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 vanrassel
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a good IPA, but I can't help thinking it's missing something.

It looks and smells good: a nice copper colour, thick head and a bitter hoppy aroma tinged with a bit of caramel from the malt. The taste has plenty of hop bitterness typical of the style and it has a nice bite, but I thought the mouthfeel was a little thin and watery — a finding I've had with a couple of Tree beers, actually. The finish was a little dry and astringent for my liking, too.

Despite my lukewarm endorsement, this beer still beats a macro any day. The thing is, I can find better IPAs locally (Wild Rose springs to mind, and it's locally-brewed, too) I'd rather drink than this one.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.2/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

02/29/06- Taken from notes on my last Kelowna trip in September. Had on tap at Tree Brewery.

Presentation- Via the tap into 4oz tasters.

Appearance- Lighter amber colored pour, 1/2 inch head with light lacing.

Smell- Darker roasted malt background, minimal, but sweeter and floral scented hops.

Taste- Hmmm, really light on the hops here. Tastes like a pale ale that has more malt than hops. Just a small hit of grapefruit bitterenss. The malt is medium dark, not as dark as from the scent.

Mouthfeel- Good carbonation level. Light aftertaste.

Drinkability- I will have to try this one again when I go back. It gets good reviews. Stale batch? Doubt it though because I got it straight from the tap at the brewery itself. Just wasn't hoppy at all.

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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 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 fisherman34
3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper in colour with medium carbonation. Fresh grapefruit, orange, and black pepper aromas are nicely balanced by a fair bit of malt. There’s lots of c-hop presence in the flavor too, along with some solid pine notes and enough caramel malts to balance things out. Definitely one of the better Canadian made IPA’s out there.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank immediately after Old Yale's Sergeant's IPA.

Lighter in colour, more golden than amber. Decent head. Smell is about the same, but a bit more bitter. Like Old Yale, this is a well balanced IPA but doesn't seem to be as powerful or pack as much of a punch as Old Yale. Smoother feel on the tongue but this doesn't seem to fit the flavour.

Regardless, this is a well done beer and yet another BC based IPA I enjoy.

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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 3Vandoo
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanx to Cwrw for providing me a sample of this beer.

Nice orangish in color with some amberish. Good finger lacing head, that is quite creamy, the head stays all the course and let itself sticky on the glass. You can see some strikes of golden in the beer.

Her smell is very hoppy, floral, citrus, pine with a shy sweet maltish smell.

Her taste is bitter, not a super bitter just balanced, you can taste the hops right away, floral, pine and citrus flavors are quite present. The beer ends with a shy and smooth sweet malt flavours.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a medium foamy slightly off-white head. Aroma of cascade hops is clearly present with a nice touch of citrus. Taste is also characterized by cascade hops with a clear citrus touch and a quite bitter finish. Body is above average and carbonation is a bit low. Interesting take on the style.

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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 francisweizen
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught. Railway club. Brass. Slow rising bubbles of carbonation. Small off-white head. Aromas are hop heavy, but not saturated for an IPA. PacNW variaties and a nice blend of them as well. Nice biscuity caramel maltiness back up the hops, and make for a very nicely blended adult beverage. Taste is bitter on the front of the tongue, with a nice sharp hoppiness that most seattle IPAs have. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and drinkability is great. A lovely little IPA from these BC brewers.

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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 DrJay
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep golden colour, clear, with a rocky, off-white head. Plenty of lacing. Hop aromas are very nice, mostly floral with a bit of citrus. Caramel maltiness is also present. Caramel malt flavour starts things off and ends part way through. Moderate bitterness. Hop flavour stays muted until the end and it finishes dry. Medium carbonation and body. Very nicely balanced, which helps the drinkability. Overall, quite a good beer.

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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 elricorico
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper colour with a big bubbly white head that leaves thick lacing in abundance. The smell is lemon lime with a big hop presence. No surprise there, considering the name.

