Beer: Nuclear Hop Assault
Style: American Double/Imperial IPA
Character: Brewed with hybrid hops
Ratings at time of Review: BA: 89 | RB: 97
Metal Connection: NUCLEAR ASSAULT – Critical Mass
BeerMetalDude Rating: 5/5
This beer just screams “BeerMetalDude!” Once I saw this beer, named after one of New York’s finest Thrash Metal pioneers, Nuclear Assault, I knew immediately that I would do anything to get my hands on a bottle, and I mean anything. Just kidding! With some online shopping and some help from my good buddy, Jorge Espinoza (www.animebeers.com) I was able to get one of these bad boys. I will talk about the band more below in the Metal Connection part of this review, but for now let’s focus on this amazing beer by Mikkeller from Denmark.
First of all, let’s talk about the label on this bottle. The red and yellow colors, and the artwork itself is reminiscent of Nuclear Assault’s debut full length album from 1986, Game Over. In fact, the similarities are unmistakable. The label features the cartoon top hat as seen on the characters on other labels of theirs, and the top of the hat has exploded, releasing a large blasting mushroom cloud. There are silhouette people looking like they’re running from the explosion, just like the victims on the actual Game Over album cover. The letters chosen for the beer name is a font replicating the actual Nuclear Assault logo. Total Thrash Metal worship here!
I used a specialty glass designed for drinking IPA’s that I purchased at World Market. Nuclear Hop Assault poured a hazy, bright orange color, looking like a glass of orange juice. The beer was topped with a large 1 inch white foamy head, which stuck around as a thin layer atop the beer, leaving excellent spotty lacing down the glass.
Hops, hops, hops… Citrus, orange, lemon, grapefruit, floral greenery, pine, wet grass, tropical fruit, pineapple, mango, some sweet strawberry mixed with fresh baked white bread make up the aroma of this beer. Tropical fruit lingers in the nose after each whiff.
I could repeat the exact paragraph like above here to describe the taste of this beer. Mikkeller overdosed this thrasher with an abundance of hops. So many different flavor notes going on here. All sorts of different hop characters. Citrus orange, lemon, grapefruit, pine, wet grass, topical fruit like pineapple and mango, a hint of sweet strawberries, and a taste best described as floral, or plant greenery. You know, like chewing on a flower stem and leaves. There is a small taste of freshly baked white bread laying underneath all those hop flavors. The aftertaste is a great combo of mixed fruit.
The body was medium with a slick, oily mouthfeel that also had a big astringent bite. There was moderate carbonation. The finish was spicy and dry.
For me, this beer was a rare and wild catch in the vast open waters known as the Craft Beer world. Mikkeller does get distributed here to Texas, but I have never seen this beer on the shelves in my local stores, so again I thank my good buddy, Jorge Espinoza of animebeers.com for helping me get this beer. I had high expectations for this beer, since it is so fucking Metal. I would have been pissed if the beer did not equal to the amazing label representing this beer. Thank the Devil that Mikkeller brews amazing beers! This beer was actually drank back in December ’15, and according to BeerAdvocate, this beer has been retired and is no longer brewed. If you see this beer, than it may be a bit older than most of you would like in an IPA. I am not sure how well you will enjoy this beer if that is the case. For the sake of all you Metal Heads out there, I hope that they brew this one again so you can have a taste of this nuclear assault of hops!
Metal Connection: As obvious as to which band would be chosen for this Metal Connection,the song is not that that obvious. I could have gone with a song off of Nuclear Assault’s 1986 debut full length album, Game Over, to which this beer label was modeled after, but instead I went with a personal choice, and favorite of mine. Not fully being introduced to the extreme side of Metal as a kid growing up, I relied heavily on mainstream media like Mtv’s Headbanger’s Ball to show me videos from bands I know were not getting any radio airplay over here in San Antonio, TX. I do thank these outlets for introducing me to such bands like our beloved Nuclear Assault here. The song I chose hear is the first song I ever heard from them, as this was the music video I saw on Headbanger’s Ball. The song is called “Critical Mass” from the band’s third full length album, Handle with Care, released in 1989. I remember the lyrics scrolling across the screen with a cycloptic smiley face sitting in the corner, while the band is jamming live near some oil pumps. Enjoy this little journey back in time…