Tasting Notes: Hop 99 Light IPA from Abita Brewing Company

AbitaHop99pourFor this installment of Tasting Notes, we look toward those New Year’s resolutions and cut some calories by getting into a pour of Hop 99 Light IPA from Abita Brewing Company (Abita Springs, Louisiana)

Introduced by Abita back in late September with the intent of supplying their fans with “a more sessionable beer without sacrificing the craft taste,” Hop 99 is a Light India Pale Ale jam-packed with “Mosaic and Citra hops . . . to give it a big hop flavor, while pale malts give it a light body and crisp finish.” Weighing in at just 4.2% ABV, 99 calories and 2.7 grams of carbohydrates, Hop 99 is an “ideal choice for after a run, taking a break from yard work or a long day of tailgating.”

Hop 99 is available now and you can expect to find this new Year-Round offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and throughout the rest of Abita’s distribution area.

Alright . . . now that all the carbs and calories have been counted, let’s crack open a can and give Hop 99 the Tasting Notes treatment!

Tasting Notes for Hop 99 Light IPA from Abita Brewing Company

Appearance: A somewhat hasty pour produces an IPA that is a super light, straw yellow in color and capped with just over a finger of lush, bright white foam.  When held to direct light, the color lightens a touch but remains mostly unchanged.  The beer is clear and displays a steady carbonation presence gently streaming within.  Head retention is decent, collapsing down to a thin but complete, lasting top cap that leaves wisps of lace behind on the glass.

Aroma: The hops are definitely performing at full potential in the aromatics department.  There is a big, distinct presence of Mosaic and Citra hops that offers notes of mixed tropical fruit, mango, citrus, grapefruit, lime and a bit of pine. There is a subtle waft of malt sweetness present, but otherwise the aroma is keenly focused on the hops.

Taste: The flavors are light, but the hops do all that they can to supply citrusy notes of orange, grapefruit, lime (actually a fair amount of clean lime flavor), mango and mixed berries.  There is a hint of minerality present, but it is quickly tempered by the sweetness of the Pale malts.  The profile closes with soft pine notes.

Mouthfeel: Light in body with a medium carbonation, this brew is incredibly easy drinking, crisp and refreshing.  The balance here is quite nice, tipping ever so slightly to the hoppy side but without any aggressive bitterness.  As expected, the 4.2% ABV is well hidden and further raises the beer’s overall level of drinkability.  Aftertaste is minimal, but a there is just the lightest touch of grapefruit and pine left to linger.

Final Thoughts:  Like most low-calorie IPAs coming out these days, Hop 99 is light all around: light in calories and carbs, light in color, light in mouthfeel, and a little light in flavor.  That is to be expected though.  If you are sacrificing a little here and there to cut out the calories, you are going to lose a bit of the full IPA experience along the way.

With that said, Hop 99’s hop aroma is absolutely on point and those hops do all that they can to get you as much IPA flavor as possible.  Those gorgeous Mosaic and Citra hops definitely give you more flavor than any low-calorie offering coming out of the Big 3 (Bud, Miller, Coors) while still giving you all the drinkability of those easy-drinking light lagers and ales.  This makes Hop 99 an ideal brew for fit hopheads to enjoy after a workout or for the IPA-lovers out there that are looking to cut some weight in the New Year.  If calories are on your mind these days, make sure to keep an eye out for Hop 99 the next time you hit the beer aisle.  Prost!