Beer From Here: Wicked Weed Brewing – Freak of Nature DIPA

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Wicked Weed’s Freak of Nature DIPA is a glimpse of hop heaven.

“A wicked and pernicious weed.” Those few words are rumored to have been uttered by King Henry VIII in 1519 to describe hops. Today, it’s the inspiration behind Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville.

Founded in 2012 by Walt and Luke Dickson and Rick, Denise, and Ryan Guthy, the Asheville brewery focuses on hoppy ales and authentic Belgian ales. The western North Carolina based establishment quickly made a name for itself and is often mentioned as one of top breweries in the state and in the world. Its 15-barrel brewpub on 91 Biltmore Avenue cranks out some delicious beer and delectable cuisine on a daily basis.

Wicked Weed’s beer list seems endless (the brewery has produced 250 unique recipes). Many of their beers are so complex, and my palate is still adjusting to their assortment of flavorful sours. But since the brewery opened it’s $7 million production facility late last month, hop heads across the great state of North Carolina had even more reason to rejoice – the popular Pernicious IPA and Freak of Nature Double IPA would be bottled for the first time.

The first shipment of new bottles arrived in Raleigh on Tuesday. I’ve enjoyed Freak on tap, but wanted to see how it stacked up in its unique 500 ml bottle. The fresh shipment was packaged on Wednesday, 8/12. I’d take a week old beer any day.

The imperial IPA poured a clear, golden-orange. It’s inviting hue revealed visible carbonation dancing throughout the glass. A creamy, white head formed, but was quick to subside into the ale.

Tropical aromas of grapefruit, oranges and melons stimulated my senses. For a second, I found myself standing in a pine forest. The dank, resinous smell was glorious. According to the brewery, more than 3 pounds of hops are used per barrel for dry hopping. I wished I could package the scent into an air freshener.

Freak tasted exactly how it smelled – extremely hop forward. My palate was on a never-ending journey of dank, piney resin and citrus. It practically ripped my tongue out (in a good way). The DIPA was backed by sweet, cracker-like malts that clearly bowed to the unforgiving dankness of the hops. While you could taste a touch of alcohol on the backend, it was barely noticeable in the dry finish. The brew’s minimal bitterness was also worth noting.

Approachable and extremely drinkable at 8.5% ABV, Freak of Nature is a hop-quenching masterpiece. It’s exactly what I look for in a West Coast IPA. I literally couldn’t keep my glass down. The aroma and taste reminded me of some great California libations. Hands down, this might be the best DIPA in North Carolina.

Freak of Nature and other Wicked Weed beers can be found in bars, restaurants and specialty stores across North Carolina.

Brewery: Wicked Weed Brewing
City: Asheville, NC
Style: American Double/ Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.5%
Availability: Year-round, draft and 500 ml bottles

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