Bridgeport has made quite an impression to me this year. In addition to their Big Brews series, they've really expanded their core series to include some outstanding varieties leap-years ahead of their original Bridgeport India Pale Ale (which has lost some of it's luster as more and more breweries offer their takes on the IPA). Today, I crack open a bottle of Bridgeport Hop Czar India Pale Ale.
Bridgeport Hop Czar Imperial IPA poured the hazy color of over-steeped green tea in the glass and topped with a lumpy white head. The nose was centered around stone-fruit and pine in even measures.
Bridgeport Hop Czar Imperial IPA opened with sugary, sweet notes of ripe citrus and undertones of subdued pine. The IPA quickly settled into a caramel malt smoothness, and ended on a curious bitter aftertaste that reminded me of aspirin but wasn't unpleasant.
Bridgeport Hop Czar is a highly drinkable, easy entrance into the world of big IPAs, offsetting it's copious hopping with a sweet counter-balance of malts and barley. Hop Czar was (I believe) a brave standard release for Bridgeport a year or so ago when they brought it to market, but seeing their Haymaker Extra Pale Ale and Cafe Negro coffee infused porter released brings it all into perspective. Bridgeport is branching out and getting bolder.