flavor, however, after the swallow, the sticky honey sweetness really lingers on the palate. Balancing tastes of caramel malt balance orange-esqe bitter/tart hop cones that are somewhat floral, somewhat piney....perhaps some other assorted fruits are mixed in this as well but are too muted to define properly.

M/O- Good medium bodied brew with decently aggressive carbonation make this quite a delightful IPA to enjoy....I enjoy the chewy malts and the bitterness to counter the sweetness....this is rather drinkable and this one really is assisting in me getting more into the style! Good with a salty snack and the alcohol is hidden but creeps up on a person! I recommend this one.

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Hop Head India Pale Ale from Tree Brewing
3.82 out of 5 based on 221 ratings.
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