Sober Carpenter Uber Hopped IPA
Sober Carpenter Uber Hopped IPA
IPA / Sober Carpenter NA / <0.5%
Loaded with hops, this floral west coast style brew offers notes of tropical fruit and citrus.
When it comes to any industry that is experiencing something of a boom, making your brand stick out from the rest in a marketing standpoint is even more important than it is in other spheres. When many people are trying out a certain product for the first time, they are often more likely to go with the one that looks the best or has the catchiest name. That is why I’m surprised to find that many non-alcoholic beer makers go with rather nondescript names and labels that kind of fade into the background. But not all of them.
I haven’t even cracked a can open yet, but the brand with perhaps my favorite name and label that I have found is Sober Carpenter. It is a catchy and intriguing name with a bright yet elegant can that really caught my eye when I saw it one the shelf. Of course, this means nothing in regards to how tasty the beer itself actually is, but step one is getting it in the hands of consumers. And I think this Montreal-based company has done a terrific job in that department. This kind of good feeling can even carry over into the consumption experience and tilt things in their favor. I will do my best not to let it color my evaluation of this beer too much as I progress through this Sober Carpenter Uber Hopped IPA review.
Sober Carpenter Uber Hopped IPA Review
An interesting thing should be noted up front about this particular brew. The cans that I found in my local liquor store don’t have a traditional style classification and are simply labeled as Uber Hopped. As far as I can tell from some online searching, the more updated versions of the can are labeled IPA. I’m fairly certain there is no difference to the beer itself, but I can’t absolutely guarantee that.
The 16-ounce can is a beautiful dark shade of green with a lumber-themed logo front and center. The label isn’t busy with marketing material the way a lot of NA beer can tend to be. There is some nutritional information and tasting notes on the back. We are told that this brew contains 50 calories per 12 ounces, hopefully that is enough to retain a strong flavor profile while still making it light and healthy enough to be worth turning to.
In a pint glass, the body is a pretty bright shade of yellow with a fair bit of haze, leading me to anticipate some strong citrus flavors. Perhaps I’m just not an expert at pouring, but the head that developed atop my glass was almost absurdly large and foamy white. It retains itself well and also leaves a generous amount of lacing.
The aroma immediately lets me know that Uber Hopped is not an exaggeration. It’s rare to find this much hop character in an NA. It is quite herbal and grassy, almost too much, but there isn’t much of that vegetal wort that commonly taints these types of beers. I also get a little bit of grapefruit and even some hints of malt.
The appearance is solid, and I am quite convinced by the aroma that this isn’t just a standard NA IPA. But the only way we’ll answer the question, “Is Sober Carpenter Uber Hopped IPA good?” is by digging in and taking a swig.
Is Sober Carpenter Uber Hopped IPA Good?
Immediately upon tasting, my assumptions regarding the uniqueness of this beer are fulfilled. So many non-alcoholic IPAs on the market come down to varying levels of success with a balance of citrus, wort, and usually an underwhelming amount of hops. This one has the strong combo of Citra, Cascade, and Simcoe hops, but that doesn’t do much to save the rest of it.
The bitterness is quite strong, and while that is something I typically enjoy, it doesn’t seem to have enough other flavors to mellow it out. There is just a little bit of citrus, namely grapefruit and perhaps some melon. I get a bit of a bready cracker quality, but that is almost more so in the texture than the flavor.
The body is a solid medium, so that does a good job of mimicking a traditional IPA. The carbonation is not overwhelming but definitely present on the tongue. It isn’t terribly undrinkable, but there is nothing refreshing to the profile.
Another big negative for me, and perhaps this is just inherent with all this hop bitterness, is that the finish lingers for a long time on the tongue. It even devolves into a nearly skunky flavor as it sits there. I’m left simply wanting more from this beer than the hop character, which is admittedly impressive in this realm.
There are a lot of different factors that I must weigh as I come up with my final Sober Carpenter Uber Hopped IPA rating. Not all characteristics are considered equally, however, so this will be a challenging equation to solve. Finish reading below to find out where I land.
Sober Carpenter Uber Hopped IPA Rating
Anyone who has sampled what the NA beer industry has to offer in terms of IPAs knows that real strong hop character is hard to come by. I really don’t think that I can overstate this. And, if nothing else, this offering from Sober Carpenter has a plentiful array of hops. That absolutely counts for something. I just wish it led to a more complex and appetizing flavor profile. None of the other elements impress all that much, and there are actually some minorly offensive qualities. Pair that with the dominant hops and this becomes an extremely niche option.
As someone who fancies myself a big fan of IPAs, I know that if I don’t find a hoppy beer tasty that means a large portion of the consumer population may not even find it drinkable. I wouldn’t go so far as to condemn it entirely, but I am disappointed it didn’t live up to the packaging. That’s why I arrived at a rating of 2 out of 5 stars to end this Sober Carpenter Uber Hopped IPA review. When you want to build an addition on your house, definitely turn to a sober carpenter, but when you’re looking for a tasty NA IPA, there are some better options out there.