There is a malt sweetness to the front of this beer, but the finish is a long drawn out bitterness that lasts far past the swallowing. IThis is certainly a hopheads beer. Not being a hophead means I shouldn't like this... but... this is the fifth bottle I've had over the past month or so, and I do like this beer. It is big about the hops, but it's not overpowering. It fills your mouth with a bitter flavour, but it doesn't punish in any way.

Mouthfeel is pretty good with a bit of body and a pleasant amount of carbonation. The only place where this beer suffers is drinkability. I can't bring myself to have more than one. I like it, but I feel that one of these is enough for a couple of days. That being said, the first one does go down well enough.

Good beer, I'm not at all surprised that I hear it mentioned amongst people favourites.

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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 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 Cwrw
3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Coming in a green six-pack box, painted with hop plants. The label of the bottle shows a man riding an Indian elephant holding a Canadian flag. I like this beer even before I try it.
Appearance is coppery gold, some blond hues near the edges; extreme clarity, causing it to sparkle. A creamy, somewhat bright head, which collapsed to a minimal but acceptable layer, leaving large-bubbled, poor lacing that is not extremely intriguing to watch. I smell peppery hops immediately from the glass, metallic, fresh grass, tickling the nose. Fortunately for me, the malt is there too, somewhere in the middle, because the aroma begins and ends with hop when I sniff the glass. Caramel malt, some toasted bread, and sourish dough from the malt. The hops add an abundance of smells, some hard to define: salty black licorice, bitter herbs, dark green lettuce, and basically a lot of greens, grasses or vegetables. Exactly what I expected on the tongue, starting with more cooked vegetable, grassy resin. Eggplant in the middle, and the finish is less about the flavour and more about the feel: dry, mouth-puckering, leaving only a trace amount of bready malt. Pepper, iron, soapy floweriness. With the 5.8% I actually feel the alcohol in the finish too, seemingly accentuating the dry hops, making me want to get a glass of water for the dry feeling. Medium to full-bodied, the hops doing away with any wateriness that might be lurking. Since I am no strong-hop-lover, it is hard for me to be objective, but I do know a good, hoppy IPA when I drink one, and this IS one. Mt Begbie's Pale Ale, also out of BC, is more my style however--more balance with the malt. Hopheads will love this one though. Not overly drinkable, due to the dryness and oily bitterness, and my sweet-beer palate allows me to only have one of these at a time.

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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 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 Sammy
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A solid and very bitter American style IPA. As good as an average American microbrewery. Not particularly citrusy, that would heighten its drinkability. More banana. Dry aftertastePine and lemon aroma. Hats off to Irondjinn for the sample.
I had this 2.5 years later on tap at Hop In Brew and that rating is now posted.

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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 Rastacouere
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very clear caramel golden hue wearing a 1cm white foam. Aroma is rather straightforward C-hops, grapefruity for sure, but even more so lemony. Malt is not totally absent although subdued, it comes out as raw sugar and banana. The smell by itself lets anticipate a rather sour IPA. On the tongue, the flavor really approaches a lemon lifesaver candy. Another sip will indicate more grapefruit juice similarities, but every one of tem will have that fluffy floweriness leading to a rather tart and big bitterness. The light to medium body with medium carbonation makes it very tongue cleaning, refreshing and quaffable, dangerously so in fact. Thanks frink!

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Photo of canucklehead
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tree Brewing from Kelowna have shot the first volley in the B.C. alpha wars with Hophead. The IBU's on this brew must easily be over 60 and the only beers this hoppy come from south of the border.

The colour is a nice dark gold with a solid head to cap it off. The nose is dominated by pnw hops which certainly intice me to take a sip. The flavour is hoppy and bitter with a good balance between the hops and malt. The finish is dry and makes me want to have another sip. This is one of my favorite session beers especially on tap. Pick this one up if you are a "Hophead' like myself.

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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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